Vehicle Service Schedules / Access to Manufacturer Information

Given the reduced distance I am driving these days due to Covirus restrictions, I reckon it is pointless thinking about car service every 12 months, just every 10k, which may be every 3 years. Car is past warranty and housed in garage. Service guy says, well oil goes off, or brake fluid absorbs water. I reckon this is just a BS spin to get more servicing work.


Hmmm… I still get mine done every year, at rego time, especially as my car is getting on in years (as am I) and will be replaced with a mobility scooter and Uber. Speaking of which, its almost that time of year again, for me.

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The community has an existing discussion on servicing.

There are increased risks to safety and of vehicle breakdown if a minimum standard of maintenance is not carried out.

As owners we are able to choose to not follow the minimum standard set out by the manufacturer. Australian authorities consider this a risk. They attempt to mitigate it by requiring annual roadworthy inspections. Others only require an inspection on transfer of ownership.

Hopefully the previous discussion is of some assistance.

Note that high temperature brake fluid does absorb water over time. Generic advice, your vehicle manual may differ:


You will see differences of opinion about service intervals in this existing topic.

As @mark_m added, brake fluid absorbs water over time, and that can cause corrosion on components. Brake parts are safety items and not cheap.

Likewise oil can accumulate moisture. Driving short distances is quite hard on it since it does not always get warm enough, long enough to ‘boil’ the moisture out.

The main issue I see is that not all vehicles conform to time, and things needs to be replaced/renewed when they should be replaced/renewed, and it takes a periodic visit to the shop for an assessment.

Compared to the costs of a prematurely worn engine or new brake callipers and cylinders taking care of the vehicle when it needs it is priceless. Are you personally able to distinguish good from polluted brake fluid, or oil that has passed its use by date? Therein lies the real issue, being oversold not just the time or distance scheduling interval.

A money spinner that irritates me are new wiper blades at premium prices, every year at some garages, needed or not, while others wait until they genuinely are nearing or beyond end life.

A trusted garage with long term customers will not often if ever over sell…


Synthetic & Semi-synthetic oils can also degrade beyond adsorbing water. Because of their makeup when used in a car they can turn “sticky” after a while and it feels sort of granular in texture, not good for moving parts. Improvements are being made but keeping a note of the recommended change dates once poured into an engine becomes somewhat important.


Well I am not convinced by anything in this thread that 12 monthly servicing is required as service centers like to put on their stickers. Per kilometer is the guide that should be followed which is what is in my cars owners handbook service schedule. Talk about degrading of various fluids is, I would consider, highly subject to conditions, rather than time.

That’s your decision to make.
Whether it is a wise decision, the vehicle logbook schedules for vehicles typically specify the time or kilometres which ever comes first as theIr recommendation.

What does your insurer have to say?
One thought only,

If the choice is to maintain on kilometres per the scheduled items in the manufacturers maintenance logbook it would be wisdom to advise your service provider at the time of each service. They may offer some alternate recommendations, in particular with respect to lubricants.

One secret with lubricants is to replace then before they have lost any of their properties. Once they are showing signs of degradation it may be too late, and cost significantly more in future damage than the cost of routinely replacing them.


Engine oil oxidises over time.

Oxidation (oil reacting with oxygen/air) can cause an increase in viscosity and the creation of varnish, sludge and sediment. In some cases, additive depletion and a breakdown in the base oil can also occur. The oil can also become more acid causing rust and corrosion can also form within the engine.

It is best to ask when having an oil change the life of the oil (namely, when it will be sufficiently oxidised such that it start to impact on the service life of the motor), and then schedule a service for an oil change around this time. In the past our independent mechanic indicated that this was around 12-18 months in Brisbane, depending on engine load, operating times and mileage. The more engine load, operating times and mileage increases the rate of oxidisation/degradation of the oil.


Thanks for the advice. I’ve never noticed before in my Mazda service schedule but under the line item brake fluid amongst the lots of “I” items it does say “R” every multiple of 4 years or 40k.


Well I’ve just had my little 2002 Ignis in for the service and rego check… yikes… $500 later and another $500 to go in a couple of weeks. Then again, Suzuki parts are always expensive.

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Suzuki dealership, independent such as Ulta Tune, or NRMA?

Times change.

Back home in Qld we only have a choice of several private mechanics. There is a local Burson Auto Parts that caters for more everyday needs. OEM parts need to come from Brisbane. A two bookings outcome. Less likely in the capitals but not unknown.

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NRMA Motorserve on this occasion, but previously a local mechanic who I would stil go to were it not for the fact that he retired and sold the business to the fellow who was his apprentice and whom I never trusted to do a good job.

