Torque Shop

My Mazda 3 is 45 months old and its mileage is only 23,000km. My last 20,000km servicing was in February this year. If I wait till it reaches 30,000km (recommended by the car workshop), it may take another year or so. How should I schedule my car servicing interval in view of its low mileage?

Your car's mileage is about one-third of the distance clocked by the average car in Singapore.

Congratulations for being a "car-lite" motorist.

It is perfectly safe to stick to the servicing intervals recommended by the workshop.

Engine oil degrades gradually with use, with the rate of degradation being in line with the rate of usage. This is the same with filters, which will clog at a rate that is in line with the mileage clocked by the vehicle. The rate of wear also applies to parts such as spark plugs, brakes and timing belt.

Having said that, a car that is left idle for extended periods will have some consequences.

For instance, the battery may weaken or go flat, engine oil may completely settle into the sump, transmission clutch may get sticky and flat spots may occur on tyres.

But if your car is used at least once a week, none of the above should occur.

The only thing you should keep in mind are the tyres, which should be inspected once they reach five years of age - even if they are not worn.

And they should be replaced once they turn 10, even if they are not worn. Rubber hardens over time, compromising the grip of tyres.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe