Car Service – What is Carried Out on Your Car
Why should you take your car for a service at an authorized workshop? Why should you even service your car in the first place?
It’s nice to be able to hand in your car for a car service at an authorized service center and know that everything that needs to be fixed with your car is done by a skilled and trained mechanic. But why should you take your car to a workshop? Why should you even service your car in the first place? Below we list why it is important to service your car and the benefits of doing so at an authorized service center.
Why you should do car service
All cars need car service sooner or later. This is because a modern car with an internal combustion engine (a car with which you refuel gasoline, diesel, ethanol or natural gas) has a lot of moving parts. Everything from the engine itself and its components, to the powertrain, wheels and brakes etc. Since so many parts are interconnected and in motion at the same time, it causes tremendous wear and tear on a car over time. Some parts last for the entire life of the car, while other parts have a limited life span and thus need to be replaced regularly or when they break. If some parts are not replaced when worn, they can cause traffic danger for both you and your fellow road users. Many components in a car also need different fluids (eg engine oil or coolant fluid), or filters (eg passenger compartment filters) to function properly as well as to provide a pleasant driving experience.
By regularly servicing your car, you ensure that all parts of your car work properly and provide you with a safe and comfortable driving experience. Also, a car that is serviced regularly minimizes the risk of something unexpected to break in the car. In addition, a well-maintained and regularly serviced car has a higher second-hand value if you intend to sell your car.
Jump directly to a section of our guide
- Checking brakes
- Checking wheels
- Checking headlights
- Checking wiper blades and washers
- Checking engine oil
- Checking coolant fluid
- Checking brake fluid
- Checking the battery
- Checking and lubrication of door locks, door moldings and hinges
- Checking the seat belts
- Checking the towbar
- Checking the suspension
- Checking the crankcase ventilation
- Don’t forget to test drive your car
- Only ethanol cars: fill up with gasoline every fourth refuel
- Washing your car
- Replacement of engine oil and engine oil filter
- Replacement of air filter
- Replacement of interior compartment filter
- Control of exhaust system and replacement of fuel/particulate filters
- Checking power steering oil
- Checking the fuel tank
- Anti-corrosion control
- Checking the airbags
- Inspection and replacement of various wear parts
- Reset of service indicator
- Find your nearest authorised service center
Why you should do car service at an authorized service center
Car service at an authorized service center has many advantages: 1) your car gets the service it needs given its mileage, age and condition; 2) your car service is based on clear service protocols by mechanics who specialize in your particular car model; 3) Only parts that are recommended for your particular car model are used.
These are the most basic reasons why you should service your car at an authorized service center. Then there is the obvious factor that you don’t have to spend hours in the garage yourself.
When you hear the word authorized service center, you might think of a very large car dealer who takes expensive prices for a small job. But it really doesn’t have to be that way. Many of the workshops we work with in our service network are smaller, local car workshops run by people who have a genuine passion for your particular car – your Saab. They are very keen to provide the best possible service for your car at the best possible price.
But if you still want to do car service yourself or get an idea of what you need to think of when performing a car service, we have compiled a list below with what can be good to keep in mind and some smart tips.
Simple things you can do yourself
There are a lot of easier maintenance work and checks you can do on your car yourself without having to take it to a authorized service center. Below we have listed some simple steps that you can do yourself.
There are two types of common faults on the braking system, namely that the brakes are either locking or that they are scratching/worn out. It is easy to check the basic function of the brakes. Try braking the car in a safe place and listen if you hear any strange sounds coming from the brakes.
That the brakes lock is usually a product of climate and use. The brake caliper is a purely mechanical construction made of metal that will rust and collect dirt with time. Taking a couple of minutes per wheel to make sure everything looks as it should and seems to be able to move, when changing to summer/winter tires gives you a good feeling of the caliper’s condition.
Also, listen to what it sounds like when you brake. If you hear a scraping or vibrating sound, there is a great risk that the brake pads are long worn and/or that the brake discs are affected by rust. If you find that the car is rolling slowly, for example, when driving slowly and stopping without braking, it is likely that the brake caliper has a problem or that the brake pads are too rusty. Also, keep in mind that if the brake pads become so worn that the coating surface disappears, it will quickly damage even the brake disc that you otherwise might not need to replace.
Don’t forget to test the parking brake. If there is screaming from the brakes or any other sound, then it is probably time to change the brake pads and possibly brake discs on your car. If you recently changed brakes but still hear shrieking from the brakes, it might be because one or more smaller stones are stuck in the brakes. They usually release by slowly stopping the car and then reversing a bit, and then continue to drive on.
