Servicing Lottery

Motorists may be benefiting from increased competition to get their cars serviced, but some dealers are still charging twice as much as neighbouring garages.

European laws aimed at removing restrictions on servicing new cars have allowed independent garages to compete for work that was previously controlled by dealers, according to data from car maintenance company motoreasy.com.

The firm analysed a basket of five popular models across franchised dealers, independent garages, independent specialists and fast-fit centres.

Although franchised workshops remain more than 50% more expensive on average, there are significant signs that competition is forcing prices downwards. In 12% of cases, independent garages came out more expensive than their manufacturer supported peers.

However, that’s not always the case. In one example, a Glasgow dealer quoted £414 to service a Mercedes C200 when an independent garage chain was willing to undertake the work for just £135 – a massive 206% difference.

The data also highlighted the differences in servicing costs across the country. The analysis of a basket of 3-year-old vehicles in London, Birmingham and Glasgow found the Capital was by far the most expensive at £216.88 on average. In comparison, the cost fell to £180.75 in Birmingham, and just £157.46 in Glasgow – or 38% cheaper.