As you evaluate how much you will spend each year on your vehicle, you must also consider the car service cost. From oil changes to tire rotations, your vehicle needs constant care to ensure everything runs smoothly.
In this guide, we look closer at the factors affecting the car service cost. We also cover the approximate cost of the most common car services. At the end of our guide, we answer your top questions, ensuring you are prepared for the costs to come.
Table of Contents
How Much Does a Car Service Cost?
You can expect to pay between $40 to $600 or more for a basic car service. You may spend as little as $40 if you plan to perform an oil change at home. On the flip side, it’s possible to spend $600 or more if you are in need of a major car service and you must have it done professionally.
Costs depend on what type of vehicle you drive, the service being performed, your location and more. So let’s take a look at what factors affect the car service cost.
Factors Affecting Car Service Cost
1. Your Vehicle
The biggest factor determining your car service costs is the type of vehicle you drive. If you have a small compact car, you may not need to put out as much for an oil change or tire replacement. Your car won’t use as much oil and the tires will be smaller.
Additionally, if you drive a luxury vehicle or sports car, you also have to think about the type of technician that’s needed. You may not trust these vehicles with your regular mechanic, thereby requiring some extra money for a specialized technician.
2. Services Provided
The most common service performed is an oil change. With these occurring every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, on average, you can expect this to be a regular expense. However, this service doesn’t usually cost a lot.
On the other hand, when it’s time to have the brake pads and rotors replaced, you are going to have a much higher bill. Thankfully, these services don’t occur frequently.
There are several factors that have to do with location. To start, if you perform the repair on your own, you only need to pay for parts. This simple task ensures you spend a minimal amount of money on the service.
You must also consider what type of area you live in. If you are visiting a repair shop in a rural community, the price will usually be much lower than if you go to the city. Additionally, your independent mechanic doesn’t typically cost as much as the dealership would.
Average Car Service Cost Prices
1. Oil/Filter Change
The average oil and filter change is going to cost $40 to $125. If you run conventional motor oil, you will need more frequent changes than drivers using synthetic or a synthetic blend oil. While the oil and filter might be more expensive for this option, having the changes done less frequently can actually help you save money in the long term.
If you are driving an average of 12,000 miles a year, you may require two to three oil changes annually. You don’t ever want to neglect this vital service because the health of your car engine relies on having fresh oil and a clean filter. This small expense is like an insurance policy for the motor.
2. Windshield Wiper Replacement
Changing the windshield wipers is often a service that goes overlooked. For most people, it’s simple to change the windshield wipers on their own, requiring just the cost of the parts. If you get the service performed at the mechanic with other jobs, you could spend $20 to $50 each time for parts and labor, with blades being changed once or twice a year.
However, most auto parts stores will change the wipers for free if you buy them there. Making a quick pit stop could save you a lot of money.
3. Tire Rotation
Tires are made with a rubber tread that wears down over time. Depending on the type of car you drive, the quality of the tires and your driving habits, you could require tire rotations once or twice a year. Any time that you notice the tread wearing unevenly, it would be smart to have an inspection and rotation.
On average, expect to pay about $20 to $100 for tire rotation services. However, some tire shops will offer a maintenance package when you buy your tires that could make the services cheaper if they are pre-paid.
There are also other tire and wheel services you need to consider. You must schedule regular tire balancing and wheel alignment services to keep the car driving straight down the road. If you neglect these services, you may be causing damage to the suspension components and you will find yourself buying new tires more often.
4. Brake Pad Replacement
Brake pads and rotors are required if you want your car to stop when the pedal is pressed. Over time, the brake pad and rotor materials can start to fail, thereby increasing the stopping time. That’s why regular brake service is essential to your on-road safety.
Most frequently, the brake pads need to be replaced. Per axle, figure that the brake service might cost $150 to $350, depending on what type of brakes you choose and where you have them changed. If you need all four brake pads replaced, the price will double. Additionally, the rotors will eventually need service. Rotors can be resurfaced at times, which is a minimal cost. Otherwise, rotor replacement will be around $100 to $300 on top of the brake pad replacement cost.
