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Car Service: Why it’s value for money

Saffron Auto’s have been looking after motorists in and around Saffron Walden for decades. We’re very keen to give great value to the local community and it’s with this in mind we thought it’d be a great idea to share our knowledge on the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance.

Having your car serviced on a regular basis can really make a difference to the efficiency of your vehicle. Not only that but you’ll dramatically reduce your risk of breakdown. Car maintenance is easily overlooked as we all have busy lives, but its importance should not be underestimated.

Last year the RAC attended 2.5 million drivers that had broken down by the roadside. Their survey reported that a large number of these could have been avoided had regular maintenance been carried out.

There are two main areas of benefit that regular servicing brings. The first being the prevention of large repairs. Prevention is preferable to cure, and a little preventative maintenance today will always mean lower repair bills.

A common example we see on a regular basis is that of brake repairs. Brake pad wear is a natural occurrence. It’s important though that the brake pads are replaced before they reach the end of their service life.

Delay brake pad replacement too long and they’ll be bound to damage your brake discs. This can cost £100’s in unnecessary repair work. Which I’m sure you’ll be keen to avoid.

A secondary benefit is that of fuel efficiency. The modern car is a finely tuned piece of technical engineering. Failure to have your car serviced can see you returning to the pump prematurely. This could be costing you ££’s in increased fuel bills every year.

Something as fundamental as an oil and filter change can have a positive impact and improve the Miles Per Gallon you vehicle returns. This also has the obvious benefits of extending engine life.

It can also be a great idea as the driver of your vehicle to carry out some basic maintenance yourself. Checking tyre pressures, engine oil level, along with topping up the screen wash, can be done at home, but there are many aspects of car service that require the expertise, skills, and tools of a professionally-trained technician.

Your vehicle can be considered to be more computer than a car, and as such is a highly technical piece of automotive engineering. You can hardly be expected to understand the electronics that are buried beneath the bonnet.

It’s for this exact reason that we’d always advise using a trained professional. An under-qualified person could do more damage trying to fix the vehicle themselves.

Franchised Dealership or Independent Garage?

So… Your car or van needs a service, who should you choose?

There are a large number of reasons for selecting a quality independent garage over a franchised dealer.

Business overheads of the franchised dealer could be several times larger than that of a quality independent. This can usually be attributed to their large premises and the number of employees in their extensive workforce. This usually means a much higher labour rate when compared to garages in the independent sector.

A recent survey found that franchised dealers’ repair costs can be as much as 18% higher than a quality independent repairer.

It’s also worth pointing out that many independent garages offer a comparable technical skill set to a Franchised dealer. It’s also common for the business to be owned by dedicated technicians who are passionate about their craft. It’s not unusual for them to have committed to 1000’s of hours in personal development to keep up with modern vehicle technology.

You’ll also discover that many Independent garages are very keen to give exceptionally high levels of customer service as they don’t have the large marketing budgets of a franchised network, and rely on their good service message being passed on by word of mouth.

What should you expect when your car is serviced?

The duration between services and what’s covered in a specific service can vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. The following checklist though is an indicator of the popular items carried out on most schedules.

  • Brakes: A thorough inspection may take place, brake fluid will be topped up as required. Brake pipes will be checked, as will the wear on brake pads measured.
  • Lights: All lights are checked including the front, side, rear, and main lights are in full working order. Hazard warning lights and indicators are checked, as are number plate lights, brake lights, fog lights and reverse lights.
  • Wheels and tyres: Wheels and tyres will be inspected for damage for defects such as cracks and punctures. Tread depth will also be measured to make sure it is above the legal limit of 1.6mm and the pressures are checked and adjusted where required.
  • Electrics: The battery, starter motor, and charging system are also checked for correct operation.
  • Windscreens: Inspecting the screen for damage, along with the wiper blades and washer nozzles for correct operation.
  • Instruments: The dashboard function along with all gauges, warning lights and the horn will be checked for correct functionality.
  • Interior: The seat belts and mechanisms are checked along with the internal and external mirrors, seats, interior lights, doors and locks and the handbrake.
  • Fluids: Washer fluid replenished, possibly an oil and filter change. Fluids such as coolant, power steering will also be checked and topped up where required.
  • Engine: The oil and filter are usually replaced. Items such as the exhaust system, fuel pipes, radiator, clutch, air filter, coolant hoses, auxiliary drive belt are checked and reported upon. Spark plugs and other service items may also be replaced.

You’ll also find additional benefits that may not at first be immediately apparent. If your vehicle has a full-service history you could find it easier to find a buyer at the point of sale. Regular maintenance reassures buyers that you’ve cared for your car and could increase its resale value.

So… It just makes sense to service your car or van. But who should you choose?

We’re obviously a little biased, but when it comes to looking after your car, our years of experience, expert technicians (Top Tech Winner UK awarded), the friendly team combined with the great value we offer are guaranteed to leave you smiling, in a vehicle you can trust.

You’ll definitely be glad to have chosen Saffron Autos to look after your vehicles.

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