Car repair prices spike

19th September 2012

The price of having your car repaired has risen significantly in the last two years, according to new research.

Warranty Direct's latest Labour Rates Survey has flagged up the creeping cost of getting your motor fixed, with the average labour rate in the UK rising three per cent to £82.86.

The wildest rises were found in independent garages, which experienced a 6.4 per cent spike. In 2011 independents charged an average of £60.68 an hour, while this year that figure had risen to £64.58.

Leafy Surrey was identified as the priciest place for repairs, with motorists facing an eye-watering hourly rate of £98.27 on average. Conversely, mechanics in Powys, Wales only ask for £58.46, nearly half the price of Surrey.

Cornwall and County Durham also experienced significant increases of around 12 per cent, while East Yorkshire and Pembrokeshire saw annual falls in cost of around 14 per cent. Warranty Direct collated their research from data from 50,000 live insurance policies.

"Price hikes continue apace in 2012 and we are now at the point that a simple breakdown could cost an eye watering sum to put right," said Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

"With the cost of petrol and diesel still rocketing, the latest stats will come as a bit of a blow to those expecting rates to have stabilised," he added.

According to Mr McClure Fisher, the cost of repairs is now such that older cars may face huge bills for relatively straightforward repair work.

The research highlights the importance of regular MOT testing, servicing and general car care in order to identify any problems before they escalate and garner a hefty price tag.

The issue was also probed in a recent survey by What Car? magazine, which found many drivers have been dissatisfied with the level of servicing and repairs they've received from their car dealer's garage.

The poll of 15,000 drivers found drivers with Chevrolets, Fiats and Mazdas were least happy with their dealers' approach. Quality of work and how customers were treated were key considerations in the research.

Respondents voted positively for services received at Jaguar, Lexus and Toyota garages.

"This survey shows that lots of dealers are doing a good job but some still have a lot of work to do," What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said.

"Car buyers are spending a lot of money and should have the confidence that they will get the same standards of service as the best retail outlets on the high street," he added.

Both pieces of research make it clear drivers must select their garage carefully. While the trade of independents will often be based on the trust they've created through providing years of good service to the local community, those motorists who don't have that relationship with a nearby mechanic could be taking a risk by choosing one they don't know. 

On the other hand, well established national firms offering repairs can be in a position to offer fixed rates, and are often subject to strict standard checks to ensure an excellent quality of service is delivered to customers.

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Posted by Danielle Barge