Taking your car for a scheduled service has been likened to going to the dentist – you don’t really want to go, it’s often expensive and it is time-consuming but, the consequences of not going can be a whole lot worse in every respect.
Estimated reading Time: 5 minutes, 29 seconds.
Even though you recognise – and accept – your pride and joy must be serviced according to the schedule provided with the vehicle, there are things you can do that could reduce the cost impact and shorten the time the vehicle spends in ‘the shop’.
Your car needs regular tender love and care to keep it on the road and conducting regular inspections yourself can help in the early identification of small faults.
These checks should include checking the oil (maintaining the correct oil level but also to see when there is a loss of oil, which may indicate a bigger issue), inspecting the tyres (ensuring correct tyre pressure, sufficient tread and signs of wear and tear), testing the battery (a faulty battery can leave you stranded so have it tested regularly) and checking the air filter (to ensure it is not clogged up).
However, what actually happens when you hand over the keys at the dealership and leave the premises?
A vehicle service is, simply, a series of checks and maintenance procedures.
Those you do yourself fall into the broad definition of ‘service’ as does the work carried out by the service centre, which follows a set procedure defined for each model by the manufacturer and done at certain preset intervals.
Almost all vehicles in South Africa are sold with either a service or a maintenance plan that is an upfront payment made at the time of purchase and which covers the cost of the service as defined in the manual that comes with the car. As a car owner it is vital you read through this and understand what is covered and what is not included.
Regular servicing makes financial sense because it will identify and address potential faults before they result in vehicle breakdowns that are very costly. Early detection of potential faults will result in prevention and if you look after your vehicle’s health, you may just extend the living years of both you and your vehicle.
Following the service guidelines will keep the warranty valid. Irregular or a lack of vehicle service in this regard, could render your vehicle’s warranty null and void and this could lead to encountering costly repairs and maintenance down the line.
There are three different types of services:
- Lubrication Service
- Intermittent Service
- Full Service
The type of service depends on your car's age or kilometres on the clock.
This will generally happen at either 15 000 kilometres or one year, whichever comes first. Check your service guide provided with the vehicle. Suzuki Boosterjet and older Super Carry models service every 10 000km or every year, whichever comes first.
It is a ‘light’ service and minor items will be looked at so you will have an oil change, oil filter replacement and a general inspection. Other fluids including coolant, brake fluid and windscreen washer will be checked.
2. 30 000 Kilometres (or two years):
- Now it’s time to replace the air filter and to check the cabin air filter if one is fitted.
- Safety critical items such as steering and brakes will be checked
- The exhaust system will be scanned for leaks.
- Minor issues will be addressed and the overall condition of the vehicle noted and discussed with the owner.
3. 45,000 Kilometres:
- For vehicles with an automatic transmission, the fluid and filter will be replaced.
- It is time to check the timing belt and replace if needed
- The brakes will be thoroughly checked and brake pads replaced if needed.
4. 96,000 Kilometres:
- Repeat the tasks from the 45 000-kilometre service.
- Replace the spark plugs to keep the engine firing properly.
- Check the suspension, steering components and replace shock absorbers if needed
5. 144,000 Kilometres:
- Continue with the tasks from the 96,000-kilometre service.
- Replace the coolant and inspect the hoses for possible leaks or wear.
- Inspect the drive belts and replace as needed.
- Check the differential and transfer case fluids (if applicable).
- Comprehensive inspection of the vehicle for potential issues.
6. 160,000 kilometres and Beyond:
- Regular maintenance intervals may continue, with periodic oil changes and inspections.
- Specific services may vary based on the car's make and model.
- Keep an eye on wear items like tyres, brakes, and suspension components.
- Address any issues that arise and consult the manufacturer's maintenance schedule for guidance.
These are general guidelines, and your car's specific service intervals may differ. Always refer to your vehicle's owner's manual and consult with a qualified mechanic at your dealership for the most accurate information regarding your car's service schedule. Regular maintenance helps ensure the longevity and reliability of your vehicle, and it's essential to address issues promptly to prevent more significant problems in the future.
At Suzuki, all service options will include the following:
- Oil and oil filter change.
- Wheel alignment.
- Suspension tests.
- Tyre tread checks.
- Top up of all the vital fluids in the engine (washer fluid, brake fluid, and steering fluid).
- A visual inspection of the car's maintenance.
- Rust inspection.
- Several other essential inspections.
Full and major services may include the following
- Oil and oil filter check and replacement.
- Brake fluid check and top up.
- Coolant (antifreeze) check and top up.
- Windscreen wash check and top up.
- Full brake check.
- Power steering fluid check and top up.
- Steering check.
- Shock absorbers check.
- Suspension check.
- Light check.
- Windscreen wipers check.
- Wheel alignment check.
- Charging systems check.
- Exhaust check.
- Battery check.
- Charging system check.
- Tyre tread and pressure check.
The time required for a Basic service varies between 60 minutes and 90 minutes, while full and major service times could extend to several hours – also dependent on how busy the service centre is on any given day.
So, once you have handed it over, the car joins the queue and will be moved into a service bay as soon as possible where the assigned mechanic will look at the Job Card that will tell him what level of service is required and whether you have requested any checks on issues you may have noticed with the car.
The mechanic will proceed with the service according to the specific checklist but will also be on the lookout for any problems or issues. Should anything be found, you will be contacted and the situation explained to you along with the estimated cost of repair.
No work outside the scope of the service or maintenance plan will be done without your express permission. Do not be afraid to ask questions!