Motorists are paying 50 percent more for repairs and servicing at franchised dealerships than they could be at independent garages or national chains.
While hardly surprising – especially to independent garage owners and the nation’s car mechanics – this is according to Halfords, which used mystery shoppers to compare its repair costs against the main dealers.
Common repairs cost on average 43 percent more at dealerships, it says, pointing to the replacement of a timing belt. At Halfords, it costs £576, while a main dealer charges £1,279.
It found that Ford dealers are the most affordable, with prices around 14 percent more expensive than at its network of Autocentres.
Halfords boss Graham Stapleton told The Sun: “When you look at what some dealerships are charging for basic repairs, it’s clear that many car owners are paying much more than necessary.
“Motorists can get their vehicles serviced and repaired at any garage that can follow the manufacturer’s requirements – with no impact on their warranty from the moment they drive the car off the forecourt.“
Britain’s motorists spend around £21 billion on car maintenance, servicing and repairs, with Halfords claiming that this is about £200 million more than it should be.