Just bought this clock for my special needs clock collector son. We paid $140 for it. It is a 1987 Saratoga Howard Miller. Do I need to get it serviced? What does that typically cost? Is the $140 a good price, just curious.
I would say 140 is a good price. It probably needs servicing unless there’s documentation stating it was recently. A service would cost 2-300. Maybe just buy a oiling kit and oil it for now. Does it work at all? I personally cannot house a grandfather clock in the apartment so I cannot tell you much more about it.
Many, perhaps even most, clock repairers work on their own. If he has the support of Howard Miller, I would suppose he is trustworthy and capable. You could always ask around as he is local and see if folks are pleased with his work.
A clock movement of that vintage will have a normal life span of 20-25 years.
At 33 years of age, your movement likely is in the last stages of its lifespan.
A clock movement that is serviced regularly will last about 20-25 years and one that has not had any service will last approximately 20-25 years.
Oiling an already worn clock movement will have little or no effect on the operation of the clock nor will it reasonably extend the lifespan. It may be the movement in your clock has already been replaced with new or rebuilt. If we had pictures of the rear of the movement, we might be able to help with the age of the movement, etc.
Many years experience tells me to suggest that you run the clock till it becomes unreliable.
That will be the most economical and reasonable approach.
When it breaks, then fix it.
Till then, enjoy the clock.