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Old 28th November 2011, 21:17   #1
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Default Servicing the car : Before OR After the journey?

Not sure where to post this question so Mods please shift where you consider appropriate.

Basically the question is, when a car is just due for service and you are due to take a trip (e.g. approx. 1000-1500 km), is it best to get the car serviced before the trip if it is not giving any trouble, or after?

I have generally been following the practice of getting the car serviced on the dot when it is due, and often enough this has fallen just before a longish journey. In fact I would even make an effort to do so to ensure the car did not give me any trouble on the way.

However recently some friends have suggested that it would be better to get the servicing done after a trip, i.e. postpone the servicing, as the engine, air filter, oil etc. get very dirty on our roads (I do travel on what are not the best roads).

So what do the gurus here say?

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Old 28th November 2011, 21:24   #2
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Well, I would go for a general checkup to check if every thing is OK for the journey and then give the vehicle for service after the trip is over.

This is exactly what I did for my HYD trip. Car was due for 15K voluntary oil change, I completed the HYD trip and then went in for the oil change.
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Old 28th November 2011, 21:29   #3
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Isn't it logical to have your vehicle at it's best when you are going on a long trip; that too 1500kms.

On long trips, you are on highways, in the middle of nowhere for a major part of the journey and even while in cities, in almost unfamililar territory. What do you do if you've a breakdown - inconvenience galore!

You need to have your car thoroughly checked and serviced before a long journey.

If the journey has been demanding on the vehicle - bad roads, extreme driving conditions, you can have it checked once you're back.

On a recent trip to Valley of Flowers, I had my Honda City go in for a premature routine service. Since the trip wasn't a smooth journey for the car - bad roads, underbelly scraping etc., I took it to Honda once we were back for a check.

Air filter, fuel filter will not be new forever - does it mean, you never change them at all?!
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Old 28th November 2011, 21:38   #4
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Q:
Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Isn't it logical to have your vehicle at it's best when you are going on a long trip; that too 1500kms.
A:
Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 View Post
a general checkup to check if every thing is OK for the journey and then give the vehicle for service after the trip is over.
+1

If you want to service it before the trip, do it at least 1 week - 10 days before the trip. Use that time to check for any problems / work not completed during service.
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Old 28th November 2011, 21:55   #5
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

If its a TATA product or vehicles serviced by TATA its best to service the car after the journey because it is the service center that is liable to murder the car than any journey ever can.

For all other automobiles its best to checkup the vehicle at least a week before the journey since you might have a TATA trained personal recently having taken up a transfer at a non TATA service center. Old habits die hard. Check ups are best done at your local neighborhood mechanic. Mechanic employee retention rate at authorized service centers are pathetic especially the good ones who start their own enterprise in a partnership once they are well versed in their field.

Fluid changes can be undertaken after the journey; as its stop and go traffic that harms the mechanicals than continuous long drives that you will be undertaking in a long journey.

Tire check and brake check is a must before a long journey as its the small contact patch that decides your fate in most cases.
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Old 28th November 2011, 22:07   #6
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Do not miss your service times whether it is before or after a long trip. I can agree if you postpone it if it falls in between your trip, but never before a trip. If the engine oil has to be replaced, do it at all counts, no matter if your trip is 200kms or 2000kms.
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Old 28th November 2011, 22:40   #7
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Thanks for all the feedback! But as expected the views are kind of contradictory.

My problem is that I now have to go on the trip this Thursday, back on Sunday, and car has reached 55,000 km today. I too never like to get my car serviced a day before a trip as I also feel that problems can show up after servicing. My trip should hopefully not exceed 1000 km and I have an Innova, but am torn because barring some emergency I am religious about getting the service done on time.

drpullockaran I am sorry - you seem to have had very bad experiences with TATA


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Old 28th November 2011, 22:59   #8
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

IMO,if you car is due for major service,say the 40k or 80k service, then it would be wise to get the service done a week or two earlier and run it before the long drive.

Else, a express check up should suffice.
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Old 29th November 2011, 06:23   #9
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlinestuffa View Post
Thanks for all the feedback! But as expected the views are kind of contradictory.

