MTA Queensland five-rings logo


As every model is unique, you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines found in your logbook or owner’s manual. Here you will find the maximum times and distances to leave between service intervals, considering such factors as age, make, and model.

As a general guideline, your vehicle should be serviced every six months or 10,000km (whichever comes first). However, if your car is older, or you regularly drive in difficult conditions, it can be worth having an interim service every three months or 5,000km. 

More modern cars can have longer service intervals, often every 12 months or 15,000km. But don’t be tempted to squeeze in a few extra kilometres between visits as these engines are far more complex and often less tolerant of neglect.

Types of servicing

There are three types of service which you can have for your car. The appropriate type will depend on various factors such as vehicle type, drive style and kilometres covered. Your mechanic will recommend one of the following: 

  • Minor (General) Service
    Minor (or general) services are relatively quick, taking as little as an hour and a half. They include simple yet important tasks such as testing the car’s oil and oil filter, as well as testing the steering, air conditioning, brakes and fluid.
  • Interim Service
    Interim services are conducted between general services if you regularly drive your vehicle under challenging conditions (such as driving at high speeds, stop-start driving in city traffic, or towing a caravan/trailer). If something specific also needs attention, it may be possible to have it checked as part of the service.
  • Major (Full) Service
    Major (or full) services are the most thorough type of service. In addition to the areas checked during a general service, your mechanic will conduct a full inspection – looking at the steering, exhaust, types, and suspension.

What happens if I don’t service my car?

It’s easy to put off getting your car serviced. While it may all seem fine on the outside – it’s not making any unusual noises or stalling in the middle of the road – forgetting to service your car could be a costly mistake.

Cars can develop a wide variety of problems that can only be identified by an experienced mechanic. For example, being slack with maintenance can negatively affect your fuel economy and increase the risk of mechanical failure. Fluids need to be regularly checked and changed to avoid oil quality degrading or moisture building up, which can see your engine seize up. Your brake fluids must also be checked to ensure your brakes continue to operate effectively. 

Routine maintenance, including basic DIY car checks, can help you reduce the risk of a breakdown and the likelihood of spending money on emergency repairs. 

Want to learn more?

MTA Queensland’s Vehicle Maintenance course is designed for those who are interested in gaining valuable information and learning good practices for everyday vehicle use. The result: a safer journey with fewer breakdowns and repairs. If you have ever wanted to learn how to carry out preventative maintenance, then this course is for you. 


1 December 2021

Please note the information contained on this page is general in nature and does not take into account your specific needs or circumstances. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.