Here’s Why Car Servicing Costs So Much

Online Loans

December 4, 2020

$33,750 – is what you’ll pay for an oil & fluid service on some high-end supercars. Suddenly the $600-or-so car servicing you’ve been billed for by Toyota doesn’t seem so bad.

OnlineLoans finds out why car servicing costs so much:

Key Points:
  • Servicing is required to keep warranties valid

  • Australia has guidelines about servicing and car warranties

  • OEM parts often cost more

  • Most mechanics in Australia charge $66 – $88 per hour

  • If your car’s out of warranty, servicing it at home might suit

  • Most cars require major servicing at 100,000km

Firstly, some car servicing background

Car servicing is crucial for several reasons: keeping the manufacturer’s warranty valid, keeping your car in working order and, in some cases, keeping car insurance valid.

It can be a bit confusing – did you know that around 50% of new car owners think that they have to get their car serviced at the dealership? This isn’t true.

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) sets out guidelines for automakers to follow. According to the ACCC, as long as you service the vehicle in accordance with manufacturer requirements, the warranty will remain valid.

In Australia, any qualified mechanic can complete your car servicing and fill out the logbook without voiding your warranty, provided they use the correct parts.

That bumps up the price.


OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts, which are parts made by the vehicle manufacturer, come with a high price tag. For example, things like engine coolant hosing, filters and other components can be significantly more expensive than generic parts – most of which come with their own warranties.

Using generic, non-manufacturer parts can sometimes void warranties. If your car has unique innovative features, it may require special parts.

Dealerships (naturally) don’t mind charging motorists a premium for genuine parts and the ‘genuine labour’ required to install them.

That bumps up the price – even more.


Paying someone to actually do your car servicing is often the biggest chunk of the bill. Most mechanics in Australia charge $66 – $88 per hour. When replacing a hose at the back of the engine, for example, they may have to unbolt several other components in order to get to it. This takes time – and money.

When specialised or certified mechanics are needed for certain things like tuning or diagnostics, costs can rise even further.

If you tell your mechanic that ‘it’s making a weird noise’ when you go in for car servicing, it can take a long time for them to actually locate the cause.

So, a 3-hour job, for example, is already costing $264 without any parts added on.

Backyard Car Servicing

Many motorists prefer carrying out car servicing themselves – the bonus: $0 in labour costs.

Providing the vehicle is out of warranty, can be a great idea. Servicing a new car at home, in the eyes of the manufacturer, is often unqualified car servicing and therefore, voids the warranty.

Another consideration of car servicing at home is resale value. Prospective buyers often want to see a fully maintained logbook with car servicing completed by the manufacturer. Make sure to keep your car’s value high as doing it yourself may deter buyers.

The Almighty 100,000km Timing Belt Service

Most drivers know the major car servicing scheduled when the odometer hits the big 100k. In fact, often used cars for sale around this mark are heavily scrutinised and the service can make all the difference on a final handshake.

  • What is a timing belt?

These can be toothed rubber belts or chains. Their job is the critical task of making sure engines run like clockwork. In other words, the timing belt ensures valves open and close at the right times in addition to synchronising the crankshaft and camshaft.

  • Timing belt car servicing

To access the timing belt, mechanics often need to remove other engine parts, resulting in more labour costs. Timing belts also need to be aligned and set to ‘time’ the engine correctly. If components are out of order, irreparable damage can occur.

  • What happens when a timing belt snaps?

Catastrophic failure. When this happens, the engine’s pistons continue to move up and down without the valves being in the correct position. When fast-moving pistons collide with half open or closed valves, metal is likely to break. This means the engine is riddled with shrapnel, leaving the owner with huge repair bills. Often, cars have deemed a write-off after a timing belt fails.

Car Servicing Conclusion

Although car servicing bills are not nice, the bills for repairs are often much higher. Luckily, drivers can prepare themselves. Have a look at your car’s servicing logbook to find out when the next one is due – they are often based on mileage.

If you’re interested, find out why carbon fibre parts and headlights cost so much.

Do you need a car upgrade? Don’t have a car but need (or want) one?  Get a quick quote to find out what the repayments look like on cars you’re interested in. Apply for a car loan with OnlineLoans today!

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