McLaren 12C : Service Guide

McLaren is a name that evokes memories of racing championship wins and images of Formula 1 cars, Indycars, and LeMans prototypes. Launched in 2011, the MP4-12C (later shortened to just 12C) was McLaren’s first serious attempt at entering the road-legal production sports car market, excluding the limited production McLaren F1 in the 1990’s. Production started in 2011 and ended in 2014.

The DDE Garage got it’s first McLaren MP4-12C in 2020 when Dave decided he wanted a 12C. They straight piped it, tuned it, Daily drove it and then sold it. DDE is currently looking at adding a new McLaren to the channel, so just want and see what McLaren they pickup next!

Although it had a short four year production span, the 12C paved the way for McLaren’s newer vehicles, such as the 650S, 675LT, and P1. The 12C was the first car to use McLaren’s “Monocell” carbon-fibre monocoque as well as the 3.8L twin-turbo V8, both of which became ubiquitous in McLaren’s vehicle line-up. The 12C was available as both a fixed roof coupe, as well as a Spyder version with a retractable hardtop.

The McLaren 12C Service Guide will be of use to owners looking to get the most out of their exotic British sports car. It will detail the recommended maintenance schedule to keep the performance and life of your 12C at it’s full potential. GI Automotive has the skill and the facilities to carry out all factory recommended maintenance procedures.

Engine, Oil, Transmission, Clutch
The McLaren 12C uses the M838T 3.8L twin-turbo V8 with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission as the only drivetrain option. The engine was originally tuned to produce 592 hp, however McLaren later updated the software to bump the output to 616 hp (with retrograding the software to older examples).

The McLaren Service Guide recommends these service intervals:

Annual Service or 10,000 miles:
-Change cabin & engine air filters
-Change brake fluid
-Engine oil & filter change
-Inspect & service parking brake
-Replace intake sound generator
-Inspect brake wear & replace if necessary

Every 20,000 miles:
-Change clutch oil & filter
-Flush & replace engine coolant

Every 40,000 miles:
-Change gearbox oil & filter

Every 60,000 miles:
-Replace spark plugs

The McLaren 12C is a relatively easy sports car to maintain. The 10,000 mile or annual service covers most maintenance items. It is important to note that these recommended service intervals are for street driven vehicles only. Any vehicle that is tracked has an accelerated wear and tear and the maintenance frequency should be adjusted to reflect this.

Brakes, Rotors, Pads, Fluid
Brake pad wear will vary based on driving conditions and driving style. The harder someone is on their brakes, the more frequently they must be changed.

This is why it is important to inspect the brake wear at each service interval. Brake fluid must be changed every year to ensure that the system isn’t contaminated with moisture, air, or dirt.

McLaren has thankfully fitted some serious braking power to the 12C in order to stop it from extremely high speeds. The front brakes are 370 mm in the front and 350 mm in the rear, with each corner being stopped by four-piston calipers. Carbon-ceramic brakes were optional, being 394 mm in diameter at the front and 380 mm in the rear.

Tires, Suspension & Alignment
The suspension’s job is to not only keep a comfortable ride; it is also to provide optimal handling characteristics. Properly functioning suspension will keep alignment within specification in a straight line as well as in the corners.

Moreover, this keeps the tires from wearing unevenly. At each service interval, it is recommended to check the suspension components for any squeaks, rattles, leakage, or play. Alignment can seriously affect both tire wear as well as the handling characteristics of a car.

Therefore, it is imperative that the alignment is checked on a regular basis. Tires are also wearable items that need to be checked at every service interval.

Unfortunately, many owners tend to ignore their tires. As they are the only part of your vehicle that are in contact with the ground, they affect handling, acceleration, braking, and crucially, safety. Wear will vary depending on driving conditions, driving style, and whether or not the vehicle is all-wheel drive or not.

The McLaren 12C comes with these tire sizes:
Front P235/35ZR19
Rear P305/30ZR20