How Long Does A Car Service Take? (With Examples)

How Long Does A Car Service Take? (With Examples)

Many car owners are wondering about the potential length of their car service. After all, waiting for hours while their cars are tuned means delaying other work.

Besides, no one wants to loiter around the mechanic’s shop.

However, this is an important responsibility. Regular maintenance ensures your safety and that of passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists.

Guide On How Long a Car Service Takes

So, to help you better plan your day, here are the factors determining how long a car service usually takes.

Type Of Service

How long a car service will take depends on the type your car need. There are essentially three types of car service: interim, full, and major.

Interim Service

It is the most basic car service package. It’s offered for high mileage drivers, i.e., those who drive 20,000 miles or more in a year.

During this service, all your car’s main components will be inspected. Moreover, moving parts may be lubricated depending on the shop you take your car to.

Wondering how long an interim car service usually takes? Luckily, not too long.

The service only takes around 1.5 hours.

Full Service

Perfect for low mileage drivers, the full service is recommended for 12 months of 12,000 miles.

In addition to everything in the interim service, full service includes more checks and part replacements.

As this is more comprehensive, you can expect this car service needs some time. Most mechanics will give you an estimate of around 3 hours.

Though it seems like a lot of time, remember that cutting corners may reduce your car’s safety and your own.

Major Service

Also known as the ‘Gold’ service, a major car service is recommended every 24 months or 24,000 miles.

It is the most comprehensive package as it includes everything from the full car service and more.

For instance, the shop may replace parts, change the brake fluid, and clean the cabin filter.

How long a major car service takes will depend on the number of components that need cleaning or replacement.

However, you can expect anywhere between three to four hours for this type of service.

Car’s Condition

If you purchased a new vehicle, your first service would be done at the 12th month or 12,000 miles. It is usually a warranty requirement that you probably signed on already.

In this case, everything under the hood may be in good condition.

The most time needed for a new car service is around one to two hours.

If you’re meticulous and go by the recommended service schedule in the owner’s manual, you may get your car faster.

Components That Need Maintenance

How long a car service takes depends on the condition of the major components under the hood. Here are quick estimates for each of these.


Essentially, you need to change the oil and air filter. If the cabin and fuel filters aren’t in good shape, they too may be changed.

These usually take less than an hour when handled by a good mechanic.


Smaller checks such as oil change will take less than an hour. However, if the engine needs major work, you can expect to part with your car for a day.

Meanwhile, extensive repairs may require up to 10 days. How long this servicing takes may also depend on your car’s model and the engine’s condition.

How Long Does a Car Service Take

Brakes And Drive System

More minor inspections such as checking brake pads due for replacement will require 15 minutes to an hour.

However, if you need to change the clutch, this can take two to six hours.

As for the gearbox, it can take up to an hour to change the transmission fluid. Or it can take three to four days for extensive repairs.

Car Steering And Suspension

How long it takes to service car steering and suspension depends on the damage they sustained. So, you can expect to spend two hours to several days.

Visual Components

Getting your car lights and windows will take anywhere between an hour to five hours. If you’re driving an older car, the availability of parts may extend this duration to days.

Tires And Wheels

If you’re getting your tires serviced, this job can take between 15 minutes and 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, servicing the wheel will take up to 1.5 hours at most.

Additional Inspections

Countries like the United Kingdom mandate annual tests such as the Ministry of Transport (MOT) test.

While the US doesn’t have similar stringent regulations, it’s essential to test your car’s safety, roadworthiness, and emissions.

Collectively known as driver vehicle inspections, the first two tests improve the safety of your vehicle and everyone inside it.

They identify any defects resulting in a mechanical breakdown if they aren’t addressed.

Testing emissions will also give you an idea of how big your carbon footprint is. The report will detail how much pollution your vehicle is producing.

That way, you can take steps to counter its impact on the environment.

The additional inspections will take up to an hour if carried out by experienced mechanics. Just don’t forget to factor in how long it takes to service your car as well.

So, expect the overall process to take two to six hours.

The Mechanic You Choose

How long it takes to service your car will depend on the mechanic you choose.

A seasoned professional will take less time and ensure that you don’t face any issues until the following tune-up.

On the other hand, a bad mechanic will take days to make even simple replacements.

If you’re not sure how to detect a bad one, here are a few red flags to look out for.

  • An inexperienced mechanic will struggle to share an estimate of how long it takes to service your car upfront. That’s because a written document will bound them to deliver by the time and date they specify.
  • By now, you have an idea of how long it takes to service different car parts. If the mechanic takes more time, they’re either not prioritizing your car or don’t know what to do. Therefore, you should estimate how long minor fixes are needed.
  • If the mechanic uses scare tactics to force you into authorizing repairs, they may not be reliable. Get a second opinion just in case.
  • A typical red flag is a mechanic recommending that you follow a maintenance schedule aside from the manual. It is a money-grabbing scam, so say ‘no’ and look for a reliable professional.

You Can Determine How Long A Car Service Takes

If you’re not too happy about the duration a car service takes, remember that you can avoid this. All you need to do is maintain a regular service schedule.

Long service intervals are associated with higher rates of major component failures.

Therefore, if you wish to save your time (and money, of course), get your car serviced every six months or 6,000 miles.

It will let the mechanic check under the hood before they require repairs.

Good luck with your upcoming car service!