If you feel that noise is coming from the brakes, we recommend that you visit an authorized service center.
Are the car’s tires in good condition for the season? Try measuring the tire tread depth on your tyres, which can be done with a coin. If your unsure what tire tread depth that’s required for your tires in your country, please contact your local government office.
While checking tires, it’s a good idea to ensure that the tire pressure is correct. You can fill air in the car’s tires at the nearest fuel station. What pressure there should be in your tires is stated in your car’s instruction manual but also as a sticker in the car, often located on the B-pillar or in the glove compartment. If you have a tire that is not of original size, there is always a pressure recommended for the tire to read on the tire side.
Don’t forget to also check your spare tire so that it is in good condition and has the correct tire pressure. If you don’t have a spare tire but only a tire repair kit, check the expiration date on it, so it’s not too old.
If you are unsure, a normal tire pressure is often between 2.5-3.0 bar. A common notion is that an excessively high tire pressure results in increased wear on the tire’s middle section. This is incorrect on modern radial tires as they are designed to distribute pressure in a way that the old diagonal tires did not. The only downside is that you get some impaired comfort in the form of elevated sound level. On the other hand, too low tire pressure in a radial tire together with high speed is something that leads to increased tire wear, since the tire then cannot hold its shape, but is thrown out in the middle and thus worn more there. The temperature in the tire will then also be incorrect and will result in increased wear/damage. Also, be sure to check/fill the tire pressure at its operating temperature. 1.0 bar in -10 C is not the same as 1.0 bar in +10 C.
Also, take a look at the car’s rims. Do they have any cracks or notches in them? If they have cracks they can be dangerous in traffic and you should then hand them in to a tire workshop to repair them. If the rims have received many edge bumps and have many notches or scratches on them, your car’s wheel alignment may need to be adjusted. You can also do this at a tire repair shop, or at an authorized service center.
Do your car’s headlights work properly? Park the car in a safe place and test all the lights. Are there any lights that are not lit or don’t work properly? Most light bulbs are easy to change yourself and how you go about it and what kind of light bulb you should use is stated in your car’s instruction manual. Do not forget to test the brake lights, indicators, reversing lights and the small lights above the registration plate. To test brake lights and reversing lights, you can take the help of a friend or back up the car to a window and test it. If the headlights need to be adjusted (that the light image is not correct) you need to hand in the car to an authorized service center in order to fix this.
Do your car’s washers work and are the wiper blades working properly? Wiper blades often last a very long time, but for each use, their wiping capacity also decreases. This leads to a gradual deterioration of their function without you noticing it. Therefore, be sure to change the wiper blades at least once a year to be on the safe side. If your windshield has a lot of stone chips or cracks in it, it may be a good idea to replace the windshield completely to get the best possible visibility. Keep in mind that a crack in the car’s windscreen that goes through the field of view when you drive will leave your car unapproved on an inspection/MOT. Also, do not forget to add windshield washing fluid when looking over the flushing nozzles.
The car’s engine oil is like the human blood. Without it, the car will not work at all. Therefore, it is very important that your car has enough engine oil. To check the oil, open the hood and look for the dipstick. The best way to check the oil is to do it before you start the car, in that way you’ll see the most accurate amount of engine oil in the engine. The level of oil should be between the two lines on the dipstick. If it is below, you need to refill with new engine oil. Never overfill with engine oil. To know what kind of engine oil your car needs, check your car’s manual.
Engine oil should always follow the car manufacturer’s recommendation. The viscosity number contained on the package is a value of the oil’s ability to maintain its bearing in the oil film. For example, 10w40. The first number talks about how good the oil is at lubricating in the cold/or when the engine is cold. The second number talks about how hot the oil can be before it gets too hot and thus too thin to be able to keep the oil film intact. An ordinary Scandinavian engine oil is usually 0w30 or 5w40. The figures have nothing to do with degrees, but are according to a table value.
The car’s coolant fluid plays a very important function. It ensures that the car’s engine cools properly and that no parts freeze in the winter. To check the coolant fluid of the car, open the hood and look for the transparent coolant container. If you are unsure of where the container is or cannot find it, look in your car’s instruction manual. If you need to fill up with coolant fluid, it is important not to fill more than up to the upper line, otherwise there is a risk that the container will burst when the engine gets hot, as the liquid expands when hot. What kind of coolant you should use is stated in your car’s instruction manual. If you are unsure, you can visit an authorized service center to get help.
