Does The Cost Of Servicing Your Car Make You Shudder?



Guest writer Sean Allison

By guest writer Sean Allison


As long term car owners, that time of year fills us all with dread. Some take their cars to main dealers, some take them to independent garages, some get their ‘mate’ to do it (or even do it themselves), and some simply don’t do it at all.

The benefits of going straight to a main dealer are, they are usually very friendly and keep things in simple terms, from booking your vehicle in, to giving you any good/bad news; they always usually have courtesy vehicles available, and at the end, you get a pretty looking ‘branded’ invoice. The downsides are that people generally assume this is the most expensive option. For my ’07 Fiesta, Ford quoted me ~£145, for oil, filter, air filter and full comprehensive vehicle inspection. 845

The second option, which is usually ‘considered’ the cheapest, is an independent garage. These garages usually employ the same calibre of mechanics main dealers employ. I personally know mechanics who have worked for main dealers and then gone independent, and vice versa. The costs overall are generally assumed ‘lower’, however, they don’t always have courtesy vehicles available (because of the overheads in running courtesy vehicles) and the front of house service may not be as ‘well dressed’ as a main dealers. Unfortunately, the garages that don’t get as much work as they hope, may try and upsell you work on your vehicle that might not need doing. This goes without saying, branded dealers are not immune from this; however a large national/international company has a lot more company image to protect, than ‘Bob’s Auto’s’ down the local industrial. My local quoted me £120, for oil, filter and an ‘inspection’.

How about getting your mate to do it? From my own experience with this, I was asked to purchase materials. Oil, filter, air filter, and spark plugs came to about £70! My ‘mate’ asked for £30, so I lashed him £40 as goodwill. Oh I forgot to mention the inspection; well, he checked the wheels were still attached and told me I had a ‘solid’ motor. £110 total and no stamp.

I won’t mention the time I tried to do it myself…

Out of all the services I’ve ever had done, I would absolutely recommend main dealer. I got a posh new car for the day, I got a lovely stamp in my service book, and the smartest looking company invoice I had ever seen. Yeah it was an extra £20; and even if it wasn’t done properly, I have the re-assurance that should anything be out of the ordinary, I have a large International Company to go back to.

Certainly don’t ignore servicing. Neglecting your motor will almost definitely lead to failure. Changing your engine oil and oil filter in the recommended intervals is probably one of the single most important things you have to do to look after your car.

If you’re after the cheapest solution, get hold of your cars service schedule and Haynes manual. If you have reputable contacts within the industry, or know a good independent, then go down the independent route. For the rest of us who have a little extra £££ sitting around, Mr Example from your local Dealer is the answer.


by guest writer Sean Allison


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