Drivers overspending on garage repairs by £3.4 billion a year

Analysis shows average motorist pays £90 over the odds per vehicle per year; widespread MoT confusion also uncovered

British drivers are overspending by £90 per vehicle per year on garage repairs, according to new research. Taken on a national level, UK motorists are paying out £3.4 billion over the odds every year, with garages ‘upselling’ potentially unnecessary brake fluid and antifreeze changes, and services such as fuel-system cleans.

And with 52 per cent of UK drivers not knowing what an MoT test involves, garages would appear to be taking advantage of a lack of consumer awareness. The analysis, carried out by breakdown firm Green Flag, also reveals 31 per cent of drivers don’t feel they have the knowledge to negotiate with garages.

• What is antifreeze?

That may well be linked to the fact that four out of five men and nine out of 10 women are unaware how much they should pay for garage jobs, with 40 per cent saying they had previously underestimated the cost of repairs. Young drivers are most likely to leave themselves open to unnecessary expense, with those aged 16-24 revealing the least garage-based knowledge.

Unsurprisingly, Londoners spend the most on garage repairs, with an average annual bill of £507.62. Leeds residents paid £497.57 a year while, by contrast, those living in Nottingham spend just £348.84 a year on their cars’ upkeep.

The most common unnecessary  ‘upsells’

  • • Brake fluid change
  • • Antifreeze drain and refill
  • • Fuel/ oil cleaners
  • • Brakes – pads and discs (when wear is within safety limits)
  • • Wiper blades
  • • Battery replacement
  • • Tracking
  • • Oil top ups
  • • Tyres (When tread is well within legal limit)
  • • Pollen filters

Nick Reid, head of automotive technology at Green Flag, said the overspending is “fuelled by a combination of the changes in the MOT test and a lack of confidence in negotiating with garages.” This, Reid said, means “motorists are becoming less equipped to ensure they’re getting the best deal on repairs.”

Have you ever felt like you’ve been overcharged for garage repairs? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below…

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