How Long Can a Car Run without Service? Information and Risks!


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As everybody knows, you have to have your car serviced at regular intervals. Either after 1–2 years or after 15,000–40,000 kilometers driven, whichever comes first. The question arises as to whether this is really necessary since service is often associated with high costs. The answer to the question of how long can a car run without service can be found in this article.

So how long can a car run without service? Manufacturer-recommended service intervals should always be strictly adhered to. The tolerance for late services during the warranty period is very low. When the next service is due is displayed long before the actual date. If the deadline is not met and there are costs for repairs, the guarantee does not apply and the manufacturer does not assume the costs for the repairs. 


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In the coming paragraphs, we will go into more detail about the risks and also show you how you can save some money in the future. So stay tuned!

By How Many Kilometers Can You Overrun the Service Interval?

What does the whole thing look like in terms of kilometers? Is there some leeway here? How long can a car run without service?

Unfortunately, it looks exactly the same: The service mileage interval must not be exceeded. Even if there is a certain leeway with some manufacturers, which is usually between 1,500–3,000 kilometers, you should not rely on it.

The reason for this is that there is an exception in the notorious small print and the guarantee or warranty then no longer applies. 

If you do service within six months of buying the car and something breaks, there are almost never problems with the manufacturer (as long as there is a warranty). After that, it gets a bit more complicated since the reversal of the burden of proof comes into force here. This means that you have to prove that the fault was already there when the car was delivered. As you can imagine, this is difficult. 

How long can you extend the service on the car

However, if your car is already out of warranty, it almost doesn’t matter how long can a car run without service. However, you should note that safety cannot be guaranteed and that parts in your car may be broken and must be replaced. So you should still make sure that the service is carried out relatively promptly.

Also, don’t forget that if you’re stopped by the police, you could face a fine and points if your car has glaring issues. And these penalties are not cheap. Depending on how long can a car run without service, you will have to pay a fine of several hundred to thousands of euros. In addition, the next check is also more expensive and there are more checks than usual. 

Do you Have to do the Service in the Authorized Workshop?

Even if you often hear that the service can only be done in the authorized workshop, that is not always correct. Sometimes you can have the service done in any free workshop. It is important that the workshop carries out the work specified by the manufacturer and replaces broken or defective parts in the car.

In theory, you could buy the spare parts yourself and then take them to the workshop. In most cases, however, this is rejected because the workshop also earns money when selling spare parts. 

Even if it is not welcomed when the car is sold, you can still carry out the service at independent workshops. For individual brands, however, the value drops significantly if the service was not carried out at an authorized workshop. So if you plan to sell the car again, you should find out in advance whether there could be any depreciation, and think about how long can a car run without service for your needs.

How Much Does a Car Service Cost?

A car service, also known as a car inspection, normally costs between €300–€800. The price varies greatly depending on the extent of the investigation and how many parts need to be replaced or repaired. 

We recommend that you get an estimate in advance. Here you will get a list of what needs to be done and this price may also be exceeded, but the courts often decide in favor of the client if the price increases by more than 20%. 

Also, the workshop is not allowed to replace every part that is broken without asking you first. However, if it is a part that affects driving safety, the workshop can replace it without consultation. 

It is also important that you check the invoice again. Mistakes can always happen and costs may end up on the bill that doesn’t belong there. So be sure to talk to the workshop.

Be sure to tell the workshop exactly what needs to be replaced. Otherwise, there may be work that is not necessary at all, minimizing how long can a car run without service.

We will now show you a mobile app that can help you to keep the costs of vehicle inspection low. 

How Carly Can Help You Save Money

Carly is a mobile app that can help you save money by using the “Read Error Codes” function. But first, we need to explain a few terms.

What is the error log? Every car that has an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) system installed which generates error codes. All petrol engines with a first registration after 2001 have an OBD system. For diesel vehicles, the OBD system did not come into force until 2004. These codes are generated when there are errors or malfunctions in the car.

A distinction is made between generic and manufacturer-specific error codes. These error codes are not always important and have an impact. But if you see the check engine light flashing, for example, that is an error code that is definitely relevant. Depending on which error code is displayed, you can tell which control unit of the car is at fault. All error codes can only be read with a special device and are otherwise not accessible.

cover auto service

What are control units? Control units are small computers in the car that monitor the most important functions and are responsible, for example, for fuel injection or ignition. There are now up to 100 different control units in modern vehicles.

Carly can now help you read these error codes and help you identify problems before they lead to large and costly repairs. So if you read about your car regularly, small problems don’t become big in the first place, which means that you can save quite a bit on repair costs. The cool thing? Carly not only gives you the error code but also shows you how problematic this error code is in the form of a traffic light system. You will also get a detailed explanation of what the problem is. But that’s not all!

The Used Car Check

Carly’s Used Car Check helps you to uncover odometer manipulation in used cars. Since around a third of all used cars sold in Germany have a manipulated speedometer, this makes perfect sense. The damage here is often several thousand euros. You also get a detailed report on the condition of the car, which can be helpful when buying or selling a car.

The Coding

It’s not just about how long can a car run without service. With Carly, you can customize your car. For example, you can permanently switch off the automatic start-stop system, change the perspective of the reversing camera or adjust the Coming Home function of a BMW. You have countless functions that you can adapt and change in your car. 

The Digital Garage

The digital garage saves all of your car’s data online. You can upload the data from reading out the error memory directly online and also send it to your mechanic. This is especially useful if you have a vehicle inspection and the mechanic knows straight away what needs to be done. On top of that, you also save yourself the cost of reading out the error memory, which costs between €30–€60 each time.

How Much Is Carly?

To be able to work with Carly, you need the Carly app, which costs between €21–€80 euros per year. The price varies depending on the car make and model. You also need the Carly Scanner for this, because without it you cannot read or control your car at all. This costs a one-time fee of €59.99. However, you can download the Carly lite app for free in advance and see what is available for your car.

If you consider that reading out the error memory costs between €30–€60 and you should do this every quarter, you will have the costs covered again after a year at the latest. And that’s before we consider all the additional features that Carly offers too. 

Keep in mind, that every car has different software and modules built-in. Therefore specific features will vary with every model.

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