How long does scheduled car maintenance take

12 minute read Published on Oct 12, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

High Angle View Of A Mechanic Standing Near A Red Car Writing On Clipboard In Garage

Car maintenance is crucial if you want to ensure that your vehicle is not only safe to drive but that it also runs as efficiently and reliably as possible. Experts typically recommend that auto maintenance be performed yearly or every 20,000 kilometres whichever comes first, but what does it involve and how long does it take? These are the questions we answer today.

How long does a car maintenance appointment take?

Vehicle maintenance appointments vary in length depending on the auto body shop or mechanic performing the service, the make and model of your vehicle, as well as what specific services are included in the appointment.

However, generally speaking, you can expect car maintenance to take between three and five hours. Basic service appointments consisting of topping up fluids, checking tire pressure, cleaning the interior of the vehicle, and an oil and filter inspection shouldn’t take too long.

Conversely, detailed service appointments, such as those involving balancing and aligning the wheels, are likely to take longer. It is worth noting that if a major issue is discovered during the car maintenance appointment, then it may take additional time if the mechanic attempts to repair the issue.

One way to determine how long a car maintenance appointment will take is to look up the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific car.

Manufacturers typically release maintenance schedules unique to each model of car, featuring information like how often the oil and filters should be changed or the timing belt and brake system should be replaced.

For instance, oil and filters usually only need changing every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres, whereas replacing your car’s timing belt or brake system typically only needs to be done every 100,000 kilometres.

Thus, the maintenance schedule can reveal what sort of services your car is due for, which in turn, will help you determine how long the maintenance appointment will take.

How long does an oil change take?

Oil changes are one of the quickest car maintenance services that a mechanic will perform. An oil change will usually only take 20 or 30 minutes from start to finish.

How long does it take to rotate tires?

Tire rotations, which are designed to prevent uneven wear, usually take an hour to complete. Please note that it’s best to hire a mechanic to rotate your tires for you.

Although you might be tempted to rotate your tires yourself, getting them into the correct position can be difficult, especially for directional tires.

How long does it take to change the brakes?

The amount of time it takes to change the brakes on a vehicle varies considerably. In some cases, it can take as little as 15 or 20 minutes. However, in others, it can take hours.

If a mechanic is simply replacing the brake pads, the job will likely be quick. However, if they discover a problem when swapping the pads, such as snapped bolts, seized calipers, or corroded brake lines, a quick job can turn into a long one.

What is car maintenance?

Car maintenance is a routine service that involves having a professional mechanic inspect and maintain your vehicle to ensure everything is working as it should be.

During an inspection, a mechanic will examine various aspects of your car, from the brakes and fluid levels to the wheels and tires.

The purpose of car maintenance is not only to ensure your vehicle is functioning correctly but also to make it more efficient, to catch any issues early on, and to ultimately increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

What services does car maintenance include?

Maintaining your car year-round is critical, especially given the many important services that car maintenance appointments include. Whether your maintenance appointment is part of your winter car maintenance routine or your summer car maintenance routine, you can expect the following services to be a part of it:

  • Radiator and vacuum hose inspection
  • Brake pad inspection
  • Air and fuel filter replacement
  • Suspension inspection
  • Fluid top ups
  • Tire rotation

Please note that it is up to each auto body shop to determine what is included in their car maintenance services. Thus, if you aren’t sure what’s included, it’s best to ask upfront. You can then compare what you get for the price between different auto body shops in your area to decide which one offers the most competitive and comprehensive car maintenance service.

Factors affecting the duration of a car service

A number of factors can impact how long it takes for your car to be serviced. They include the following:

Vehicle make and model

The make and model of your car can affect the length of your service appointment. Put simply, some cars are built more basically than others.

For example, European cars, especially German cars, have a reputation for using complex mechanicals and technologies. This can make not only repairing but also diagnosing problems with German-made cars more difficult and time-consuming.

If you have a European car, we recommend calling around to auto body shops in your area to find out which have experience repairing similar cars to yours. If a mechanic has already serviced the make or model of the car you drive, the service appointment is likely to be quicker.

The types of repairs needed

Some car repairs are more complex than others. For example, air conditioning condenser leaks, suspension repairs, power steering repairs, and a hydrolocking engine can all take far longer to fix than more basic repairs. Thus, the length of your car service appointment will depend on what needs to be done to get your car in working order.

The condition of your vehicle

Lastly, the condition of your vehicle is another factor that can influence how long it will take a mechanic to service your car. It likely goes without saying, but a car in excellent condition is likely to take less time to service than one in poor condition.

How to avoid a long car maintenance appointment

The best way to avoid a long car maintenance appointment is to have your vehicle maintained annually. By sticking to this expert recommendation, or the recommendation set by the manufacturer of your vehicle, you can catch any issues early and avoid a lengthy appointment that involves major repairs.

How often should car maintenance appointments be scheduled?

Experts recommend that car maintenance appointments be scheduled yearly or every 20,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. That said, it is best to consult your owner’s manual to find out the manufacturer's recommendation.

Each manufacturer usually publishes a recommended car maintenance schedule for every model of vehicle they sell. This schedule will be very detailed, outlining how frequently different types of services, such as tire rotations and oil changes, should be performed.

It is also good practice to have your car serviced before a major trip. For other car maintenance tips for your road trip and safe driving tips, contact BrokerLink.

Finally, it is worth noting that although the owner’s manual is a great place to look when figuring out how often to service your car, some cars may require a customized maintenance schedule. This is because other factors beyond a car’s make and model can contribute to its need to be serviced.

Certain driving habits or other environmental factors might necessitate more frequent trips to the auto body shop. For example, drivers who often find themselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic may need to have their brakes inspected more often.

If you think that you may need to create a customized maintenance schedule for your car, contact a licensed mechanic or auto body shop near you and ask for a professional opinion. You can inform them about your driving habits and from there, they can help you come up with a tailor-made plan.

The most common types of car maintenance

To give you even more insight into the car maintenance process, the BrokerLink team breaks down a few of the most common forms of vehicle maintenance below:


Oil is one of the most important fluids in your car. It is responsible for keeping your engine running. Thus, one of the most common problems is that the oil, which your car engine breaks down, becomes too thin and cannot properly lubricate the engine.

This causes undue wear on the car’s engine, which is what makes regular oil changes so important. A basic oil change is a central part of any car maintenance appointment and is usually recommended every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres.


The tires on your car are another key component, and require regular inspection due to the variety of issues that can occur with them.

From misalignment to uneven tread wear, maintaining your tires regularly is of the utmost importance. That is why you will find that nearly all car maintenance services include a detailed tire inspection.

Mechanics will test tread depth, wear, alignment, and more. They may also balance the tires or swap out the tires, if your all-season tires and winter tires need to be swapped.


The filters in your car are sure to be checked by a mechanic during routine maintenance. This is because they have the ability to impact how efficiently your engine runs.

If the air filters in your car are clogged by dirt, dust, or debris, airflow will be limited, which can lead to an overheated engine or even cause your engine to stall.

The result can be a number of issues, including reduced fuel efficiency. However, a mechanic will not only check your air filters but replace them as needed to avoid the worst-case scenario.


The brakes and brake pads will both be checked by a mechanic during an inspection. Since bad brakes can make your car extremely dangerous to drive, a mechanic will take a close look at all components in the brake system to ensure they are in tip-top shape. If they notice anything weird, like a strange noise or resistance on the brake pedal, they can diagnose the issue and repair it for you.

Where to book a car maintenance appointment in Canada

If you want to have your car serviced by a professional, there are two main places to take it: a car dealership and an auto body shop. The choice is ultimately yours and both offer different advantages. Learn more about the pros and cons of getting your car maintained at a car dealership versus an auto body shop below:

Car dealership

Many drivers prefer to book car maintenance appointments at their local car dealership. Why? Convenience.

Assuming you bought your car from the dealership in question, they will likely have your information on file, as well as a record of your vehicle history.

Plus, since they likely sell other vehicles of the same make and even model as yours, their in-house mechanics likely have a lot of knowledge and expertise on the type of car you drive.

This could result in a faster, better service appointment. The main drawback of scheduling a car maintenance appointment at a car dealership is that they tend to be more expensive than when you book an appointment at a local auto body shop.

