Where Best To Service Your Car

Thursday, 1. June 2017

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

More leasing companies and PCP providers are now insisting that cars be serviced at main dealers. Where the manufacturer either owns the funder or has major influence over the funder, through discounts provided on the vehicles supplied, you can understand that they may wish to protect their franchised dealerships.


And of course with changing technology having your car serviced at a main dealer with his specialist knowledge makes sense. But at what cost? I have told you what I do when my car has a service due. I call around and get a quote from an independent then ask the main dealer if he can match or beat the quote and guess what?


They beat it every time. Aftermarket warranty provider, Motoreasy, has carried out a survey into car servicing and found hourly rates from £36 per hour, charged by an independent, to £234 per hour charged by a sports car dealer in Reading. 6,000 independent, fast fit and franchised dealers took part in the survey. Other than the highly specialist sports car dealer the highest average rate was £81 per hour, charged in Surrey, whilst Selkirkshire had the lowest average of £49 per hour. In terms of individual quotes the cheapest was a garage in Manchester charging the £36 per hour.


Breaking the figures down further they found that the average rate charged by a franchised dealer was £99 compared to the average independent rate of £56 per hour – quite a difference. Now at this stage, and before it starts to get boring, I should explain a bit of a misunderstanding. You may have seen in the press or elsewhere references to the EU Block Exemption Rules.


In summary this enables those who buy a new car to have the car serviced at any independent garage or fast fit centre provided they use manufacturer approved parts and conform to the manufacturer’s service schedule. Provided they do this the warranty cannot be invalidated. However, this is different to the rules that the lender can impose upon you whilst you drive their motor car, this applies to PCP and Contract Hire (both business and personal).


He is entitled to insist that you have your car serviced at a main dealer as he owns the car and you are simply the registered keeper. Whilst this may not be in the spirit of the EU directive if it is part of the agreement you should adhere to the terms. Just thought I’d mention – make sure you read the contract. To finish off, 87% of those using an independent for servicing were happy with their experience compared to 80% who used a main dealer. 65% found independents more convenient whilst 55% found main dealers more convenient (what a dopey statistic).


Dealers scored higher in areas such as professionalism, knowledge and customer service. In an attempt to put up an argument on behalf of the independents Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association said that independents are better at diagnostics as they have to work on a wider variety and age of cars – really?? Just make sure you don’t breach the terms of your contract. By Graham Hill

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