Are Car Service Plans Worth It?

How much does a car service cost?

Regular servicing is absolutely crucial to the long-term health of your car - and your wallet. But how much should you pay for a service? Our guide will explain it all

Why does my car need a service?

Many car owners don’t see the need for servicing and use the annual MoT test as an examination of their car’s faults, or alternatively wait until a part stops working before paying to get it fixed. That logic is partly understandable - why pay money out on something that is working perfectly? - but as with the health of your own body, prevention is much better than a cure. In addition, the MoT test just ensures a vehicle is legal to drive on the road, and nothing more. An MoT pass certificate is no guarantee of a car’s overall health.

Check your car's MOT history

Scheduled maintenance based on a car’s age, the amount of miles it is covering and the way it is used will not only save you money in the long-term by reducing the likelihood of big repair bills, it will also help to maintain the value of your car. If you were buying a used vehicle, wouldn’t you want the one that has been serviced every 12,000 miles without fail?

What is a service plan?

Instead of paying for your services when they are required, a service plan guarantees certain elements of servicing over a set period for a fixed price. On new cars this is often a lump sum bundled into the cost of the price, or you can buy your own service plan for older cars from a variety of service centres, either as a lump sum or a monthly basis.

Is a service plan worth it?

If you hate the thought of big bills it can be a sensible option, allowing you to spread the cost of servicing into a monthly payment as you might also do with VED and car insurance. Many plans also roll in annual MoT tests too, so up to a point you plan maintenance costs over several years.

The only caveats to this come in the small print, and what is and is not included within the bundled price. It is highly likely you will have to pay for the replacement of some consumable items if they are picked up as needing attention during a planned service, such as brake discs and tyres, so you need to factor this in accordingly.

Service plan



18-24 months

£15-£21 pm

£20-29 pm

22-36 months

 £14-£20 pm

£17-24 pm


Are dealer service plans worth it?

A service plan provided by the dealership where you purchased your car does have some additional benefits. In particular, if you have a bought a new vehicle from a dealer and they offer a service plan it is worth taking the time to consider it carefully. Most new car buyers will use a franchised dealer for servicing in order to keep the service history and maintain its value, as well as the reassurance of manufacturer standards and parts, so it can make sense to buy this as a bundle up front and roll it into the purchase price.

The same can also apply if you have bought a nearly-new or used vehicle, helping to maintain a good service record and maximis the potential retail value. Many of the manufacturer service plans are transferrable to the next owner, which is a further boon when it comes to moving the car on again.

The flip side to this is that dealer servicing is the most expensive way to get your car serviced. A service plan may save you money compared to standard franchised dealership servicing but this is not guaranteed - it is important to take time and calculate the costs before signing up. Dealer servicing plans also are unlikely to include consumable items, and those items will also cost more to replace at a dealer than elsewhere.

Ultimately it is for you to decide if getting your car serviced at a main dealer is important to you, and if so whether the offered service plan offers sufficient savings or benefits to be worthwhile. If you don't mind where your car is serviced, going elsewhere will save you money regardless.

How much does a service cost?

Prices will vary by location, the size of the service and sometimes the vehicle too, with high performance cars and those with larger engines sometimes paying more. As a general guide however expect to pay anywhere between £50 and £80 for a minor service and between £100 and £200 for a full or major service. It is always worth shopping around for quotes, comparing prices and service items to ensure you get the best deal. The Honest John Good Garage Guide will help you find the best-rated garages in your area. 

Service agent

Kwik Fit


ATS Euromaster

F1 Autocentres

Motor Easy 

Mr Clutch

Interim/check service


From £69





Minor service


From £139

From £125*


From £149*


Major service


From £195

From £185*


From £183*


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What kinds of car servicing are there?

Different garages may have their own names for the types of service they offer, but they will generally be either a minor or interim service and a major or full service. The theory is that you should alternate between the two so that your car receives a service once a year or every 10-12,000 miles. Service schedules do vary depending on the age of your vehicle, so it is important to check the handbook. Don’t rely solely on the car’s service indicator either - you shouldn’t let your car go more than 18 months without servicing even if it has covered very few miles.

What is included in the different types of service also varies between garages, so it is important to check carefully. All types of service will mean some parts or fluids are replaced while some are only checked; a check rarely costs money or takes very much time so it is the elements that are replaced that contribute the bulk of the cost, so these are the crucial elements.

It is also important to consider items that won’t be replaced during a service. Brake pads and discs may be checked but won’t be changed and the same goes for tyres. These are consumable items that will wear out depending on the usage of the vehicle, so they should be checked and replaced outside of the normal servicing schedule.

Halfords service costs and plans   

Halfords Service Centres offer three main types of service: an interim servicea full service and a major service. Each of these can also be bundled in with an MoT at a discounted price and you also have the option of adding on a Premium Service Upgrade where an internal engine cleaner is used and it is refilled with premium Mobil oil. 

Read the full guide on Halfords Servicing

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Ask HJ

Are service plans a good idea?

Are service plans a good idea?
Not unless they specifically include an oil and filter change at least every year or at least every 10,000 miles whichever comes first. Otherwise on a three year plan that costs you maybe £500 you might only get one oil change.
Answered by Honest John
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