Main dealer customers aren’t getting a fair price, researchers say

A study into dealership diagnostic charges shows huge disparity across dealer networks - but what do you think?

Main dealer customers aren’t getting a fair price, researchers say
The most expensive diagnostic check is £180, quoted by dealers for Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Jaguar. Image: Bigstock.

Motorists that take their vehicles to franchised dealers for a diagnostic check aren’t always getting a fair price when it comes to finding out what’s wrong with their cars, experts behind research which shows the huge variation in prices charged have said.

While diagnostic checks are often free when the car is still under warranty, customers outside warranty face being charged an average of £102, across all 27 manufacturers checked.

The most expensive bill was £180, quoted by dealers for Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, BMW and Jaguar while the cheapest was a Honda dealer who offered a check for free.

On average, Land Rover was the priciest but also the only manufacturer to quote a standard price across the dealer network.

The research, which was conducted by MotorEasy, found best value diagnostic checks were to be at Honda, with dealers charging an average of just £38.

Dealer network disparity

For some manufacturers, prices for checks vary massively within the same network.

The biggest disparity for a diagnostic check was at Toyota with one dealer charging £30 and another quoting £155.

Franchised dealers also disagreed on how long the diagnostic check would take, with some telling researchers it was a simple 30 minute job while others claimed they would keep the car for a full day.

Average main dealer diagnostic prices

  1. Land Rover: £180
  2. Jaguar: £135
  3. Alfa Romeo: £134
  4. Toyota: £128
  5. Mercedes: £117
  6. Mitsubishi: £117
  7. BMW: £115
  8. Volvo: £140
  9. Fiat: £110
  10. Kia: £110

MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “The results of our investigation are further evidence of how difficult dealerships make getting a car serviced and repaired.

“Not only do they use confusing jargon, there’s no standard pricing that consumers can follow in order to make sure they’re not ripped off.

“There’s a reasonable expectation that the price for a simple diagnostic check should be the same for your car no matter which dealership in the network you visit but sadly that’s not the case.

“The industry needs to clean up its act to start building trust with owners.”

Do you agree with the researchers who say main dealers aren’t giving customers a fair price? Let us know what and how you charge for diagnostics – share your comments below.

Home Page Forums Dealership diagnostic charges revealed

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #164672 Reply

    Motorists that take their vehicles to franchised dealers for a diagnostic check aren’t always getting a fair price when it comes to finding out what’s
    [See the full post at: Dealership diagnostic charges revealed]

    #164689 Reply

    Just a note, I’ve been informed by quite a few clients that they have been charged a diagnostic fee even when the vehicles have been under warranty !!!

    VW & BMW call it a ‘consultation fee’

    #164692 Reply
    david Rathmell

    If customers wonder’s what they pay a little more for? try the recent customer problem caused by just a simple a service carried out at a national fast fit, they could not even get the oil correct on his GTI Resulting in it needing a new cylinder head at over £4k

    #164694 Reply
    mark mitchell

    i know the fast fit cowboys you mean there oil is called multifleet it goes in every car the do we had a problem with a mini not running right guess what wrong oil hydraulic tappets they had too pay the bill from bmw for there repairs

    #164702 Reply
    Jeremy Pritchard

    My problem with this research is what is it classing as a diagnostic check? We all know a management systems scan is a 5 minute job but it has to be priced accordingly due to the high costs for equipment. The article also doesn’t state if the diagnostic includes any time physically spent on resolving the issue. For example, lean fault codes in an engine ECU won’t tell you the car has an intake manifold leak or point to the specific problem, this requires further diagnostics. In my business we charge diagnostics by the hour and carry out as many checks and test within that hour as we can. If that is what the dealers are doing then that seems fair. I’m an independent so not on the dealers side at all but this article really is not telling you anything.

    #164704 Reply

    Please define what is a “simple diagnostic check” !
    It’s not only dealers that need to “clean up there act” People who lead vehicle owners to think that a diagnostic check is a simple process also need to clean up there act !!

    #164703 Reply
    Cliff Johnson

    The time taken and charged for depends on what issue is being diagnosed!! Is it engine/ transmission /axle it is illogical to have a fixed price What planet is anyone on who thinks that way !!

    #164716 Reply
    Peter Miles

    I do charge a flat rate of £37+VAT for any diagnostic work. That includes 1/2 hour labour and covers basically a code read, look at live data and usually (if required) a quick scope of the suspect component. After that I go to my normal hourly rate of £40+VAT. The flat charge is to cover (hopefully!) costs of equipment and courses to enable me to actually diagnose correctly.

    #164717 Reply

    Research carried out by MotorEasy looks like a thinly veiled attempt to gain business by bad mouthing the opposition. We’re an independent so I’m not defending the franchise dealers, many of whom offer abysmal over priced services, but the research findings do not give the questions asked (as previously stated by readers) so it’s not possible to quantify. I don’t know of MotorEasy but they seem to be like many others that use independents and don’t actually do anything themselves. And try to get a service on their website…

    #164718 Reply
    Jon Morgan

    “A simple diagnostic”! – There’s an interesting concept.
    Motor Easy evidently have no concept of motor vehicle diagnostics which are becoming more complex and multi layered as each year passes.
    It is not possible to give a diagnostic job to any tech in the workshop and expect it to be performed correctly and efficiently. Motor Easy are distinguishing diagnostic work in the same manner as tyre fitting or brake work with set times for bolting parts together.
    A Diagnostic technician is usually at the top end of the pay scale, having many thousands of pounds of continuous personal development levied into his continuous training requirements to keep him on top of his game, as new systems and vehicle types are introduced – He is not a filter spinner.
    The diagnostic is continually given short shrift in this trade by workshop managers and warranty companies etc.. These are the type of people who have no concept of the modern motor vehicle and should be retrained to appreciate just what it is that an effective and successful diagnostic takes. More publicity given to a company that is ill informed and comparing the incomparable.

    #164720 Reply
    Steven Paterson

    Yet another warranty sponsored article to try drive the prices in this industry down, instead of complaining about the results of the poll perhaps you should learn from them and accept that what you think is a fair warranty labour rate in reality isn’t, pay garages the rate they deserve and increase the prices you charge your customers for the policy, just remember with no garage able to carry out the repairs for your customers, you will be forced to pay dealer rates, the more complicated the cars get the number of garages capable of successfully completing the work dwindles away, those that are capable are very unlikely to be pressured into working for a rate far below what there customers are already paying, we think we are expensive at £60 per hour but looking at the figures above I can see we really should be charging £80+ per hour 🙂

    #166047 Reply
    keith davis

    The common misconception by car owners and warranty customers is plug the car in get the relevent code the code tells you what the fault is and the the diagnostic guy fixs the fault simples! init, NO WRONG many fault codes on vehicles can be more misleading than helpful for example Citroen c4 grand picasso 2.0hdi rhr engine type,fault reader gives fault codes for EGR ESP/ASR ELECTRONIC HANDBRAKE where in many instances does the fault occure.Answer not electronic at all but just a simple broken handbrake cable,in my opinion the diagnostic of electronic faults on vehicles ie plug in can and does create myths that have got out of control,the public can purchase code readers plug in and hey presto they are now fault fixers just because they can turn off the warning light.I have been in and trained in the motor trade for 47 years yes im called a grandad but please belive it ive seen it all and still do hear it all please please understand DIAGNOSTICS are not simple they can take alot of time to fix and usually can only be fixed whilst the vehicle is stripped down during work in progress.

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