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Car service guide

Regular servicing can help to keep your car running smoothly and identify potential problems early on, reducing the risk of more serious and costly problems in the future.

To underline the importance of booking in a regular VW service, the following table introduces many of the parts which will be checked, why it’s vital for them to be serviced, potential issues if they aren’t inspected frequently and the packages available where the part is available in the servicing procedure.

Part Why service & implications if not? Major service Minor service
Oil change The lubricating properties of engine oil don’t last forever. Oil will accumulate dirt and foreign particles over time, while its chemical makeup will degrade meaning you will eventually need an oil change.

After around 4,000-5,000 miles in your VW, you’ll require a VW oil change because your oil will change from a golden liquid to a black tar-like substance that is a lot thicker and far less effective as a lubricant.
Air Filter Change All internal combustion engines need a mixture of fuel and air to operate properly.

Before entering the engine, air needs to be cleaned in order to remove dirt, dust and debris.

Without air (i.e. oxygen), fuels aren’t able to burn and provide the energy required to power the car’s engine.

If dirt and dust is allowed to pass into an engine, they will rub on the essential metal parts of the engine and cause them to wear away at a quicker rate.

To prevent this build-up, your VW with require an air filter change to keep everything in working order.

A VW air filter replacement is required for optimised engine performance and fuel economy.

Light Inspection During a lights inspection on your VW, all headlights, tail lights and indicators will be checked to ensure they are in full working order. Hazard lights will be checked too, as well as both brake and reverse lights, fog lights and registration lights.

You will require VW tail light and headlight replacements should they not pass the inspection.

Rule 113 of The Highway Code states that all sidelights and rear registration plate lights must be lit between sunset and sunrise. The same rule also states that headlights must be used at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting, as well as in instances when visibility is seriously reduced.

Rule 115 of The Highway Code states that either dipped or dim-dip headlights, should be used at night in built-up areas as well as in dull daytime weather.
Bodywork Inspection Any signs of excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas will be checked during a bodywork inspection.

A bodywork inspection will also provide peace of mind that your vehicle is free from sharp edges which could cause injury.

The inspection includes checks on your VW bumper, door panels and bodywork. Should anything raise concern, a replacement will be recommended.
Battery Inspection A car’s battery will be checked during the stage of a service, where all of the vehicle’s vital electrics are tested.

During this check, any leaks and obvious signs of damage will also be observed, as will the wiring for signs of wear and damage.

One sign of a car battery not operating correctly is if a charge warning light comes on while driving. Detailed in Annex 6 of The Highway Code, this could be due to the battery not charging — an issue which could lead to loss of power to lights and the vehicle’s other electrical systems.

In the instance that issues are risen during the inspection of your VW, experts will recommend that you have your VW battery replaced.
Coolant Level Inspection During a service, a car’s engine coolant level will be inspected and topped up if necessary.

It is important to monitor a car’s coolant, as without it there’s a risk that the vehicle’s engine will overheat very quickly. This can lead to both engine failure and mechanical breakdowns.

To prevent your car’s engine from overheating, if coolant levels are low on your VW, you will require a VW coolant change to ensure your vehicle is safe for driving.
Drive Belts Inspection A car’s auxiliary belt will be checked while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

Your VW drive belt should be in good working order, as it will decrease the friction experienced between engine parts — increasing their efficiency in the process.
Braking System Inspection There will be a full inspection of the car’s braking system undertaken during a VW service. This includes brake fluid being checked to ensure there is enough in the vehicle and that the fluid itself is in a good condition, the pipes monitored to ensure they deliver the brake fluid adequately and brake pads looked at to ensure they are of the correct depth. It is vital that your VW brakes are in working order for the driver’s safety.

All of this will be carried out to ensure a vehicle can stop within a safe distance. Rule 126 of The Highway Code states the typical stopping distances are as follows:

- At 20mph: 6 metres thinking distance and 6 metres braking distance.
- At 30mph: 9 metres thinking distance and 14 metres braking distance.
- At 40mph: 12 metres thinking distance and 24 metres braking distance.
- At 50mph: 15 metres thinking distance and 38 metres braking distance.
- At 60mph: 18 metres thinking distance and 55 metres braking distance.
- At 70mph: 21 metres thinking distance and 75 metres braking distance.

Of course, these stopping distances should only be used as a general guide, as the distance can be affected by the state of the road surface, weather conditions and the condition of the vehicle.

If there are any issues with your VW braking system, experts will make recommendations.
Steering Inspection A car’s steering will be inspected along with the vehicle’s suspension. The condition of both will be checked, as will the steering oil level. This part of a service will also see your VW steering and suspension checked to ensure they work correctly, while the steering lock mechanism will be monitored to ensure it is in tip-top condition.
Hoses Inspections A car’s coolant hoses will be checked while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

Coolant hoses should be regularly monitored, as deterioration can be caused due to oil contamination. It is also recommended for VW hoses to be replaced if they have been subjected to long-term exposure to hot engine oil, as well as if they have been internally exposed to oil which has leaked from an internally mounted transmission oil cooler into the radiator.
Drive Shafts Inspection The joints and gaiters of a car’s drive shaft will be checked while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

Your VW drive shaft is an important part of your vehicle, as it delivers the torque produced by the engine to the correct area of the vehicle. This will be dependent on the type of car owned — torque is delivered to the front of a vehicle with front-wheel drive, to the rear of a vehicle with rear-wheel drive and where needed of a vehicle with four-wheel drive.
Exhaust System Inspection A car’s exhaust system will be checked while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

It is important to keep a VW’s exhaust system in an adequate condition, as it is responsible for removing emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen oxide from the vehicle after they are produced in the combustion chamber.

If issues are found when checking your VW exhaust, recommendations will be made.
Replace Pollen Filter A car’s pollen filter will be checked to see if it needs replacing.

You will need a VW pollen filter replacement at least every two years, as inadequate pollen filters will prevent fresh air from entering into the car and condensation from clearing.
Spark Plugs Inspection * A car’s spark plugs will be inspected while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

It is important to inspect VW spark plugs, as their sharp edges will wear down over time and mean that more voltage will be required in order to bridge the gap between the centre and ground electrodes.

If upon inspection your spark plug has been worn down, you will require a VW spark plug replacement.
Fuel Filter Inspection ** A car’s fuel filters will be inspected while all of the vehicle’s engine components are subjected to thorough tests.

It is important for VW fuel filters to be replaced regularly, as these make the fuel delivery system of the car more efficient and also helps to achieve the optimal performance of its engine.

* Only applicable to vehicles with petrol engines.
**Only applicable to vehicles with diesel engines.


Sources

https://www.gov.uk/search?filter_manual%5B%5D=%2Fguidance%2Fthe-highway-code&q=glass
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/car-parts-checked-at-an-mot/car-parts-checked-at-an-mot
https://www.autobutler.co.uk/blog/included-in-your-cars-service|
http://www.atseuromaster.co.uk/motoring-information-hub/vehicle-care/mot-and-servicing-what-they-check/
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/coolant-what-it-does-and-why-its-important
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/what-is-the-importance-of-a-drive-belt-in-a-car.html
https://www.knowyourparts.com/technical-resources/hvac/coolant-hose-replacement-tips/
https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-long-does-a-driveshaft-last
http://www.autorepairkey.com/2011/06/your-car-exhaust-system-explained/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/caradvice/honestjohn/9202242/The-importance-of-replacing-pollen-filters.html