Auto body shop

If you find an auto body shop you can trust, then taking your car to be serviced at a repair shop might be the best choice.

Due to the cost of doing so, most services, including maintenance appointments, tend to be cheaper at auto body shops than they are at dealerships.

That said, you run the risk that the mechanic at the shop will not have specialized knowledge of your vehicle. To avoid this drawback, call around to different repair shops in your area and ask about their experience.

If you can find one that has repaired and worked on cars of your make and model before, you should be in good hands.

The benefits of regular car maintenance

Now that you know how long scheduled car maintenance takes and what it involves, let’s dive into some of the main benefits of regular car maintenance:

Car maintenance improves safety

The first benefit of regular car maintenance is that it makes your car safer to drive. By alerting you to potential issues while they are still small, you can avoid a major incident on the road, like an unexpected breakdown.

Such incidents are not only a nuisance but can also be extremely dangerous, especially if there was an issue with your engine or brakes.

Car maintenance increases your vehicle’s performance

Second, car maintenance is known for increasing a vehicle’s performance. Since fluid levels are topped up and tires are rotated, among other services, you can rest easy knowing that your car is functioning at maximum capacity.

With regular maintenance, you can enjoy benefits like better tire traction, better stability when steering, and a smoother-running engine.

Car maintenance is cost-effective

Car maintenance might seem costly upfront, but the reality is that it can save you money by making you aware of small issues before they turn into big ones.

Minor repairs almost always cost less than major ones, which makes car maintenance cost-effective in the long run.

Car maintenance saves time

Another benefit of car maintenance is that it can save you time. As mentioned above, car maintenance has a reputation for catching minor issues before they turn into major ones. Not only does this mean a smaller repair bill but it also means less time that your car is in the shop.

Small fixes can take a matter of hours if not minutes to fix, whereas major repairs can take days if not weeks. Being without your car for that long can be an extreme inconvenience. It can also be expensive if you're forced to take ride shares or rent a car during this time.

Car maintenance can slow depreciation

Did you know that another benefit of regular car maintenance is that it can slow the rate of depreciation? It’s true.

Cars depreciate faster than almost any other item. One way to slow this rate of depreciation is by keeping your car in mint condition, which can be done with regular maintenance appointments.

This makes the maintenance of your car a top priority if you want a better result when it comes time to sell or trade it in.

Car maintenance can make your vehicle more fuel efficient

Lastly, frequent car maintenance is likely to improve your car’s fuel efficiency. A fuel efficient car not only means more money in your pocket because you will spend less on gas, but it also means less gas consumed, which lowers your carbon footprint.

The average cost of car maintenance in Canada

The average cost of car maintenance in Canada is approximately $1,500 per year. This amounts to anywhere from $100 to $125 per month spent on a variety of repairs and services, ranging from fluid top-ups and air filter changes to oil changes and brake inspections.

Although owning a car - and all that comes along with car ownership, like maintenance and insurance - can be expensive, there are ways to keep costs low.

For instance, a BrokerLink insurance advisor can provide all sorts of tips on ways to save money on car insurance.

Car insurance: the most important type of vehicle maintenance

Before we end this discussion on car maintenance, we must mention one last important type of car maintenance: car insurance. Car insurance is crucial no matter where you live in Canada. You must ensure that you always have a valid policy when driving. In Ontario, a valid policy may include the following coverage types:

Thus, beyond taking your car into the auto body shop every year, you should also make sure to renew your car insurance plan annually.

Contact BrokerLink to learn more about scheduled car maintenance

Scheduled car maintenance is of the utmost importance, so if there is something you still don’t understand about it, now’s the time to ask. Reach out to BrokerLink to speak with a licensed insurance advisor right away. We can explain the benefits of car maintenance, what a typical service appointment involves, how much car maintenance costs, and how long a service appointment usually takes.

As an insurance brokerage, we can also help you with another key part of car maintenance: car insurance. A licensed advisor at BrokerLink can match you with the right coverage for your needs and ensure your policy is as affordable as possible. Get started today by calling BrokerLink or using our online quote tool to request a free car insurance quote.

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