Car ownership may offer us considerable convenience, provide a practical means of fulfilling our daily tasks and even offer a sense of status, but it is not a cheap option. In addition to the cost of the car, road tax, insurance and regular top ups at the pump, you also need to pay for an annual MOT, regular service and repairs when things don’t quite go to plan.
Whilst the costs soon mount up, the majority of us prefer to have a car at our disposal, rather than relying on public transport. This is particularly important for those living in rural and remote communities. We might gulp when we open the latest insurance renewal figure or resent having to pay out for new spark plugs, tyres or bulbs, but we do it because we rely on our cars.
The trouble is that the majority of car owners have minimal knowledge of the mechanics that make the car run. As automotive technology has advanced, even a competent mechanic can’t simply pop open the bonnet and isolate the problem. Specialist diagnostic equipment is often needed to read the vehicle’s computer and pinpoint the issue.
This lack of knowledge, or lack of necessary equipment, means that we have to rely on the garage to undertake the work that needs to be done. We identify a problem with our car, take it to the garage and trust that they will fix it. In most cases, this is what happens, but many of us leave with the feeling that the wool may have been pulled over our eyes. The bill often seems excessive and there may not be any noticeable proof that what they’ve said they’ve done has actually happened.
How Can We Gain Confidence in a Garage?
Firstly, you can find out if your local garage is accredited by national automotive schemes. As an example, your MOT has to be carried out by as VOSA approved garage. Motor Codes is another self-regulating body for the motor industry that ensures over 4,000 UK garages are working to approved codes of practice.
Secondly, you can use your car manual to help you gain some understanding. The manual will provide guidelines on when specific components are likely to need replacing and it can help to give you an idea what might be causing a specific problem. This knowledge can inform your conversation with the garage.
If the garage starts using terms that you don’t understand, ask them to explain, or show you, what they mean. There are so many components in a car, that you can’t be expected to know exactly what they are talking about, even with a bit of mechanical know how. If the garage hasn’t the time or inclination to explain, then you might be better going elsewhere.
When you get a quote from the garage, be sure that you understand exactly what is included. Does the charge include labour costs, VAT and parts? You can’t make a fair comparison between garages unless you have the same figures in front of you. Sometimes a cheaper initial quote can spiral by the time you get the final bill, as additional extras are added on.
Finally ask the garage to detail and guarantee any work that has been undertaken and keep the receipt for your records. If the problem persists, this paperwork could save you another costly bill.
If you are looking for an approved garage to undertake your repairs, service or MOT, Holmer Green Service Centre has a team of reliable, honest and experienced mechanics, along with state of the art diagnostic tools. You can trust us.