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Mechanics More Expensive than Doctors

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) What Car? has continued its criticism of the U.K. garage business by publishing an investigation into car servicing costs at 200 U.K. dealers.

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The research shows it can be cheaper to employ a barrister or a doctor than a mechanic.

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According to the magazine, consumers frequently pay more than £100 per hour for labour at franchised dealers. Hourly rates vary across the country, from £49 for Vauxhall in Scotland to £140 for BMW in London. A locum doctor charging between £350 and £500 per day is cheaper. Even a criminal law junior barrister will charge as little as £30 per hour.

What Car? researchers discovered that advances in technology have made previously-simple jobs fiddly and time-consuming, and it’s the car owners who are bearing the financial brunt. Replacing a main-beam bulb on an Audi A2 can cost as much as £66.00 – with the bulb costing just £3.96.

What Car? group editor Steve Fowler commented: "Consumers could save hundreds of pounds if they shop around and do their research…dealership labour rates for repair bills are just too high. There are so many options available to consumers; they need to consider franchised, non-franchised dealers, local or not so local. One option I will be considering is to book my car in at the cheapest garage, even if I have to travel to it – the savings I can make will pay for a night in a hotel and a decent meal," said Fowler.

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Consumers should also be aware that they can use non-franchised dealers and still keep their warranty. To protect the manufacturer warranty the service provider must be VAT-registered and should use manufacturer’s parts and follow the recommended schedule of work. 

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