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One of our recent surveys can reveal that nearly two thirds of motorists have been overcharged by garages for work done on their vehicle – with 58% admitting that having ‘no clue’ about cars left them at the mercy of extortionate prices.

Overpaid Car Maintenance?

According to our poll, it seems that most Britons, 63%, claim to have been ‘ripped off’ my a mechanic for work done on their vehicle at some point; with the majority blaming their lack of motoring knowledge for failing to notice the high charges.

The study, conducted by ourselves, polled 1,821 UK motorists as part of ongoing research into the experiences of UK drivers. All respondents currently owned their own vehicle, the question is have they overpaid for car maintenance ?

Respondents to the study were initially asked, ‘Have you had to have repair work/maintenance carried out on your car?’ to which the majority, 88%, said that ‘yes’ they had. Only 12% claimed not to have required any work.

The study then looked at which establishments people opted to go to in order to get work done, as respondents were asked the question, ‘What option do you usually go for when looking to have any repair/maintenance work carried out on your vehicle?’ which revealed going to the ‘local garage’ to be the top option at 44%, followed by ‘one of the manufacturer’s dealerships’ at 29%. A fifth, 22%, claimed to visit a ‘friend with knowledge of mechanics’.

Those who said they went to ‘a local garage’ were asked whether it was an independent garage or part of a franchise, which revealed a franchise to be the most common choice, with 59% opting for a chain. The remaining 41% used independent garages.

The cost of repairs/maintenance was then looked at, as respondents were asked, ‘Have you ever knowingly paid over the odds when having work done?’ to which nearly two thirds, 63%, said that ‘yes’ they had done so. When asked why they believed they were victims of overcharging, the majority, 58%, of respondents admitted that it was simply because they had ‘no clue’ about the mechanics of car, and so failed to notice being overcharged for procedures. A third, 32%, explained that they had ‘suspected being overcharged, but was too afraid to challenge the mechanic about it.’

The study then looked at the financial implications as it asked, ‘If you had to state a figure, how much money do you think overcharging has cost you to date?’ which revealed ‘£242.28’ to be the average across all of the respondents who suspected they’d been overcharged.

When asked about the aspects of repair/maintenance they were most likely to be overcharged for, 44% of motorists believed that they’d been overcharged for ‘new tyres’ that they didn’t necessarily need; whilst 35% believed garages had charged them for ‘new bulbs’ unnecessarily. Just under a third, 31%, said they thought they’d had new ‘break pads’ fitted when they weren’t needed, whilst a further 38% believed garages overcharged them due to ‘emissions’ when it came to passing MOT’s.

When asked what type of garage they believed they’d been overcharged by, the most common answer was revealed to be a ‘manufacturer’s dealership’ for 57%.

Alvaro Adair one of  our Managers made the following comment:

“Many people are wary of a trip to the garage. If you don’t know about cars then there’s always a lingering doubt that an unscrupulous mechanic is trying to pull the wool over your eyes by charging for repairs that don’t even need to be made. The additional parts and labour costs only add to this doubt.”

He continued:

“Don’t be afraid to question mechanics on the work that’s been done and always get an agreement beforehand on the work that you’re expecting to happen. You don’t want to arrive at the garage to hear that they’ve already fitted an exhaust and expect you to pay. If a mechanic claims certain work needs doing and you’re doubtful; look to another garage for a second opinion.”