It’s a simple fact: anything with moving parts is bound to wear out over time. Having your car serviced can delay this process and potentially increase the longevity of your vehicle. So if your car needs preventative care to keep it running smoothly, what types of car maintenance services should you get and when?
Keep reading to learn about the difference between car services and what kind you’ll need for the road ahead.
What Are the Different Types of Car Service?
Some auto repair shops offer different types of car services depending on your vehicle type, how much you drive, and when your car was last serviced. Services typically include an inspection of your vehicle’s critical components to ensure your car is operating safely and performing optimally.
Vehicles also come equipped with a manufacturer's suggested maintenance schedule that highlights which services you need and when. Or, you can simply book an appointment at your neighborhood Firestone for a Complete Vehicle Inspection.
Our trained technicians will check around the wheels, under the hood, and more to ensure your car is in good condition. Firestone can also make you aware of any maintenance items that might additionally be listed by your vehicle manufacturer.
What Are Interim, Full, and Major Car Services?
Not all auto repair shops specifically offer interim, full, and major car repair services. However, understanding the difference between these three intervals can help you identify what your vehicle needs based on your manufacturer's suggested maintenance schedule (MSMS).
At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we're happy to provide you with a printout of your vehicle's MSMS. Ask our teammates about the best inspection for their car's specific needs.
Interim Car Service Intervals
An interim service is typically smaller-scale maintenance that occurs between full services, generally every six months or 6,000 miles. Interim services often include:
- Oil change and filter replacement
- Serpentine belt inspection
- Wiper blade inspection
- Tire pressure checks
If you rack up more miles than the average driver, you could benefit from an interim car service.
Full Car Service Intervals
It's generally said that every driver should bring their car in for a full service once a year or every 12,000 miles. A full service typically includes all the checks of an interim service, plus inspecting several other key components, such as:
- Engine air filter
- Cabin air filter
- Belts and hoses
- Brake pads
A full service can include more than 50 separate checks on your vehicle to make sure it’s running safely and efficiently.
Major Car Service Intervals
Major car services are often reserved for the important maintenance items that don’t require servicing as often as other parts. Major car services may include all the checks from an interim and full service, plus other critical items such as:
- Brake fluid exchange
- Spark plug replacement
- Transmission fluid inspection (if applicable)
- Timing belt replacement (based on MSMS)
- Battery testing
- Tire replacement
Types of Car Maintenance Services
These are some of the important maintenance services you can expect when you bring your car into your local Firestone Complete Auto Care:
Oil & Filter Change
Your car’s oil should be changed at intervals ranging from about 3,000-12,000 miles — based on your MSMS. During this service, an expert technician will offer to perform a Courtesy Check and replace your engine oil and oil filter.
Tire rotations help spread wear and tear evenly across all four of your tires, helping to maximize tread life and keeping traction consistent across each tire’s contact patch. A tire rotation service includes removing the tires from their current locations and rotating them to another location on the vehicle. The new position of your tires will depend on their tread direction and your vehicle’s drivetrain.
Your wheels need to be aligned to ensure your car drives straight down the road. After a couple thousand miles of road vibration and the occasional pothole, your alignment may need correcting. Wheel alignment services include inspection and adjustments to your vehicle’s steering and suspension system.
An expert technician will adjust your car’s alignment according to OEM specifications. And if applicable, they will finish by recalibrating the vehicle’s Steering Angle Sensor (SAS) or Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).
Wiper Blades Replacement
It’s easy to forget about your wiper blades if it doesn’t rain much where you live. But you’ll sure miss them when that next thunderstorm rolls in! Renewing your wiper blades every six months can help ensure that they maintain adequate contact with your windshield, keeping it clean so that you can see more clearly in rainy weather.
At Firestone Complete Auto Care, a technician will evaluate the condition of your wiper blades and top off your windshield wiper fluid level. We’ll remove your old wiper blades and install new ones if needed.
Engine & Cabin Air Filter Replacement
Your engine and cabin air filters do the important job of ensuring that you and your car both have clean air to breathe while on the road. The engine air filter helps keep debris from entering the engine during the air-intake process. Meanwhile, the cabin air filter helps prevent contaminants like smog, dust, and pollen from entering the passenger cabin of your vehicle.
Both air filters should be replaced approximately every 12 months or 12,000 miles – or anytime they become too dirty. During a service, we’ll inspect and remove your old, dirty filters and install new ones if needed. That way, you and your engine get the fresh air you need while driving.
Brake Fluid Exchange
Your brake fluid is essential to maintaining safe braking performance, although it doesn’t typically need changing as often as many other car fluids. To err on the side of caution, you’ll want to have your brake fluid flushed and exchanged around every two years — according to some car manufacturers — or when it fails the brake fluid test strip per MAP guidelines.
A Firestone technician will test the condition of your brake fluid during a service inspection and make a recommendation. If you haven’t had your brakes serviced in a while, consider stopping by and allowing one of our expert technicians to perform a brake inspection.
Spark Plug Replacement
Spark plugs play a crucial role in the performance of your car by igniting an air-fuel mixture, causing combustion in your engine. Without them, you’re not going anywhere.
Spark plugs wear out over time due to extreme temperatures, regular use, and outside contaminants. But exactly when they wear out depends on the age and health of your engine. We recommend having your spark plugs serviced according to your manufacturer's suggested maintenance schedule.
Resolv Car Service Explained: Carefree Maintenance for the Road Ahead
Need car care services, but afraid they'll burn a hole in your wallet? With Resolv – an innovative car care membership offering preventive maintenance and tire care in certain locations — all it takes is one low monthly payment to stay on top of timely vehicle services like alignments, oil changes, and more. Check that Resolv is available in your area, and then find the plan that best fits your car care needs.
When you're finished, bring your vehicle to Firestone Complete Auto Care for covered services at no additional cost. It's that simple! You'll also get helpful service alerts specific to your vehicle’s manufacturer suggested maintenance schedule.