New Car Cost Guide – Don’t Forget Servicing!

Car manufacturers know that no-one likes paying for car servicing.  It’s a necessary evil after the purchase of a car!  Not so long ago each dealer could charge whatever they wanted to for servicing, and if you didn’t shop around you could end up paying a lot more than you needed to.  The mystery that used to surround the cost of car servicing has been removed over the last few years and now most car manufacturers can supply you with a schedule of service costs for at least some part of the life of your new car.  Servicing charges should be included with any new car cost guide because it is a major and ongoing part of the cost of your new vehicle.

After all, if there are 2 very similar cars that you’ve narrowed your search down to and one of them costs you hundreds of dollars less in servicing over the first 5 years of ownership, it could certainly sway your decision!NZew Car Cost Guide - Servicing

Compare Service Costs and Frequency

As well as knowing what charges you are up for during the life of the car, this also gives the opportunity to compare the cost and frequency of servicing your car as part of the research before you buy.

Why would you do this?  Apart from variation in the cost of the servicing, there is big variation in how often you need to get a car serviced.  While Mazda, Subaru and Hyundai have servicing every 12 months, Honda and many Toyota’s require 6 monthly servicing.  If it’s inconvenient for you to get your car to the dealership, or to be without your car, then having to take your car in for servicing twice as often could have a big impact on your purchasing decisions.  Because of this I’ve given a summary below of the car service interval (how often you have to take it in for service) and also the period of capped price servicing available.

Capped Price Servicing

Capped price servicing (CPS) is now offered by most of the big selling brands.  This sets a maximum amount that a dealer can charge for each type of service through some period of the vehicle’s life.  It can be for 3,5 or 6 years or even for the full life of the vehicle.  The schedule gives the number of months or kilometres between different services, and you get it done when you reach one of those markers.

There are different Capped Price Servicing arrangements depending on the make and model of the car.  So, for example, Mazda offer CPS for all current models for the lifetime of the car; while Holden offers it on all models for 3 years or 60,000km (whichever comes first); and Ford on all vehicles built since 2007 for up to 7 years or 135,000km.

But What Does ‘Capped Price Servicing’ Cover?

Of course CPS doesn’t cover everything that you might need to replace or repair on your car.  The things that are NOT included in the CPS generally includes replacing tyres, wheel alignments, replacement of fuses, wiper blades, brake pads and discs, batteries and any other ‘normal wear and tear’ things; crash repairs or fixing any parts that you added to the car after purchase.  They DO include labour and parts specified in the service schedule.  Check the fine print for whether they include fluids like coolant, brake fluid and oil because this varies between service agreements.  Often you will find the details in the list of the service schedule where they say ‘Inspect’ wipers, brake pads, fluid levels and filters rather than ‘Replace’.Capped Price Servicing No Tyres

Servicing For Time or Kilometres?

They provide a time and kilometre guide for servicing because if you don’t drive your car very far, or very often, you should go with servicing by the months guide.  If you do a lot of driving you will be using the kilometre guide.  So whichever one you reach first, months or kilometres, that’s when you should take your vehicle in for a service according to the manufacturers.

Capped Price Servicing Offers:

Here’s a summary of some of the servicing offers of popular makes.  Things can change though, so make sure you check with the manufacturer for specifics on the model you are looking at buying.

Subaru – their capped price servicing is for 3 Years/75,000km (for the BRZ it is 3 year/60,000km)  They include all oils and fluids and the environmental levy. Their service interval is 12 months/12,500km.

Holden – you can find out the cost of the next scheduled service for every Holden ever built since 1948!  Their service intervals are every 9 months or 15,000km.Cost of Servicing EH Holden


Volkswagon – their schedule is every 12 months/15,000km and the calculator on their website gives you the price of the standard scheduled services for the first 6 services up to 90,000km.

Mercedes Benz (except Smart) has capped price servicing for the first 3 services.

Kia – 7 year capped price servicing, which matches their 7 year warranty period.  Their website gives online quotes for the next service.

Mazda servicing is due every 12 months/10,000km. They give capped price servicing for the full life of the car. You can go to the Mazda website, type in your registration or VIN and it will give the price of your service.

Hyundai are offering their Lifetime Service Plan which is due every 12 months/15,000km. On their website you can enter your car Model, Year, engine size and transmission type and it will give you the nearest 3 maintenance schedules.

Toyota – their Toyota Service Advantage covers the first 3 or 4 years (depending on the model you buy). The service interval depends on the model but as a guide most vehicles are every 6 months/10,000km, increasing to 9 months/15,000km for the Camry and Aurion.

Mitsubishi –their service interval is 12 months/15,000km and their Capped Price Servicing Program runs for up to 3 years.

Honda – their Tailored Service Program has a service interval of 6 months/10,000km and their Service Price Guide gives a 5 year list of the required services and the Service Price with a list of ‘Adaptive Items’ that come at an additional cost.  These items include the pollen filter, brake fluid, and fuel filter ($206 every 80,000km).Honda CRV Servicing

Ford – their service interval is 12 months/15,000km and their Service Price Promise covers all vehicles built since 2007 for the life of the vehicle.  You can enter the Year, Model, Style and Engine on their website and it will give you the details of the required service.  It gives the Standard Service Price and then prices for additional service items such as Brake Fluid replacement (every 2 years), coolant replacement (every 10 years or 240,000km) and Timing Belt and/or Drivebelt (every 195,000km).  It also gives you a printable quote for your next service which is valid for 30 days.

