Car servicing costs could escalate by as much as 10 per cent after Brexit. A new report conducted for car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns that if tariffs and other trade barriers come into force when the UK leaves the European Union, prices could rise. It claims the average annual cost of car servicing would then increase to £777.
According to the SMMT, 80 per cent of car spares are imported. Almost three quarters of those come from EU-based suppliers. The SMMT is concerned that if no new trading relationship with the EU is secured, tariffs and customs barriers will hike the prices of these parts.
Last year, every UK car owner spent an average £707 on car maintenance. Tyres, lubricants and filters were the most commonly replaced items. However, demand is rising quickly for telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring sensors. Read our five top tips on how to save money on car servicing.
What does servicing entail?
Cars generally have two sorts of service: interim and major. The first thing to do before booking a service is to understand which your car needs. These services generally alternate. In years one and three of its life your car may have an interim service. It will then need a major service in years two and four. This is one very good reason for buying a used car with a full service history: it gives you an accurate gauge of your motor’s servicing requirements.
Keep your car in good shape
The more you do to keep your car in full working order, the longer critical components are likely to last. That means a garage may well have to replace fewer parts and the overall cost could be less. Regularly check the tyres (below) and ensure the air pressure is at the recommended level. You’ll find this info in the user manual and on a sticker in one of the front door pillars or inside the fuel filler flap. Check fluids too. We explain how to inspect the oil and fill a car’s oil tank here. And make sure the coolant and brake fluid reservoirs are at the correct level.
If it does need work…
Sadly, paying for a simple service is rarely the end of it. Servicing frequently reveals components that have failed or are about to stop working. And as cars get older, they frequently go wrong more. Estimates by one garage booking service suggest that repairs for a nine-year old car are 41 per cent higher than a one-year old motor. That’s to be expected since the younger car is unlikely to need much in the way of fixing. But you can still cut the cost of any repairs older cars might need.
One of the main consumables for a car is its tyres. Unless your tyres are in a dangerous state, don’t have them fitted at the same time as servicing. You’ll save money by buying your own over the internet. Equally, your car’s user manual will tell you what sort of oil it needs and how much it requires. Ask your garage how much it charges for oil. Frequently you’ll be able to provide your own for less. It’s a similar story for other parts such as brake pads and discs.
Know your car and its parts
There are various types of parts available for cars. We explain the different kinds of car parts here. For a nearly new car, you want genuine (called Original Equipment or OE) or replacement (Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM) parts. If your motor is slightly older, go for aftermarket parts.
There are many ways of shopping around for servicing. We’ve detailed them previously here. The easiest is to ring various garages and find out how much they charge for the type of service you need. Jot down exactly what it is you want so you can be sure you’re getting like-for-like quotes. Don’t forget to try manufacturer franchises. Aware of their reputation as the expensive choice, these will frequently match the prices of local independents for older cars.
And remember: cheapest isn’t necessarily best when it comes to car servicing. You might save a few quid by choosing the garage with the lowest quote. But if it then does a shoddy job or fits low quality parts, it will cost you in the long run.
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