I sometimes wonder if the place are inflating prices. But how would you know…


We have one charlatan in Cairns that you can trust to always inflate his prices. No doubt involved.

Even when you shop around and find a lower price is it cheaper because the business has good service with lower overhead and margins? Alternately is it just doing the job to a lesser standard and leaving your vehicle at risk?

Finding a reliable independent operator to handle all the basic servicing and minor repairs should be the go. Word of mouth from first hand customers saves a world of grief. The dealers still need to do the warranty failures and recalls.

The dealership service centres have high overheads, employee on-costs, training and technical support equipment. Most are in prime locations which adds a cost factor. They build all those factors into the direct service costs, plus a generous return from the parts profit centre. I can’t offer any evidence of how the margins are managed. Second hand it’s the parts turnover that makes the profit. The margin on the shop floor costs is much less.

It explains why some do it themselves, but still grumble about the cost of specialised parts. Whether those who do also can? No comment. The tractor awaits it’s next service and a small trailer load of transmission oil etc.

We needed to get our Toyota air conditioner repaired while in a New Castle in January. I was surprised to see NRMA pop up when looking through the independent (non dealer) repairers. We arranged a booking for our Qld car at NRMA Kotara and were more than happy with the service, outcome and price.

Yes, thats where I was for my car service. I’ve been going there ever since I had a doubtful job done at the local. I like being able to wait.

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Auto clubs have networks of ‘approved’ repair shops. My experience is a sample of 1. I first patronised them because of their RACV credentials. Over three years I realised they were selling me ‘services’ as hard as any dealer service bay at near similar prices.

I had no gripe with them or their service. The shop was neat, clean, orderly, professional to the Nth, and essentially had the trappings of a dealership excepting for free coffee while waiting. I walk past them often and they are always busy so either there is high satisfaction warranting it, or the customers see RACV and don’t shop around.

However I was not inclined to pay dealership service prices and adhering to logbook schedules to replace this and that whether or not something was needed (well past warranty), to an independent garage. If I wanted that I would have gone to a dealer for the same dollars.

I since found a local garage that charges about 70%, replaces everything needed, nothing not needed, and has provided exemplary service to now 4 family vehicles.


Hi. My Subaru A/C failed and my local mechanic wasn’t able to help, because he needed a wiring diagram to diagnose the fault. Subaru refused to supply one. He told me that this is an issue with some manufacturers, and there is a voluntary code whereby manufacturers should supply this data to independent repairers. I was told some do and some don’t.

So I went hesitantly to the Subaru dealer who diagnosed compressor failure, then when that replacement didn’t work they diagnosed pressure switch, then when that didn’t work they diagnosed control module. So somewhat poorer I diagnosed no confidence in the dealer, now looking to get rid of the car (240,000 k and other issues surfacing).

Anyway my mechanic tells me he thinks the voluntary code will be made mandatory on 1 July and that would bigly :slight_smile: influence my decision whether to buy another Subie or not. I haven’t found anything online about this code of access, or it coming in on 1 July; anyone aware of it?


I think this might be something that currently is being examined ie the Right to Repair.


I found the draft law. It seems my repairer was partly right, and only wrong about the status of the changes. Right to repair information for motor vehicle repairers is on a faster track to the more general inquiry of the productivity commission.

This issue has been bubbling along for a decade, and FCAI issued a voluntary code of practice about access to service and repair information in 2015. Apparently five manufacturers signed up, and Subaru among others wasn’t one of them. My mechanic had a very good handle on which manufacturers provide information and which didn’t, and the practical difficulties in accessing the data provided.

Treasury released an exposure draft of law to provide for the mandatory right to motor vehicle service and repair information and received many industry submissions.

A bill to amend the Competition and Consumer Act was announced and introduced on 24 March 2021, with a 1 July 2022 start date. It’s currently before the House of Representatives. The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills raised some concerns about the bill and has requested a response from the Assistant Treasurer.

The scheme gets a mention in the Budget handed down yesterday; you can find this comment in budget paper No 2.

BlockquoteThe Government will provide $9.9 million over five years from 2020-21 (and $1.2 million per year ongoing) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to support the implementation of the Mandatory Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Scheme.
Funding for this measure has already been provided for by the Government.

Cheers skip


Hopefully it comes to the boil and we get something worthwhile out of the pot.

I recently replaced the drive belt to the AC pump on the Toyota. Zero help in the owners manual. There are a number of YouTube clips on how to on line. No advice on how to check the tension is correct from either source.

Perhaps Toyota decided the task would only ever be performed in a Toyota workshop. Due to poor accessibility and a need for 2 double jointed elbows on each arm. With patience, a selection of 3/8” and 1/2” drive extensions and universal couplings with short or long metric sockets, it is possible at home.

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