If you own a vehicle, you’ll know that it’s vital to ensure that it is regularly serviced. While this is not a legal requirement, it is your obligation to ensure that your car is safe. According to gov.uk, you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Failing to do so will lead to wear and tear becoming exacerbated, which in turn may cause serious and expensive faults. Furthermore, a failure to keep up with servicing will heavily affect the value of your vehicle if you decide to sell it. However, with a number of different types of servicing available from garages across the country, how do you work out which type your car needs?

Here, we’ll look at the main two levels of servicing – the interim car service and the full car service. What is included in each, and how do you know when you should take your vehicle for an interim service vs a full service? The servicing specialists at Dronsfields will explain this in detail below.

Interim Car Service: What is Included?

If you take your vehicle for an interim service, it will receive basic tweaks such as an oil change, oil filter replacement and checks of major components such as the steering, brakes, clutch, tyres, hoses and pipes.

At the end, you will receive a detailed report about every check that has been completed. You should study this in detail to find out whether any improvements can be made.

At most garages and service centres, an interim car service will include around 50 checks to make sure that your vehicle is running safely and that there are no problems with its functionality or performance.

When Should I Book an Interim Car Service?

It is highly recommended that you book your vehicle in for these checks once every six months or every 6,000 miles (whichever comes around first). Interim servicing is designed to keep your car running smoothly and safely between full services, so you should never arrange for one to replace your annual set of comprehensive checks.

How Long Does it Take To Do an Interim Service?

The length of time it will take for all checks and tweaks to be completed depends first and foremost on the type of car you own, as this will affect how easy it will be to reach the relevant components that are to be tested or changed.

Most commonly, however, an interim car service is usually completed in around an hour and a half. However, if multiple problems are discovered, you may find that your mechanics will need to take a little longer to resolve them.

Full Car Service: What is Included?

There are slightly fewer checks required in an interim service vs a full service. The latter comprises of a far more exhaustive set of tests and adjustments, but it also includes the elements completed as part of an interim service. For example, the oil & filter changes and basic component checks will be completed in a full service as well as an interim.

The difference is that this type of service will also include some more comprehensive checks relating to the engine, brakes, drive belts and heating and cooling system – to name just a few.

Usually, you should expect that your car will undergo between 65 and 70 checks as a part of this process – rather more than in an interim service.

As is the case with the more basic of the two types of service, you’ll receive a full report of the outcome of all checks at the end of a full service too.

When Should I Book a Full Car Service?

A full car service should be undertaken once a year or every 12,000 miles (again, whichever comes first). Those who travel greater distances are more likely to accrue wear and tear quickly, so if you drive a great deal, taking your car in for comprehensive checks of this kind can keep you safe and save you a great deal of money on repairs in the long run.

Those who drive older cars should also ensure that they book a regular full service, as components are more likely to fail if a vehicle has had a long life with a lot of use.

How Long Does it Take to Do a Full Service?

Again, this matter depends on the type of car you own and the accessibility of each of the relevant components, but due to the detailed nature of the checks and changes, a full service should usually take around three hours.

Deciding between an interim service vs a full service should be easy – simply check when you had your last full service, and, if it’s approaching the six-month mark or its next 6,000 miles, it’s best to take your car in for interim checks. However, if it’s approaching a year, you should certainly consider another full service.

If you drive long distances regularly, or often traverse rough terrain, you may decide that you wish to take your car for full services annually and interim services between times to keep on top of your car’s condition.

One useful approach is to book your service at the same time as your MOT – so that when your car comes out of its legally required tests, there’s someone ready straight away to implement any adjustments it has been found to require.

So, in conclusion, an interim service is a series of checks that are recommended to be undertaken every six months between full services, while a full service should be done annually.

Interim services involve around 50 checks, while full services usually involve between 65 and 70.

Interim services take approximately an hour and a half, while full services usually take around three hours.

At the end of either service, you’ll receive a comprehensive summary report.


Whatever type of vehicle you drive, Dronsfields can provide you with full, professional servicing. Take a look here for a little more information, or use our handy contact form to get in touch.