My problem is that I now have to go on the trip this Thursday, back on Sunday, and car has reached 55,000 km today. I too never like to get my car serviced a day before a trip as I also feel that problems can show up after servicing. My trip should hopefully not exceed 1000 km and I have an Innova, but am torn because barring some emergency I am religious about getting the service done on time.

drpullockaran I am sorry - you seem to have had very bad experiences with TATA


OS
General checkup , complete the trip and give it to the service center. As you say trip distance is not more than 1000km, Innova shouldnt complain.
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Old 29th November 2011, 06:42   #10
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

On a side note - Do not check tyre pressure just before starting a long journey. A day or two before is best.

I know this may run against common wisdom but consider: When you check tyre pressure the chances of valve seat leakage are always there. Especially if any dust particle gets struck on the seat. You will only realize this once you are on way. Checking it a day or so before lets you know if this is happening. I know of many people who checked pressure midway through journey just for sake of it. And promptly had a flat some distance later.
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Old 29th November 2011, 07:24   #11
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

i would simply follow the manufacturer's recommended service intervals and get all the relevant jobs done maybe just a bit before the recommended mileage reading is done- this way I can go where I like, when I like. the point about tyre pressures raised by Sudev is an excellent one - when on long drives in a warm country like ours, the tyre pressures tend to increase. hence it is better to ensure the tyres have the right pressure in them atleast the previous night, before a journey. its also good to do a quick check of the vehicle essentials, oil levels, brake fluid levels, coolant levels and window washer levels etc before buzzing off on a journey.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 29th November 2011 at 07:25.
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Old 29th November 2011, 09:36   #12
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

IMO , depending on many factors like

Destination : if its remote location where finding an A.S.S is difficult, then its better to get the vehicle checked thoroughly before the journey. I am also in the opinion that at it should be done at least a week before the journey as any tweaking issues post service can be addressed.

Distance - if the distance travelling is more than the schedule old/filter change then is always better to get it done.

Co-passengers - if you are travelling with family and kids, then take no chance, the car should be in pristine condition other wise it will spoil your trip.
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Old 29th November 2011, 09:43   #13
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

I would consider opting to get the vehicle serviced after a long trip equivalent to changing worn out tyres after a monsoon - which is still a very prevalent culture in our country

Preventive maintenance should be done on or before the scheduled timing and not after.
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Old 29th November 2011, 09:58   #14
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

as suggested by many, its always best to get the car serviced at least 1 week or 10 days before the trip to avoid anything unexpected to happen (mainly to get noticed of unfinished jobs by the service guys). If you don't have this minimum 1 week time, then I would suggest the service to be carried out after the journey, but again depends on to where the journey is.

Edit: I had an experience where the service guys had forgot to fasten the clamps for the air filter on my old Wagon-R, and I noticed it the evening before the long trip. I know this is a very small thing from the service guys view, but anything could happen while on the highway especially cruising at 80+ speeds. Since then I made it a habit to open the hood and observe for any unfinished jobs, that I can find.

Last edited by rishie : 29th November 2011 at 10:01.
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Old 29th November 2011, 10:22   #15
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Default Re: Servicing car best before or after journey?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlinestuffa View Post
...is it best to get the car serviced before the trip if it is not giving any trouble, or after?
What exactly do you mean by "serviced"?

Most A.S.S. do a water wash & oil + filter change during the session that you know as "service", and you are out of there.

I would suggest a CHECKUP rather than a service before you set off on a roadtrip - things like
  • Is there any oil leak inside the engine bay or under the car?
  • Are the engine and suspension nuts & bolts all well-tightened?
  • Do brake pads have enough material?
  • Is the clutch going to give up shortly (very applicable when headed to the mountains)?
  • Is there any strange rattle? any grinding noise from wheel bearings?
  • Are the drive belts / fan belts frayed or old with risk of failure?
  • Are tyres fine? Do they wobble? Any nicks/cuts on the walls (both inside and outside)? Alignment & balancing ok?
These are things that an A.S.S. does not usually have the time to do, and is best done by a competent FNG / mechanic who is familiar with your model of car.

And the FNG is a lot less expensive too!

Related links:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/owning...road-trip.html (ARTICLE: Preparation for an Indian Road Trip).
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ong-drive.html (A Guide on Essentials of a Long Drive)

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 29th November 2011 at 10:24.
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