What is a car coupon?
A car coupon is a periodic inspection in which the condition of all the car's components subject to wear and tear is examined. Over time and as the number of kilometres driven increases, the different parts of the car tend to wear down to the point of having to be replaced or repaired.
During the cut, the mechanic performs a series of visual inspections and with the use of electronic equipment. He checks that the state of wear of the components is in line with the age of the car and the miles driven.
Any component found to be excessively worn is replaced immediately and the cause of this anomaly is assessed. It is no coincidence that car couponing is the best way to detect car problems and prevent them from worsening, thus saving the cost of maintenance in the long run.
Car couponing is not just a simple check-up, it is the basis of proper maintenance that preserves the value of our vehicle, ensures its perfect functioning and saves us money in the long run.
What is the car coupon?
Identifying what the car coupon provides for is not so easy because, as it is not a legal obligation, each manufacturer or mechanic is free to decide what checks to carry out. Although the car service checks are by law the same in all garages in Italy, the coupon can be more or less in-depth depending on the budget (often offered in levels), the manufacturer's standards and the type of garage.
If done correctly, a coupon always provides:
- Oilchange - perhaps the most well-known check of all, the oil change checks the condition and oil level of the engine, essential for the proper functioning of internal components and an excellent alarm bell for any problems.
- Changing the oil filter - the oil filter tends to be changed at every total oil change to always ensure the absence of impurities inside the engine.
- Change theair filter - as it is constantly in operation to protect us from pollen, pollutants or dust, it quickly becomes dirty, loses efficiency and needs to be replaced.
- Inspect brakediscs and pads - crucial components for safe driving when cutting if inspected for wear and checked for correct adjustment. In case of abnormalities, both brake pads and sometimes discs need to be replaced.
- Timing beltinspection - the timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the valves and pistons inside the engine. If it becomes worn, it should be replaced immediately to avoid costly damage.
- Checkingthe service belt - the service belt also wears out over time and may not properly power the many items of equipment it is connected to, such as the alternator or the air pump.
- Check the car's fluids: in addition to the engine oil, the car is filled with equally important fluids such as coolant or brake fluid. The mechanic will check the exact level and top it up if necessary.
- Checking the washer fluid - it seems trivial, but a lack of washer fluid can cause driving difficulties if the glass is too dirty or, in winter, covered with frost.
- Checking theair conditioning - air conditioning makes driving in the car more pleasant and less tiring, a check is made of both the operation and the gas level in the properly manufactured air conditioner.
- Checking thecondition of the battery - without a battery the modern car cannot work properly. The coupon always includes a check of the battery and alternator to avoid re-driving when the car is stationary.
- Tyre check - excessive tyre wear can compromise road grip and possibly the safety of you and other pedestrians, as well as increasing fuel consumption. That's why the mechanic checks the integrity of the remaining tread.
- Cleaning and checking the spark plugs - a complete spark plug check always includes at least checking and cleaning the spark plugs, which should be replaced if necessary as they can break.
- Checkinginterior and exterior lights, seeing where you are going and being seen are two good starting points to avoid traffic accidents. That's why always spend a few minutes checking your lights during couponing.
What's the difference between couponing and checking the car?
The checkup and coupons are often confused with the same operation when, as we will see below, they are totally different. We can say that the car coupon aims to safeguard and preserve the condition of the vehicle in the interest of the owner. The controls foreseen in the car coupon check the state of the components subject to wear and tear in order to avoid more serious problems.
The ministerial overhaul, known simply as overhaul, is alegally required inspection thatall cars registered in the pra must undergo every two years. During the overhaul, various checks are carried out to ensure the vehicle's safety on the road and compliance with environmental parameters.
While the car coupon is primarily designed to serve the car owner, the ministerial inspection is an inspection that protects all road users (driver, passengers, pedestrians, etc.) and the environment.
In fact, the coupon for the car can be carried out in any garage, while the overhaul must be carried out only in one of the centers authorized by the Ministry of Transport. It is not a coincidence that the technical inspection centres always put a sign outside the entrance with the details of their authorisation.
Is the car coupon compulsory?
Unlike the check-up, the car coupon is not mandatory by law. It primarily serves to protect the condition of the vehicle and it is therefore in the owner's interest to ensure that it is carried out regularly.
However, the car coupon may be mandatory in order to maintain the manufacturer' s warranty or in the case of specific agreements with insurance companies or car leasing companies.
As we will see in detail below, in order to maintain the 24-month warranty almost all car manufacturers require the coupon to be made on time. This way they can make sure the vehicle stays in good condition and avoid having to reimburse careless drivers for costly repairs.
How many miles does the first car coupon travel?
The first coupon for a car is usually done after the first 20,000 kilometers or 12 months of the car's life. This is because, generally, during this period of time it is useful to check that the wear and tear of the components is regular and to avoid overlooking any anomaly or defect.
In any case, each car manufacturer specifies precisely when to make the first car coupon in the vehicle logbook. Although rare, sometimes the same manufacturer imposes different deadlines on different models in the range and it is therefore useful to check when the car is required to go to the garage for the first coupon.
What changes between the car's first coupon and the theft?
Even before the first coupon was made for a car, it was common to do a check after the so-called "break-in". Break-in means the period during which the vehicle covers its first 1,000 kilometres. During these 1000 kilometres, all components are subjected to an initial period of wear and tear and the first faults may then emerge.
Although post-mirror inspection is no longer very common, it is still the practice of several dealers with their own workshop who, by offering it as a service, protect themselves from having to remedy factory defects when it is too late. If "taken in time" in fact many anomalies can be resolved with little expense as in the case of factory debris inside the engine.
How often do you coupon the car?
Indicating how often you coupon your car is not easy because the indications vary from one manufacturer to another, if not from one model to another. Car coupons should tend to be done every 15-20,000 and at most every 2 years.
Doing a few miles doesn't mean you can avoid couponing for years, as many car components tend to lose their effectiveness over time. Thus, a car that does a few miles should also undergo couponing regularly to keep it in shape.
We also remember that the coupon of the car should be executed even after the expiry of the warranty of the parent company. The usefulness of the coupon and in general of a good maintenance increases logically when the car gets older and its components wear out even more.
Is the car's coupon under warranty?
A big "novelty" (so to speak) was introduced in 2002 with the EU Monti Decree No. 461/2000 and its subsequent amendments. This decree made the car repair market much freer for the benefit of the citizen. With the Monti Decree the motorist is free to choose where to take his car for couponing without losing the manufacturer's warranty.
The citizen is free to trust any garage, even independent ones, as long as the scheduled maintenance plans indicated by the manufacturer are respected, without the car warranty expiring.
The car coupon is not usually included in the warranty, as it is an ordinary maintenance and not a repair of factory defects attributable to the manufacturer. Many garages offer the first coupon for every new car purchased, but this is more than a legal obligation, it is a business option to keep loyal customers and prevent them from going to other garages.
Where can I get a quote for a car voucher?
Car couponing is actually one of the easiest ordinary maintenance operations to carry out. Despite this, it is still a critical part of your car's health and therefore you should trust only competent and especially honest people.
Nowadays, few people are lucky enough to have a reliable mechanic they can trust. That's why we have created Pistonudos, a platform where drivers can get in direct contact with garages selected for their competence, availability and honesty. The aim is to simplify what for many people is a thorn in their side by making car ownership a little simpler and more enjoyable than it currently is.
To get in touch with one of our partner mechanics just click below and fill in the coupon request form - too easy, try it yourself!