How often to service a car and cost you should know

The car dealers and car service providers are reaping off the unsuspecting customers (and business houses) thousands of bucks. This information aims to answer the question of ‘how often do you service a car’. It is based on my experience, putting two family cars in for service every 6 months in Port Moresby. It is mind-boggling how car service cost differs as much as 60%. I hope this article will help the car owners, who are paying to keep their cars in good running condition, get their money’s worth.

How much you should pay for a car service?

The cost of a major car service depends on the millage (in miles/kilometres) a car incurs over time and the type of vehicle. For an average (every day) vehicle, you may want to consider one of these services.

  • A Service: An A-service for your car is recommended to be done every 6 months or cars that have done 5,000 – 10,000 kilometres from the last service. See below is a list of checks and jobs done during an A-service at a GOOD car service provider. Cost: K500.00 plus lubricants refill and labour maximum.
  • B Car Service: This second (high) service is ideal for vehicles that have not been serviced for over 6 months or have done over 10,000 – 50,000 km from the date of the last service. In this service, the vehicle goes through inspection and recommendations for changing parts. This will also include the jobs in the A-service. Cost:~K1,000 maximum (plus parts replacements and labour).
  • C Car Service: The third (and higher) category of service is best for cars that have not been serviced for over 1 year; or vehicles that have done over 50,000 km from the last service. In a C-Service the vehicle will undergo a complete check and overhaul; and parts replacement. Cost can be in access of K1,500+ including the parts replacement. So, communicate effectively with the workshop people before work starts on your vehicle.

The above cost estimate is based on a reputable dealer’s receipt and actual payment (see image for detail, name withheld). If you want the best for your car, you should service your car every 6 months. This will keep your car in excellent running condition.

This article originally appears on PNG Insight Blog.

how often to service your car
Do a full car wash after service

Here are 6 questions you should ask when taking your car in for service:

  • Can I have a Service Quote (SQ)?
  • If you are going to change any main parts, can you please call me before making any replacement? (Most garages do that)
  • If you are replacing any parts, can I have the replaced parts back, please? (This is important because then you’ll know the parts are replaced. I’ve done that and found some con-jobs have been done on my car on several occasions)
  • Do you have any special service and parts offers for this month? (This can be the chance to get a brand new part or accessory such as the tyre and battery for your car)
  • When do I expect a call from you to pick up the car? (This post first appeared on
  • How often should you service your car? The best way to keep your car in a good condition is to service it every 5,000 km or every 6 months.

An A-service should be done every 6 months if you use the vehicle regularly; or ideally, for a vehicle that’s doing 5,000 – 10,000 kilometres from the last service. In a typical A-Service, the mechanic will do the following:

  • inspect and adjust,
  • check and clean, and
  • replace engine oil, oil filter and lubricants.

As a car owner, you’ll know when your car needs a good service. It is recommended that vehicles that do 10,000 – 50,000 km or 50,000-100,000 km must undergo B and C services, respectively. These services can be very expensive and can take more than 2 days to do.

A regular A-service takes less than a day to complete and keeps your car in good running condition.

Read about New Vehicle Registration and Vehicle Title Transfer – Checklist

A Service: List of common lubricant replacements and checks

Here is a list of tasks that any reputable car-servicing companies do. It can take a day to a week to service a car. An A-service can take a day to complete, my car took half a day from drop off to pick up The list is based on a reputable Toyota dealer in Port Moresby.

How much it cost to service a car - list of jobs


  • oil filter
  • engine oil
  • gearbox oil
  • differential oil
  • sump plug washer

Inspect and check

  • air filter element
  • battery water level
  • power steering fluid
  • all engine drive belts
  • cooling system hoses
  • brakes & brake fluids
  • wipers and operations
  • seat and belt operations
  • wheel bearing Freeplay
  • front and rear brake pads
  • tyre and spare wheel tread
  • steering system components
  • suspensions and driveline systems
  • coolant level and condition of fluid
  • operation of blower, heater and air conditioning
  • operation of lights, horn, washers and indicators

Adjust/tighten /lubricate/clean

  • tighten bolts
  • adjust brakes
  • clean battery terminals
  • lubricate door hinges and bonnet latch
  • a full car wash (inside and outside)

The mechanic will carry out a ROAD TEST after all the inspections, checks, adjustments and replacements have been done to your vehicle.

ALL THESE CAN BE DONE AT LESS THAN K500. If you see that a car service provider is charging you more, there is something wrong. You should ask why and get a response from them.

Perhaps it is important to note that the car service providers may charge extra for the jobs done if they are getting parts from suppliers in town or overseas.

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