How to get the most out of car servicing
If you're not mechanically minded, getting your car serviced can be a worrying time. Not only is it costly and time consuming to arrange, there's also the added fear of being ripped off.
Speak to just about any motorist and they'll have a servicing horror story. So how can you avoid a nasty experience of your own? Well, there are a number of steps you can take, but firstly you need to decide where you're going to get the work done.
If the car is still under warranty most motorists head to their main dealer. For peace of mind you can't beat it - mechanics are trained to manufacturer's standards, they'll have specialist tools for the job and detailed information on your car. However, you'll pay for the privilege – labour rates can be double that of an independent.
Block Exemption rules threw open servicing to non-franchised outlets and there are some very good ones out there. If you use an independent to carry out servicing during your car's warranty period make sure you tell them you want the work to meet manufacturer's guidelines. Often garages carry out set services and it's unlikely these will cover everything a main dealer's would.
Picking an independent outlet can be tricky though. You can choose from high street chains, specialists and the 'under the arches' type of establishments – but by far the best way is to get a recommendation from a friend. Failing that log on to MotorCodes.co.uk where garages across the country are rated by their own customers. It's easy to find one near you.
When booking your car in, ask if they'll use pattern or original equipment parts (the latter is preferred), say you want to see any replaced bits and ask for a checklist of the work – all this will help keep the technicians on their toes.
If your car's older, you could try doing the work yourself or buy the parts and ask a garage to fit them – this way you'll only pay for labour. However, sometimes it can be easier to have the big jobs – like cambelt changes – carried out by the professionals.
Autoblog has come up with our top tips to help the process go even more smoothly.