DIY car repairs on the rise but drivers end up paying £170 to fix their mistakes, study shows

42 per cent of home mechanics admit it would have been cheaper to get the work done at a garage first time

DIY car repairs on the rise but drivers end up paying £170 to fix their mistakes, study shows
The number of vehicle owners attempting to repair their own car is on the rise but many end up paying for a garage to fix their mistakes. Image: Bigstock.

Almost 40 per cent of ‘home mechanics’ have had to take their car into a garage to correct their mistakes, costing them as much as £170 to get the work done professionally, new research suggests.

The study also claims that a growing number of British motorists attempting to repair their own vehicle with 57 per cent now buying spare vehicle parts.

Two-fifths of drivers have had to get their issues rectified at costs between £80 and £170, the research from Consumer website, Money Saving Heroes shows.

Just 30 per cent say they don’t attempt any repairs themselves because they ‘don’t trust’ themselves to do the work, 24 per cent ‘have a friend’ who does it for them cheaper than garages charge and 21 per cent ‘want it done properly the first time’.

Head gasket replacement

Common jobs carried out by ‘home mechanics’ included head gasket replacement and body work repairs.

Asked if it would have been cheaper to take the car to a garage in the first instance, 42 per cent said it would have been cheaper.

George Charles, a spokesperson Money Saving Heroes said: “It is no surprise that people end up paying more to rectify their car DIY jobs than it would have cost to get a trained mechanic to do the job, what with the average Briton not being a mechanic and understanding the ins and outs of a car.”

Have you had to correct a customer’s bodged DIY repair? Share your comments and experiences below.

Home Page Forums DIY car repairs on the rise but drivers end up paying £170 to fix their mistakes, study shows

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #172731 Reply

    Interesting one this: 30 per cent or owners say they don’t attempt any repairs themselves because they ‘don’t trust’ themselves to do the work, 24 per cent ‘have a friend’ who does it for them cheaper than garages charge and 21 per cent ‘want it done properly the first time’.

    Let us know if you have you had to correct a customer’s bodged DIY repair – share your horror stories and pictures!

    #172734 Reply
    Ken Ashton

    We had an incident whereby a customer took their vehicle to the main dealer for a service and it came back with a note on the invoice saying it needed a headlamp bulb . Querying this they were told that it wasn’t “part of the service” to fit one ! So the gentleman bought a bulb from us to fit himself ……..incorrectly ! We subsequently had the car for MOT and had to refit the bulb the make the pattern right .

    #172736 Reply

    We have had so many jobs in which ‘my friend repaired’ and we have then had to sort out, which is terrible as then the customer doesn’t have as much funds to rectify it. Normally we find they have damaged another item whilst repairing the first one, so not only is the customer paying for the same job to be done twice but also to replace something else! Bodywork is the worst!!!!

    It makes it so hard to survive and makes us look like the bad guys! There should be measures in place to stop this from happening the amount of money to up-keep a garage, keep good staff etc for someone to be able to do repairs from home without being checked they meet industry standards.

    #172738 Reply
    Jane Terry

    Had a customer come to us after someone had fitted a cambelt and had given them a bag of nuts and bolts that they hadnt fitted as they couldnt remember where they went?

    #172745 Reply
    Peter Miles

    I had one where “a good friend” of the customer had fitted front pads and discs to his Corsa. No options on pads but did it have vented or solid discs? Well, it had vented but the solid ones were cheaper so he fitted those. Worked OK for a while but of course the solid discs were too thin for the vented calliper carrier so when the pads wore down a bit the pads fell out followed by the calliper pistons.
    A few dents and scrapes on the car but nobody hurt. Fortunately!

    #172749 Reply
    Bernie Alleway

    I get a large amount of work rectifying things that garages have failed to fix as well, I had one this week that a well respected garage wanted to fit a new DPF at a high cost but the customer had the good sense not to trust the garages diagnosis and brought it to me I found 2 broken wires that caused the dpf fault and a faulty cheap aftermarket map sensor that had just been fitted by the garage causing correlation and air mass fault, this trade has changed Garages need to specialise train and equip themselves, if you don’t understand how something works your not going to be able to fix it, this goes for garages and DIYers.

    #172750 Reply
    Richard Carver

    What bothers me about these stories, is you wouldn’t attempt to rewire your own house or fit your own boiler/gas cooker unless you know what your doing AND qualified to do so. So why would you attempt brakes on your own car??? We have seen so many cars that we have had to rectify after their “mate” has “fixed” their car. Should be laws to stop this sort of thing happening.

    #172864 Reply
    Barry Chandler

    Mk2 Focus ST. Customer saved himself a few quid getting his mate to fit him a new alternator. One bolt came loose, the aux belt slipped off and jammed around the bottom pulley. I think the final bill came to around £1800.

    The mate was nowhere to be seen come payment time.

    #172914 Reply

    Some years ago we had a customer replace the timing belt on his 1700 engined Marina. (how hard could it be?).He learnt it could be very hard when we had to replace valves, guides and the camshaft for him.
    More recently we had a major argument with a former police traffic officer. He couldn’t see why his Citroen C3 had failed its MOT because of poor handbrake performance. His brother-in-law had recently overhauled the rear brakes. After he grudgingly allowed us to strip and inspect said rear brakes, we discovered the brother-in-law had replaced the shoes on one side but had not set up the self adjusters. On the other side,because he couldn’t remove the hub/drum assembly, he had left the old very worn shoes in place. The new shoes, it turned out, he has hidden away at home.

    #172941 Reply

    Pavement Cowboys

    #172942 Reply
    Mark Hughes

    Great point, Paula. This is something we’ll potentially look at in future articles and see whether it could be helpful to the industry and garage customers.

    #172943 Reply
    Mark Hughes

    Could garages and customers perhaps benefit from legislation that obligates vehicle owners to record any work conducted to it, regardless of whether it was delivered by a garage or not?

    #172968 Reply
    Ernie T.

    Used to work for a company sub contacting to the breakdown services and bank holiday Monday evenings we could always expect a rush of calls from the diy’ers who had bitten off more than they could chew and were now in a panic that they had no transport to work for Tuesday. Sometimes amusing, sometimes scary.

    #173120 Reply
    Peter Miles

    For Mark Hughes
    Yes, keeping records of what’s been done to the car over, say, the past year and who by could be useful in the event of a major accident. You could also include a requirement to keep a record of where the parts came from, which might panic a few Ebay sellers!
    But the fact is most of these “bodge-ups” don’t end in major accidents (more through luck than anything else!) and although I may have recorded what I did 11 months ago but someone else has fiddled with it since but ISN’T going to admit it…I’m sure you can see where I’m going. Even some supposedly proper traders don’t keep records because they try and do stuff “off the books”.
    So it’s not an idea that could work I’m afraid.

    #173834 Reply
    Eddie Bamber

    As a breakdown Patrol with a motoring organisation, I saw many horror stories from both D.I.Y’ers and ‘garages’. I even went to get cars started for mechanics who had serviced their mate’s car on their day off but couldn’t get it going again. I think the worst ones were thin rubber tubing fitted to high pressure fuel systems. There should be regulation in the motor industry in the same way that there is in the gas and other industries.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)


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