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How Long Does a Car Service Take?

How Long Does It Take To Service A Car?

| by Michelle Yang, Esq.

Regular car service is a good way to run checks and maintenance on your vehicle to boost performance, safety, and durability. A well-maintained car not only runs more efficiently but also reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns, ultimately saving both time and money.

How long a car service takes depends on various factors, from the type of service to the complexity of the fixes. On average, a basic car service may take about half an hour to two hours while a full service may take up to two to five hours, depending on the amount of work it requires.

If your car still experiences steady problems despite regular services, your car might be a lemon. Thankfully, you can leverage the California Lemon Law to get a refund, replacement, or compensation if your car is a lemon. Book a free consultation with our experts at Cali Lemon Lawyers to evaluate your car and help you get the compensation you deserve.

In this article, you’ll learn what a car service is, the factors that influence how long it takes, and how to prepare your car for service.

Top 7 Factors That Can Influence Car Service Duration

Top 7 Factors That Can Influence Car Service Duration

From the type of service to the expertise of the service provider, the duration of a car service depends on many factors. For instance, cars with low mileage may have less wear and tear due to less frequent usage, and expert technicians may take less time to fix a car problem than newbies. 

Hence, you need to understand these factors to help you know what to expect and make informed decisions. The factors include:

1. Type of Service

A full car service usually takes longer than a basic service because it involves more processes and complexities. Also, specific instructions or additional requests from the car owner, such as additional inspections, adjustments, or specific checks, may prolong the service.

2. Vehicle Make and Model

The design and components of cars vary across different brands and models. Difference in vital parts such as engine, size, and type of materials can affect the amount of time it takes to service vehicles.

Also, the class of a car may influence its usage, which in turn influences the type and frequency of service it needs over time.  For example, car models for regular usage, such as the Toyota Camry or Honda Civic, usually require routine servicing every 5000 to 7500 miles. Off-road vehicles such as Jeep Wrangler may require more intense servicing since they’re used for more rugged activities. 

3. Efficiency of the Service Center

Mechanized car maintenance solutions offer more precise and robust services compared to traditional mechanics in terms of detecting and diagnosing faults, precise prescriptions of replacement parts, efficient service tools, good working environment, etc. So, auto repair shops that are well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities are likely to service your car faster and more efficiently. 

4. Skill and Expertise of the Technician

Skill and Expertise of the Technician

How long a service takes also depend on the expertise of the technician. Experienced technicians are more knowledgeable and organized. So, they may be more efficient, accurate, and timely in both diagnosis and fixes.

For instance, dealership service centers often employ technicians who are specifically trained and certified by the vehicle manufacturer. These technicians have in-depth knowledge of the brand’s models, technologies, and service procedures. Dealership service centers also have direct access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

On the other hand, independent mechanics may have the flexibility to tailor services to specific customer needs, but they may not have as much expertise as dealership service center technicians.

5. Scheduled Maintenance vs. Unscheduled Repairs

Car service usually takes less time when you plan and schedule the routine maintenance ahead of time. Contrarily, unexpected repairs resulting from sudden breakdowns can extend the duration as technicians try to figure out what to do.

6. Availability of Spare Parts

Some car brands are more common than others in different places. The more popular a car brand/model is, the easier it is to get the spare parts and technicians for the car in that location. If replacement parts are required, waiting for parts to arrive may prolong the overall service time.

For instance, Toyota was the best-selling car brand in California and second leading car brand in the United States in 2022. So, it will be easier to get affordable Toyota spare parts and technicians for necessary repairs in California than for other car brands.

7. Vehicle Condition

Cars in good shape require less time than others in bad working conditions. The healthier the car, the less time it takes to service it.

Why Should You Get Your Car Serviced?

Why Should You Get Your Car Serviced?

A car service refers to a series of maintenance procedures performed on a vehicle at specific intervals or based on its mileage. Like other devices and machines, cars experience wear and tear over time as you drive them. 

To help your car last long and improve its general performance, you must identify and handle potential issues, replace bad parts, and keep to the manufacturer’s recommendations. So, the primary goal of car service is to make sure that the vehicle operates efficiently, safely, and reliably.

Types of Car Services

From routine inspections to more extensive car repairs, servicing a car involves a range of tasks that vary in complexity, cost, and required expertise. Here’s a summary of the different types of car services. 

Basic Service

Basic service involves routine maintenance checks and replacements that are necessary to keep a car in good working condition. It is the most fundamental level of service. Typically, a basic service includes an oil and oil filter change, air filter check, checking and topping up other fluids such as brake fluid and steering fluid, brake checks, and assessing basic vehicle systems.

Types of Car Services

Full Service

A full service, sometimes called a major service, is a more thorough check and maintenance of a car’s components. It goes beyond routine maintenance to identifying and correcting potential issues before they escalate into serious problems. While the exact services in a full service may vary across different auto shops, a typical full service covers the checks and maintenance of the 

  • Fuel system
  • Brake system
  • Suspension and steering
  • Battery and charging system
  • Exhaust
  • Wheel balancing and alignment
  • Drive belt
  • Tire rotation and maintenance
  • Electrical system

How To Prepare for Your Car Service

To be sure your car service does not take more time than necessary, here are some steps you can take to get ready for your car service. 

  • Review your vehicle’s service history. Technicians need to understand the previous issues and repairs.
  • Communicate your concerns and expectations clearly to the auto mechanic or service advisor.
  • Bring relevant documents, such as your vehicle’s warranty, owner’s manual, registration documents, and insurance to speed up administrative processes.
  • Remove personal items before leaving with the technician. This enhances easy access for the technicians and keeps your valuables safe.
  • The technician should vehicle inspection to assess the current condition of the vehicle.
  • Check for recalls or service bulletins related to your car.
  • Some services may require test driving. So, have enough fuel and note your mileage before and after servicing.
  • If necessary, make arrangements for alternative means of transport while your car is serviced.
  • Confirm and set realistic expectations for wait times and plan accordingly with activities such as bringing a book or electronic device.
  • Verify appointment details such as the date, time, and location of your service appointment.

How To Prepare for Your Car Service

Know your Rights!

When you take your vehicle for service or repairs, being aware of your rights is essential. As per the California Automotive Repair Act, you have several entitlements:

Receiving an Estimate: Before starting any repair work, the auto shop is required to give you an estimate. This estimate should detail the expected cost of parts and labor, and they must get your approval before proceeding.

Getting an Invoice: Once the repairs are completed, the auto shop must provide you with an invoice. This invoice should list the actual cost of parts and labor.

Requesting Replaced Parts: If any parts are replaced in your vehicle, you have the right to ask the shop to return these parts to you. Remember to make this request before you agree to the repair estimate.


The time it takes to service a car depends on various factors as discussed in this article. However, if you’re still experiencing issues with your car even after a series of services, your car may be a lemon.

And if you’re looking for experienced lemon lawyers in Los Angeles, Riverside, and other places within California, reach out to us today to evaluate your case and get the compensation you deserve.

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Consumer protection laws in California and nationwide actively protect buyers of vehicles and other consumer goods. They hold a particular importance when purchasing or leasing a new vehicle. The California Lemon Law grants legal rights to those who find themselves with a vehicle that continually fails to function properly, providing a pathway to seek resolution and potential compensation.

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