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Minor & Major Services – What’s the Difference and When Do I Get One?

  • Tips/Guides-Tips/Guides

As a guideline, minor car services are carried out every 10,000 to 15,000 kilometres, and major car services every 30,000 to 45,000 kilometres – or every twelve months, whichever comes first.

When to service vary between manufacturers and most modern cars have a service light on the dashboard to alert you when a service is due. But do you really have to service your car so often?

Mechanic using a ratchet wrench

Why is servicing my car so important?

When times are tough and the bank balance is moving into the red zone, you might wish you could ignore the service signal and skip a service – just this once.

Like anything, especially a machine on wheels with many moving mechanical and electrical components, maintenance is key. Regular servicing minimises the risk of something going wrong and prevents further problems in the long run.

A breakdown can incur expensive and unexpected repair costs – something you want to avoid. Not only will it save your bank balance but will also save you the inconvenience and more importantly minimise the risk of a serious accident. A regular service will prevent this by picking up any smaller issues before they become big ones.

Minor vs. Major

There are two types of car services, and your car will need both at particular times of its life. When is a question of mileage, manufacturer, the car’s age, and date of last service.

Minor Car Service Checklist

Minor car services are basic checks and generally quick to perform. Similar to the ‘when’, the ‘what’ also very much depends on the car manufacturer’s specifications. However, as the name suggests, the tasks performed are minor, for example:


  1. Engine oil
  2. Oil filter
  3. Fuel filter
  4. Air filter


  1. Check foot brakes
  2. Check handbrake
  3. Check battery
  4. Check the exhaust system
  5. Check transmission
  6. Check and top up all fluids
  7. Check air and oil filters
  8. Check belts
  9. Check hoses
  10. Check emissions
  11. Check tyre pressure and tread
  12. Check all lights
  13. Check windscreen wipers and washer level
  14. Check coolant level
  15. Check colour of brake fluid and level
  16. Check air conditioner
  17. Check steering and suspension system
  18. Test cooling system


  1. Lubricate chassis unless it’s factory-sealed

Major Car Service Checklist

A major service will include all the tasks in a minor service along with additional comprehensive checks throughout the vehicle. Essentially, this is a complete top-to-tail check of your vehicle, which may typically include:

Replacements and top-ups

  1. Oil change
  2. Oil filter change
  3. Fluid top-ups, such as coolant, gearbox, clutch, transmission, axle oils
  4. Sparkplugs (if applicable)
  5. Brake pads (if applicable)
  6. Points and condenser


Additional checks over and above those performed in a minor service:

  1. Bodywork for dents and scratches
  2. Brake discs and drums
  3. Brake pads and shoes
  4. Brake leaks
  5. Pedal squeaks
  6. Timing belt
  7. Fan belt
  8. Dashboard warning lights
  9. Rev counter
  10. Speedometer
  11. Doors
  12. CV joint dust covers
  13. Wheel balance
  14. Spare wheel
  15. Shock absorbers
  16. Compression


  1. Hinges and latches
  2. General components
  3. Underbody components
  4. Engine wash

Note: These checklists are only a guideline. Check with your service centre for their specific checklist.


Not only does a regular service mean your car continues to run smoothly, it keeps you safe and minimises breakdowns. Remember that even if you haven’t reached the recommended mileage, you should still service your car every year.  

Whether it’s during a minor or major service, your mechanic can also identify and let you know of any areas that will need attending to soon, such as worn brake pads or tyre tread. Even if you’re not due for a service but suspect your tyres or brakes may need replacing, visit your nearest Supa Quick store for a free vehicle safety check.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of the content.


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