UK motorists reap benefit of drop in car servicing charges

The UK’s motorists are benefiting as increased competition has resulted in an almost 10 percent drop in car servicing charges over the past year, The Telegraph has reported, citing a survey.

According to the study by Warranty Direct, the hourly labour rate has declined to GBP74.70, GBP8.18 less than 12 months ago. With independent garages bidding for business and manufacturers offering fixed price servicing, the car servicing sector has become increasing competitive over the past decade. The new laws also require car manufacturers to make all computerised information available to non-franchised independent garages, enabling them to offer better rates.

‘From this year’s results, it appears, for the first time, that consumers are starting to win the price war as labour rates finally start to fall across the UK,’ said Duncan McClure Fisher, Warranty Direct’s managing director. ‘We’ve seen almost a decade of spiralling costs to keep a car on the road and it’s good to see dealers competing more on pricing.

‘Service clubs, servicing plans, fixed priced servicing and scheduled servicing bundles are being increasingly used by manufacturers and dealers to attract and retain customers. At the same time, consumers are getting smarter and learning how to shop around for better deals.’

The Telegraph also cites a spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as saying: ‘There is a lot more competition, which is why the price is coming down. Drivers are also benefiting from longer service intervals and garages bundling in MoT tests with the service.’

However, despite the drop in average costs, several franchised dealers still charge exorbitantly, with the top hourly rate reaching £200.40, nearly £50 up on the top rate of a decade ago, the survey showed.

The survey has also revealed significant regional differences – London remains the most expensive place to have a car serviced, with an average hourly rate of £89.33, while Angus in Scotland is now the cheapest at £62.04.