Nissan – their capped price servicing covers the first 6 years/120,000km and the service interval is 6 months/10,000km.

There are a couple of other servicing arrangements available that you might be interested in:

Pre-paid servicing

This tends to be offered by luxury car manufacturers.  This locks in the pricing at the time of purchasing the car, but can mean that you have to go to a particular car dealership for the servicing.  It is paid for at the same time as purchasing the car, or any time up to the first scheduled service. For example, BMW offer prepaid servicing on certain models for 5 years/80,000km, Audi offers prepaid for some models for 3 years or 45,000km, and Mercedes Benz up to 5 years or 125,000km.

With the pre-paid plans, some of them will also include the ‘normal wear and tear’ items that can be additional costs with the Capped Price Servicing.

Free Servicing

Sounds like a dream come true right? There are a couple of manufacturers offering free servicing! If your budget stretches to them, Ferrari offers free servicing for 7 years on all current models; and Jaguar offers free servicing for 3 years or 100,000km on certain models.Ferrari Free Servicing

There’s an incredible amount of variation in how often you need to take your new car in for servicing, and in whether you can get a quote for the Capped Price Service through the life of your car.  Then there is variation in the actual cost for individual services.  Be sure to think about this when buying a new car just so you don’t get a surprise 6-12 months down the track when your first service is due!

I remember when I had my first car, a little hatchback, and I took it in for a service and was charged over $1000!  They saw me coming and insisted I needed new tyres and everything else they could possibly do to it.  Hopefully you haven’t had an experience like that but if you have I’d love to hear about it. I wonder whether Capped Price Servicing would have reduced the cost of my $1,000 service?

6 Replies to “New Car Cost Guide – Don’t Forget Servicing!

  1. Hi Rachel,

    What a great article! Servicing is probably the single biggest thing that people tend to overlook when they buy a new car.

    I recently bought a new motorcycle and was shocked at the cost of the services. The moral of that story is that one should always ask about the cost of services up front. That could make or break the deal.

    Thanks again –

    1. Hi Steve,

      Yes it can be a nasty surprise if you haven’t checked the price of servicing, and how often you have to get it done, when buying a new car or motorbike. It’s not generally something that we think about though when we’re shopping around. I think there is a belief that servicing is pretty much the same for all cars, except maybe luxury cars when we’d expect that any replacement parts are going to be expensive because they’re fully imported.

      But servicing costs vary quite a lot and so do the service schedules – definitely something we all need to be aware of when shopping for a new vehicle.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!


  2. I own a 2007 Toyota Aurion which I bought 2nd hand over seven years ago and according to my handbook, I should get it serviced every 12 mths/15,000 km, which I do as I feel that’s very important.

    I haven’t always had my car serviced at the dealership, but in the last few years I have. There is no cap price servicing on my vehicle, so the annual cost of servicing the car can vary considerably depending on what needs to be done.

    This has been an expensive exercise but there has been some good trade-offs which have really made it good sense to get my car serviced at the dealership.

    About 18 months ago, a friend at work said I had oil leaking from my car, I decided to take it to the dealership which was close by.

    They told me it was a leaking oil hose but amazingly there was a recall on that particular hose which I knew nothing about. This was very timely and they fixed it up for free which was great.

    Last year I got my dashboard replaced as they were doing a recall on them, my dashboard was looking very yucky and it was very sticky, so I covered it up with a mat.

    They contacted me to bring the car in and get it replaced which I was very happy about and again I didn’t have to pay for it.

    I think they have helped me out because I’ve been a regular customer, so this has been a very good experience with a dealership which has really surprised me.

    1. Hi Adrian,

      That’s great that you’ve had such good experiences with using a dealership for servicing. I find that they really come into their own when it comes to recalls – any repair you can get done for free is fantastic! And when it coincides with you having a problem , like your oil leak, – even better! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Rachel, great page with loads of things for people to think of when buying a new car. I purchased a new Toyota Yaris 18 months ago. I had the first 2 10,000 km services done slightly earlier than recommended and found the service charges very reasonable. It is also a very fuel efficient car. I am due to have the next service at 26,000 km but because of work commitments, I may need to wait till 28,000+ km. What are your thoughts of waiting 12,000+ km between services on the 2014 Yaris? Thanks, Steve.

    1. Hi Steve,

      It sounds like you’re far too efficient with getting your car serviced!! Most people I speak to only notice that their car needs servicing when they get a reminder letter from the dealership so congratulations on planning ahead for your services.

      The service interval on your Toyota Yaris is every 6 months or 10,000km so I assume that you are travelling 10,000km before you reach the end of the 6 month period? So your last service was done at 16,000km and that makes the next one at 26,000km?

      Given that the average Australian driver drives 14,600km per year (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics) you’re doing a lot more than that. If you’re doing a lot of short distance journeys, so you’re stopping and starting a lot, it’s hard work on your engine. That’s because the engine doesn’t get up to and maintain it’s optimal operating temperature so it doesn’t burn off the combustion by-products and these accumulate in the system. The oil can then be less efficient in lubricating the system and this leads to wear and tear.

      If you’re using the same dealership for servicing, so they have your car’s maintenance history, I would give them a call and check whether they have any concerns with you delaying the service. The service intervals are based on maintaining optimum performance of your car so a short delay in servicing shouldn’t cause problems. That said, there might be particular checks or replacements at this next service (and this can depend on your service history) that shouldn’t be delayed. Either way, it’s worth asking the experts so you have peace of mind about delaying the service!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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