The car’s brake fluid plays an important role in ensuring that the brakes work properly. The brake fluid container is located in the engine compartment and is transparent. Check that there is liquid between the marked sections on the container. If the brake fluid is low, you need to refill it. What type of brake fluid you should use is stated in your car’s instruction manual. At regular intervals, the brake fluid also needs to be completely replaced to ensure that it has good quality. You can do this most easily at an authorized service center.
Does your car start on the first try? If not, your car’s battery may need to be replaced. What battery your car requires is stated in your car’s instruction manual. It is also good to check the battery so there is no rust or dirt around the battery poles or around the battery itself.
Does it creak when you open or close one of the car doors or the boot lid? Then it may be time to lubricate the hinges and also take the opportunity to lubricate the door locks and door moldings. For hinges, you can use universal grease. For the door locks and door moldings, there are special lubricants for door locks and door moldings. You can get these from most hardware stores or fuel stations. If you are not sure about this step you can find your nearest authorized service center here.
Seat belts save lives! Therefore, make sure that the car’s seat belts are whole and clean, and that the belt lock and belt tensioner function works properly. To test this, you put in all the car’s seat belts in their respective belt locks and make sure they lock properly, then you pull in each seat belt to test that they hold tight when applied pressure to them. Very easy to test such a vital function on your car!
If your car’s seat belts doesn’t work properly, please get in touch with your nearest workshop immediately.
If your car is equipped with a towbar, it is good to look over it so that it’s clean, whole and firmly seated. If you have access to a trailer, you can also test that the electrics work properly. If you have no protection for your car’s towbar, we recommend that you get one, as it protects against dirt and rust on the towbar when not in use. If there is any major problem with your towbar, we recommend that you hand in the car to an authorized service center to investigate it more closely.
The type of coil springs used in all modern cars can often break after a few years, when they become exhausted by age, but also from rust attacks. You can usually look into the wheelhouse and, with the help of a flashlight, see if it has gone off or looks intact. Most often the springs crack at the top or bottom. Sometimes you can also hear a rather loud squeaking/clunking sound when driving while taking a full turn with the steering wheel. If this is the case, then your springs might be broken.
It is difficult to predict if the spring is about to go off, but if you see that it is damaged or has gone off you should get this fixed as soon as possible. The road characteristics will of course change if one or more springs go off, but it may also happen that the part that has come off comes loose and, for example, punctures a tire, although it is unusual. You will, however, fail the inspection test if your springs are broken. If you have problems with your springs, we recommend that you go to an authorized service center to get them fixed.
The function of the crankcase ventilation is to make sure that the excess pressure from the crankcase, that is created in a combustion engine, is ventilated. In older cars, it was released into the atmosphere, but in modern cars it’s a closed and recirculating system in order to protect the environment. This can create problems because hoses are needed between the hot and cold parts of the engine, which creates condensation. The condensation evaporates during regular long drives and then creates no problems. But if you only drive shorter distances and the engine is rarely warm for a longer period of time, the condensation together with the oil creates a yellow/white cream-like sludge. This sludge is not only bad from a purely lubricating perspective, but can also clog the hoses and ducts so that the crankcase gases are not ventilated as intended. This leads to increased crankcase pressure and often oil leakage, which in turn can lead to serious engine damage.
Clogged crankcase ventilation also gives the oil unfavorable conditions and can clog channels as well and, in the worst case, get stuck in small confined spaces, which can cause total engine failure.
Checking the crankcase ventilation is easy! Lift the oil filler cap and see what it looks like on the underside of the cap, and also how it looks in the engine. If there is a yellow/white sludge there, you can go ahead and remove any of the hoses for recirculation of crankcase gases and see what it looks like inside. Often you can come a long way with cleaning/changing hoses together with changing the engine oil and engine oil filter. And if you feel anxious about the job, contact an authorized service center. If you drive very short distances frequently, we recommend that you check under the oil filler cap at each refueling.
After going through all the steps above, it may be a good idea to test drive your car to check for any unwanted noises. Turn off the fan and radio and listen if you experience any strange sounds or behaviors from your car. Try to drive both slowly and fast (taking into account the speed limit, of course), turning, reversing and braking. Do you feel that your car emits any strange sounds? Or is there a warning light turned on the dashboard? If this is the case, your car may need to be handed in at an authorized service center for a deeper check.
