Inspection and maintenance: what every car owner should know

If you want to keep the residual value of your car as high as possible, you go to the inspection with the car according to the specifications in the checkbook. However, these and maintenance also ensure that road safety is maintained, an even more important aspect. What actually happens to the car during inspection and maintenance, and what are the differences between inspections??

The most important facts in a nutshell

  • The inspection not only secures the value of the car, it primarily serves the purpose of road safety.
  • New cars must be inspected after no more than 1.500 kilometers to the inspection to remove possible metal abrasion from the oil.
  • The small inspection usually refers to an oil change and checking the parts with increased wear and tear.
  • Inspections can also be carried out by independent specialist workshops, a commitment to the manufacturer is only justified in the case of leased vehicles.

What is the purpose of car maintenance?

A car consists of numerous parts that are subject to wear and tear. This includes, for example, the brakes. Worn brakes, in the worst case down to the brake discs, mean that the car can no longer be slowed down or brought to a standstill properly. The risk of accidents increases.

Other parts, such as oil filters, do not directly affect the road safety of the car. But they affect the life of the engine. Dirty oil filters adversely affect the optimal oil supply and can even lead to piston seizure.

During the actual inspection, the car is checked for possible defects. Maintenance, as the second step in the "inspection", ensures the road safety of the car and a longer service life.

Are there consequences if I do not drive the car regularly for inspection??

This question must be considered from two points of view. On the one hand, there are consequences in terms of the car's road safety, and on the other hand, in terms of residual value and service life. A well-maintained car will always show fewer signs of failure than a vehicle that has never seen the inside of a workshop. Not to mention road safety, because underinflated tires are just as dangerous as a steering wheel with too much play.

On the other hand, with a new car there are possible warranty claims against the manufacturer. If there is a defect and the owner cannot prove that he has complied with the inspection intervals, he loses the claims. In the context of a leasing contract he is even guilty of breach of contract, since he is instructed to keep the intervals at all costs. After all, it is not his car.

What happens during the inspection?

As part of the inspection, the car is checked for proper functioning. There is a lamp test, the windshield wipers are checked, the brake pads, the oil filters, the interior air filters, the play of the axles, in short, everything.

The goal of the inspection is to find out if the actual condition of the car matches the target condition. If there are deviations, the maintenance takes effect. Basically, depending on the mileage, maintenance work is always carried out, for example an oil change.

Which maintenance intervals are recommended?

The maintenance intervals depend on the manufacturer and vehicle type. Since the wear of certain parts depends on the mileage, the maintenance intervals are usually specified in kilometers, supplemented by the addition of "once a year" or "every two years". Usually, the maintenance intervals are 15.000 kilometers or 30.000 kilometers. Not every component of a car is changed every 15.000 kilometers checked. More and more cars use sensor monitoring of individual assemblies. Based on this, information is provided in the display, for example, when the brakes need to be replaced.

Major and minor inspections – the difference

The minor inspection focuses on an oil change. It also includes a check of the parts with a possible high wear, for example brakes. The minor inspection is usually carried out every 15 years.000 kilometers necessary. Compliance is recommended to ensure that the engine oil is always of the best possible quality.

The major inspection, which occurs at longer-term intervals, includes

  • Engine
  • Exhaust system
  • Gearbox
  • Axles
  • Bodywork
  • Electrical system
  • Wheels and tires

On the bodywork, for example, it is checked whether possible rust has affected load-bearing frame parts.

When does a new car have to be inspected for the first time??

This question cannot be answered in a general way, as it depends on the manufacturer. Usually, the first inspection of a new car takes place after 1.000 or 1.500 kilometers instead of.

It serves to ascertain that the car really is in perfect working order. Some parts in the mechanical segment have to "break in" before they can be tested for proper operation.

Particularly in the engine area, there is increased wear at the start, for example on the piston rings. This accumulates in the oil and can cause engine damage in the medium term. For this reason, the early first oil change is very important. However, the initial inspection also includes a check of all screw connections. It's not for nothing that you should retighten the bolts after changing the wheels after 50 to 100 kilometers.

Can I freely choose the workshop?

Court rulings have repeatedly confirmed that an inspection can be carried out by a specialist workshop. The requirement to visit a workshop of the manufacturer is not given.

However, this does not apply to leased vehicles. The lessor is entitled to name a specific workshop that can carry out the inspection. However, the term of the authorized workshop usually applies. If you buy your car in Munich but live in Hamburg, you will hardly go back to Bavaria for an inspection.

What costs do I have to expect for the inspection??

This question cannot be answered universally either. The costs depend on which maintenance work has to be carried out. A minor inspection costs between 200 and 400 euros, while a major inspection is considerably more expensive.

However, a distinction must also be made as to where the inspections are carried out. Large workshop chains offer more favorable prices than the manufacturer's authorized workshop. Independent, small workshops can also carry out the inspection without losing warranty claims and usually also calculate with lower hourly rates. In the case of spare parts, they also often do not use the part with the company logo on the packaging, but so-called "white goods". For example, for the Volvo 760 GLE, the much cheaper VW parts could be used in the engine, since the engine was identical in construction to that of the VW bus. Volkswagen products are mass-produced by third parties and are also sold without a name.

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