Service & Vehicle Maintenance

What You Need To Know

When it comes to vehicle service and maintenance, there is a lot of uncertainty that exist amongst vehicle owners, that is why we will answering the following questions:

What is a vehicle service?
Why is it so important to have your vehicle serviced?
When/how often, should I service my vehicle?
How long does a vehicle service take?
What should a basic, a minor and a major vehicle service include?

In what follows, SAC hope to give a satisfying answer to each of these questions; answers that will leave you with adequate knowledge to act responsibly when it comes to caring for your vehicle and having it serviced and maintained regularly.

What is a vehicle service?

A vehicle service is a series of maintenance procedures carried out by a vehicle owner (basic) and a service centre (mandatory and specialised) at a certain time interval. This interval may depend on various factors that SAC will touch upon when answering the question “When/how often, should I service my vehicle?

Every vehicle owner should exercise basic vehicle maintenance, SAC will supply some tips in this regard later on. When it comes to a mandatory and specialised vehicle service, it can be broken up into two types: the minor service and the major services. A minor car services generally includes looking after the small things in your vehicle, such as changing the oil and oil filters, among other things. The major service is in stark contrast to this because it entails a more comprehensive service and is far more focused than a minor service. In this article SAC will be discussing the most common elements of these two services by answering the question “What should a basic, a minor and a major vehicle service include?”

Why is it so important to have your vehicle serviced?

Your vehicle is holding your safety and that of everybody inside your vehicle. You surely do not want your vehicle to let you down and risk the safety of your life and that of others around you! Caring for your car should be the same as taking care of your own health. Regular check-ups at a medical doctor and regular services at a reputable service centre such as SAC Service Centre, will render the same result: peace of mind regarding personal and vehicle health.

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 at SAC we know that prevention is better than cure. If you look after your vehicle’s health, you may just extend the living years of both you and your vehicle. This therefore seems to be the right thing to do, but owners may also have another motivational force driving them to have their vehicles regularly serviced: the vehicle warranty.

If your car is still new, regular servicing will keep the warranty valid. Irregular or a lack of vehicle service in this regard, will render your vehicle’s warranty null and void. If (when) this happens, you may be sure of encountering costly repairs and maintenance down the line. Keeping to the warranty and having regular services conducted, has another benefit: a vehicle with a complete service history will add credibility about the condition of your vehicle as well as to the resale value thereof.

Regular servicing will also extend the life of your vehicle’s mechanical components, so to wrap it up; regular servicing not only increases the safety and roadworthiness, but also the reliability and lifespan of your vehicle. Keeping up with, or neglecting regular vehicle maintenance can make the difference between your vehicle being safe, being fuel efficient and running smoothly or not.

When/how often, should I service my vehicle?

Inevitable yet unnoticeable wear and tear is the biggest contributor to mechanical failure. It is therefore very important that you maintain and look after your vehicle on a regular basis. The question many owners still ask, is how regular? There are several factors in play when deciding when and how often your vehicle should receive a service.

Factors such as the age of your vehicle, the distance you drive daily, the surfaces and quality of the road on which you travel, as well as how well you maintain your vehicle, will all play a big part in deciding when to service your vehicle. Operating your vehicle under “adverse operating conditions”, will also be a determining factor. These conditions includes the frequent towing of caravans and/or loaded trailers, continuous stopping and starting of the vehicle, as well as driving at high speeds. A vehicle operated under these conditions may require more frequent servicing than the ones driven once a week to a shopping mall and back.

ost vehicles also have a service schedule and different vehicle manufacturers may require different service intervals. You may find these suggested service intervals and service operations inside your vehicle’s logbook. It needs mentioning that many modern vehicles have an on-board computer that will show when a service is due.

Depending on how much you drive, it is consensus that a car should receive a service at least once a year but preferably every six months (twice a year). At SAC, leader in the field of automotive servicing, we suggest that you have your vehicle undergo a Minor Service (every 10 000 km); an Intermediate Service (every 20 000 km) and a Major Service (every 40 000 km). Each service builds upon the previous service level. It is also important to understand that a vehicle’s service DOES NOT rely on how you feel about the vehicle’s performance. Everything in the vehicle may feel okay but that does not mean that everything is okay. Believing this will only give you a false sense of security, which is why it is important to have your vehicle maintained and serviced on a regular basis. Service intervals are guidelines, so if you notice any underperformance from your vehicle before it is due for a service, then bring it in to your nearest SAC Service Centre for an inspection.

How long does a vehicle service take?

The service of a vehicle may vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The duration will also depend on the type of service your vehicle will receive. The three service sessions offered by SAC will have different time frames in which it will be concluded. A Minor Service involves the least of work and can be conducted within a very short period of time (an hour or so); an Intermediate Service is likely to take longer and it is therefore better to leave the vehicle and come back after a few hours. A Major Service requires work that is far more complex. During such a service, you will usually be required to leave your vehicle at the service centre for the entire day, if not longer.

