Basic vs. Logbook Car Service: Understanding Your Options and Costs

This blog outlines the differences and costs associated with basic and logbook car services. Basic services cover essential maintenance, while logbook services adhere to manufacturer schedules, crucial for maintaining warranties. Understanding these options helps car owners make informed maintenance decisions based on their vehicle's needs and budget. Regular servicing is key to ensuring your car’s longevity and safety.

When it comes to maintaining your car, the type of service you choose can significantly impact both its performance and your wallet. In the Australian automotive market, you're generally faced with two main types of services: basic (sometimes called minor or general) and logbook. Understanding the differences between these can help you make an informed decision that aligns with both your car’s needs and your budget.

What is a Basic Car Service?

A basic car service is designed to cover the essential maintenance that keeps your car running smoothly and safely. Typically less expensive than logbook services, this option includes the replacement of engine oil and oil filter—key to protecting your engine and extending its lifespan. Additionally, a basic service involves a thorough inspection of your vehicle, including:

  • Under the car and under the hood checks
  • Fluid levels assessment
  • Brake inspection
  • Tire condition and pressure evaluation
  • Lighting system functionality test

These checks are crucial for identifying any potential issues that might require immediate attention, thereby preventing more serious problems and costly repairs down the line.

What is a Logbook Service?

A logbook service follows a schedule outlined by your car’s manufacturer. Each service is planned at specific intervals (typically every 6 months or 10,000 kilometers) and is tailored to the specific make and model of your vehicle. This type of service is more comprehensive than a basic service and includes various checks and replacements that are crucial for keeping your vehicle in line with the manufacturer’s specifications. Logbook services are especially important if your car is still under warranty, as failing to adhere to this schedule can void the warranty.

Cost Comparison: Basic vs. Logbook Service

The cost of maintaining a car can vary greatly depending on whether you opt for a basic or logbook service. Generally, a basic service can range from $150 to $300, making it a budget-friendly option for regular maintenance. This service provides all the necessary checks and changes to ensure your car remains roadworthy and efficient.

On the other hand, logbook services tend to be more expensive, starting at around $250 and increasing depending on the complexity of the specific service required at that interval. These services may involve advanced diagnostics, specialised parts replacement, and adherence to detailed manufacturer guidelines, all of which contribute to the higher cost.

Average Cost of a Car Service by State and Territory

State Basic service

average cost


Logbook service

average cost



average cost


ACT $245 $454 $367
New South Wales $231 $395 $324
Northern Territory $255 $473 $358
Queensland $221 $403 $322
South Australia $218 $386 $305
Tasmania $229 $381 $297
Victoria $224 $379 $308
Western Australia $226 $399 $315
Australia $224 $397 $319

Source: data supplied by AutoGuru, January 2024

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between a basic and a logbook service typically depends on several factors:

  • Warranty Requirements: If your car is under warranty, a logbook service is generally necessary to keep the warranty valid.
  • Car Age and Condition: Older cars or those out of warranty might only need basic services unless there are specific maintenance needs suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Usage and Driving Conditions: Cars used in harsh conditions might benefit more from the detailed attention of a logbook service.

Regular maintenance is crucial, regardless of the type of service you choose. Both services aim to ensure your car operates efficiently and safely, but understanding the scope and cost of each can help you better manage your maintenance budget and schedule.


Keeping your car in top condition is a crucial aspect of car ownership. Whether you choose a basic or a logbook service, what matters most is that you regularly service your vehicle to ensure longevity, reliability, and safety on the road. Always consider your car’s specific needs, your budget, and warranty requirements when scheduling service appointments.


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