Important Details about Auto Servicing in Australia
Auto servicing is a series of maintenance processes carried out at set intervals to ensure the upkeep of every component of a motor vehicle. It includes the reconditioning of engines, the conversion of cars from left to right‐hand drive, checking the suspension, and routine maintenance work such as oil and filter change.
The information required for routine servicing is included in the owner's manual that is issued when you buy a new vehicle. This information can also be found online on the manufacturer's website.
There are a number of auto service providers to choose from including dealerships and independent repairers.
Independent repairers include people who specialise in a particular vehicle make or in a particular auto service and repairers who deal with overall rehabilitation.
In addition to auto servicing, dealerships also incorporate sales of new and used vehicles as well as spare parts.
Independent repairers normally charge lower prices for the same service compared to dealerships whereas dealerships often advertise their services as being of a superior quality than independent repairers.
Auto servicing can be broken down into 10 main categories listed below.
- Heavy Vehicle
- Mobile Plant
- Outdoor Power Equipment
- Vehicle Body
- Computer Diagnostics
- Light Vehicle
- Agricultural Equipment
Where and When to Service
Scheduled auto servicing is usually carried out as per the manufacturer's directions or after the vehicle has travelled a certain distance. Some modern cars have icons on the dashboard to notify the driver when maintenance is needed.
Compared to a vehicle that is not serviced, a car with regular auto servicing lasts longer, runs smoother and is safer to drive. A complete service history also contributes to a better resale value for the car.
The time interval between auto servicing sessions is generally informed by the car's year of manufacture, its make, driving conditions and driver behaviour.
Normally, mechanical repairs are done when components such as tyres and brake pads can no longer function as they are supposed to. Other components may fail at unpredictable times The repair or replacement of such parts must therefore be discharged with limited or no warning.
While manufacturers do not agree on the correct auto servicing intervals, many dealerships recommend a full service every 16,000 kilometres or after every 12 months.
It is important to note that servicing outside the manufacturer's designated network does not void your warranty. Extended warranties supplied by independent dealerships may, however, be voided by third-party servicing.
The warranty can also be invalidated when you delay servicing that the manufacturer deems critical to the acceptable performance of their car.
Manufactures advocated for the so-called 'extreme or the ideal service program'. This plan is informed by the following variables
- The amount distance traveled per day
- Climatic conditions - extreme hot or cold
- Whether the roads are mountainous, dusty or frozen
- Heavy stop-and-go vs. long-distance cruising
- If the vehicle tows a trailer or other heavy loads
As provided for in the Fair Trading legislation, other similar legislation, and common law a motor vehicle repairer has a responsibility, to ensure that the work carried out is done in a 'workmanship like manner'.
If a certain component fitted by a dealer is defective, substandard or unfit for use, and if it is the 'cause' of an accident, a customer can sue the workshop under section 74 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.