What should a basic, a minor and a major vehicle service include?

Your car needs regular tender love and care to keep it on the road and there are many things that vehicle owners can do to extend and improve the life of their vehicles. Conducting regular inspections by yourself can help in the early identification of small faults. Among these inspections are: 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 (ensure 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); checking the air filter (to ensure it is not clogged up). Early identification and rectification can make the chance of a breakdown/accident much less likely.

Regardless of how well you care for your vehicle, every vehicle requires professional servicing. Any service should at least include the following essential checks:

Fluid levels

Ensuring that the oil, coolant, power steering, gearbox, clutch and brake fluids are to their required levels.

Brake system

Inspecting the brake pads and discs for excessive wear.

Oil leaks

Inspecting around and underneath the engine, gearbox and differentials for any leaks.


Ensuring that the fan kicks in at the predetermined temperature and checking for any leaks or blockages.

Battery and warning lights

These are tested to ensure they function properly.

Minor Service

At SAC, the leader in the field of automotive servicing, we do not deviate from this. In fact, our Minor Service package includes more than what has been mentioned. All our services include labour and any consumables used. During the 10 000 km service, our well-trained mechanics will inspect the following on your vehicle:

  • Brake & warning lights
  • Front & rear brakes
  • Horn inspection
  • Wiper blades operation & condition
  • Lighting system
  • Engine oil & leaks
  • Manual transmission oil leaks
  • Prop shaft joints
  • Rear differential oil leaks
  • Tyre condition check
  • Tyre pressure check
  • Washer bottles
  • Air filter

Intermediate Service

During the Intermediate Service, conducted after 20 000 km service, our well-trained mechanics will see to it that the following aspects on your vehicle receives attention:

  • Brake & warning lights
  • Lighting system
  • Horn inspection
  • Wiper blades operation & condition
  • Window washer fluid level
  • Brake & clutch pedal (squeaks & adjustments)
  • Brake & handbrake inspection
  • Radiator maintenance
  • Lubricate latches & hinges
  • Battery & terminal
  • Hydraulic fluid levels
  • Cooling systems levels & leaks
  • Fan belt inspection
  • Replacement off al filters
  • Accelerator pedal check for throttle opening
  • Cambelt inspection
  • Service off all grease nipples (Prop shaft, suspension etc.)
  • Sump plug wiped & tightened
  • Oil leak check on sump plug & filters during vehicle start
  • Tyre condition & pressure
  • Oil level
  • Water level
  • Oil & service decals on
  • Road test
  • Aircon check
  • Gearbox leaver check
  • Diff level check
  • Side shaft oil leak check
  • Service book stamp

Major Service

During a Major Service, conducted after 40 000 km, our well-trained mechanics will inspect and attend to the following on your vehicle:

  • Dyno diagnostic test (before & after service)
  • Brake & warning lights inspection
  • Lighting systems
  • Horn inspection
  • Wiper operation & blade condition
  • Clutch & brake pedal checked for squeaks
  • Glow plugs removal test
  • Glow plug operation test
  • Radiator maintenance
  • Lubricate all latches & hinges
  • Window washer fluid
  • Battery & terminals
  • Hydraulic fluid levels
  • Power steering fluid (replaced every 80 000 km)
  • Brake fluid replacement
  • Auto transmission fluid replacement (where applicable)
  • Transfer case & differential fluids replaced (where applicable)
  • Wheel bearing grease check (replaced every 80 000 km)
  • Engine oil replacement
  • Oil filter replacement
  • Cooling systems levels & leaks check (fluid replaced every 80 000 km)
  • General Inspection & replacement of all filters
  • Accelerator pedal inspection for full throttle opening
  • Cam belt inspection
  • Tappet clearance reset
  • Check top dead centre (TDC) mark
  • Check pulley for play
  • Brakes & handbrake operation
  • Universal joints inspection
  • Tie-rods, links & steering box inspection
  • Grease nipples serviced (prop shaft, suspension etc.)
  • Inspect cable routing
  • Sump plug (tightened & wiped)
  • Inspect exhaust for leaks, routing & rattles
  • Gearbox levels checked & inspected for leaks
  • Inspect shocks for leaks & tighten – REPORT
  • Check diff oil level & for water contamination & leaks on side shafts
  • Lubricate all underbody moving points (Chassis points were applicable)
  • Wheel caps & nuts on
  • Check all tyre pressure (spare wheel included)
  • Torque wheel nuts
  • Check if spare wheel is tightened
  • Check new oil and water levels
  • Clean water trap
  • Check air on
  • Old parts in vehicle
  • Oil & service decals in
  • SAC decal on
  • Service book stamped
  • Inspect vehicle for oil marks
  • Road test (rattles, wind noise, steering, straight, braking stability & noises)

At Steves Auto Clinic, leader in the field of automotive repair and maintenance, we know our business, and when it comes to having your vehicle serviced, you can rest assured that you will receive nothing less than outstanding service. Our doors are wide open to welcome your vehicle for the service it requires.