5. Serpentine Belt Replacement
When the serpentine belt starts to fail, you will hear a whining noise. In some cases, the belt might just need to be tensioned properly, while other times, it requires a replacement. For a tensioning repair, you may pay an hour for labor to a mechanic.
In comparison, replacing the serpentine belt could cost you $150 to $500, depending on the model of your vehicle. Some vehicles have serpentine belts that are much harder to replace than others, thereby increasing the overall labor cost. Thankfully, the serpentine belt should last at least 50,000 miles, so there’s no reason to have this service performed often.
6. Spark Plug Replacement
A regular tune-up might include spark plug replacement if it’s time. Spark plugs are only needed once they start to wear out or foul. With some types, you can get 100,000 miles or more from your spark plugs.
The total cost for spark plug replacement might be between $100 and $400. If you purchase high-quality spark plugs, you will pay more, but they will last longer. Additionally, some vehicles have spark plugs that are difficult to change, which will only increase the labor costs.
7. Fluid Flush
Your car contains many different types of fluids that need regular flushing to ensure all of the systems run as they should. One example is a transmission fluid flush, which is often recommended every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
The coolant is another fluid that requires flushing. You may need to get this service every 30,000 miles. If you can get some of these services performed at the same time, it might be less expensive overall.
8. Car Wash/Detailing
The average car wash isn’t often seen as a vehicle service that should be performed. Yet, taking care of the car’s interior and exterior is very important to the resale value and appearance of the vehicle. For that reason, it’s important to wash the car regularly and possibly invest a little more into the in-depth detailing service.
If you get a car wash every month, you may spend anywhere from $5 to $100 at a time. Detailing can cost a lot more, depending on which services you think are important.
RELATED: How Much Does a Car Wash Cost?
9. Multi-Point Inspection
As part of most maintenance schedules, automakers recommend having inspections of the major systems. If you are already getting other services performed, the mechanics will usually throw these inspections in with the cost.
If an inspection is all that you are going to pay for, you will have to get that separately. Plus, you will want to get any repairs performed that are pointed out during the inspection, which further adds to the cost.
What is the Average Maintenance Cost for a Car?
In 2021, AAA estimated that the average cost of maintenance for a car is $9,666. This cost increased by nearly $300 over the previous year. With this factored into the rising gas prices, it’s becoming more expensive to own and operate a vehicle.
How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Car Monthly?
AAA has estimated the cost of maintaining a car over a month. If the annual maintenance cost includes services such as oil changes, tire rotations and windshield wiper replacement, the monthly breakdown is typically around $120 a month. Most cars receive some type of service every 5,000 miles.
What is a Full Service on a Car?
The term full service has earned many different meanings, depending on who is working on the car. In most cases, it involves everything that’s required on the vehicle for a particular service interval. In some cases, there are mileage markers that require more than 50 checks and services at a time. Check the owner’s manual to find the recommended service your car is due for.
What Happens if I Don’t Service My Car?
If you neglect regular service on your vehicle, the performance could begin to suffer. Your car requires these regular checks and services to ensure the major systems continue running as they should. If you expect your engine, transmission, and other vital components to remain in good shape, get your car serviced.
Can I Service My Car at Home?
If you are mechanically inclined and have basic tools, you may be able to perform some of the car services that are recommended. Some jobs are easier than others, such as changing the windshield wipers. Every job that can be done on your own will save you money on your monthly car service costs.
Conclusion: Car Service Cost
When you own a car, it’s wise to factor in all of the costs you will be dealing with upfront. From the insurance premiums to the fuel costs, you want to budget enough to get where you need to go. By evaluating the standard car service costs for your vehicle, you know what’s coming up next.
Of course, these costs will depend on several factors, including what type of vehicle you drive and where you choose to have it serviced. For that reason, you may want to get estimates from some local shops before you commit to having any services performed. However, all service costs help you prevent bigger repair bills as you avert failure from occurring.