If you have an ethanol car, you should refuel it regularly with gasoline, more specifically every fourth time. This is because gasoline has a better lubricating function than ethanol and by refueling every fourth gasoline you prevent damage to the fuel system. NEVER refuel a diesel car with gasoline.
We strongly recommend that you wash your car regularly. Especially during the autumn and winter months when there is a lot of rain and salt on the roads. The best protection against rust attacks is regular washing at regular intervals. Remember to use good cleaning agents in the form of degreaser and high pressure washing, so that the car will be thoroughly clean. If you also want gloss, you can wash your car with car shampoo and a microfibre sponge. Don’t forget to also wash the inside of the doors and doorways, where there is often plenty of dirt and other contaminants such as salt.
More detailed work at an authorized service center
If your car is in need of more extensive maintenance, such as engine oil and engine oil filter replacement, changing the brakes, spark plugs, or drive belt, you need to take your car to an authorized service center to have the maintenance done accordingly to your car manufacturer’s recommendations. Below is a list of work on your car that needs to be done regularly and is a bit more difficult to do.
Of course, replacing engine oil and the engine oil filter can be done by yourself if you have the knowledge and tools to do so. But most people don’t, or don’t have the time to do the work for that matter. In addition to the oil’s primary function – which is to create an oil film between moving parts of the engine, ie lubrication – the oil also has an important function in collecting soot and dirt particles and transporting them to the oil filter. Without this function, these particles would have traveled around and created wear on parts such as bearing surfaces, oil pump, valve mechanism, etc. which can lead to serious engine damage. Therefore, simply changing oil without changing the filter is not good as the filter quickly becomes full and the oil then has difficulties to circulate properly, which also causes high wear and high risks of engine damage.
Replacing your car’s engine oil should be done regularly according to your car’s service protocol to ensure that the car is working properly. If the oil is not changed regularly there is a risk that the oil’s lubrication and purification function will not work properly and that the engine will intersect in the worst case.
If you are in need of changing your car’s engine oil and engine oil filter, you can find your nearest authorized service center here.
The car’s air filter ensures that the engine receives enough clean air to operate properly. A clogged air filter therefore reduces engine capacity and should be replaced. The air filter should be changed regularly according to the car’s service protocol to ensure that the engine is working optimally. You can take your car to an authorized service center to do this work.
The car’s interior filter ensures that the interior air quality of the car is good and blocks out dangerous particles, such as viruses and bacteria, from the passengers. Changing the interior compartment filter should be done regularly to ensure a pleasant climate while driving. You can take your car to an authorized service center to do this work.
Obviously, the proper functioning of your car’s exhaust system is very important for both you, your car and the environment. It is therefore important to check that the car’s exhaust system is intact and working properly. If you hear loud or strange sounds from your car when you accelerate it can be holes in the exhaust system. The car’s fuel filter or particulate filter has an important feature in that they clean a large amount of harmful particles from being released into the environment when driving your car. Therefore, changing the fuel filter or particulate filter should be done according to your car’s service protocol. An authorized service center can help you with this.
The car’s power steering makes steering in your car a lot easier. Without power steering, your car becomes hard to handle in many situations. In order for the power steering to function properly it needs to have the correct amount of power steering oil. Checking and adjusting the power steering oil is something that an authorized service center can help you with.
It is important that your car’s fuel tank is intact, otherwise there is a risk that fuel will start to leak from your car. Checking this at regular intervals is important to ensure that your car is reliable. If something needs to be repaired or replaced, it is easiest to do it at an authorized service center.
When you book an annual service at one of our authorized service centers, it includes checking the corrosion protection for the bodywork and the undercarriage. This is to ensure that your car is protected against rust attacks.
During service center visits, the car’s airbags are checked to provide adequate protection in the event of a collision.
Some parts of your car are parts that wear after some time and need to be replaced periodically. Examples of such parts are the driving belt, spark plugs, brake pads, brake shoes and brake discs, various bushings, universal joints, tie rods, gaiters, and shock absorbers, as well as various wires and hoses. If you do car service according to the car’s service protocol these wear and tear parts are checked and replaced if necessary, to ensure that your car is as reliable as possible. If you want to know more about your cars service protocol, please contact your nearest authorized service center.
When you make a service center visit, the workshop resets your car’s service indicator, so your car no longer reminds you that it’s time for service.
Do you need to do car service? Maybe it’s time for an oil change? Or make sure the brakes work properly? Did you know that there are ready-made service intervals for your car so you don’t have to keep track of all this yourself. You can find your nearest authorized service center directly on our website. Just click the button below to find a service center.