How to Save Money Servicing Your Car
We know, we know. There are a hundred things you would rather spend your hard-earned money on than some meaningless service.
But a regular service plan actually helps you save in the long run.
Having a professional technician check your car regularly is the best way to stop small problems developing into expensive ones.
Regular servicing can also boost your car’s fuel efficiency and improve its resale value.
It’s a worthwhile investment, but there are still ways that you can keep costs down with servicing. Here’s our top tips.
Use an independent garage
The first rule to saving money is to go independent. Research shows that independent garages are, on average, 18% cheaper than main franchised dealers.
Who Can Fix My Car found that independents were slightly cheaper for MOTs and servicing.
Franchised dealers are more popular with newer car owners, but you aren’t obligated to get your car serviced with the dealer that you bought it from.
No matter what the dealer says, there’s nothing stopping you using an independent instead.
Separate research also found that independent garages enjoy higher customer satisfaction ratings compared with franchised dealers.
Stick to a maintenance schedule
You can also save on servicing if you stick to a maintenance schedule and only get a service when your car needs it.
While ensuring your car is serviced every year is a good rule of thumb, you should really check the manufacturer’s service schedule for a more accurate outlook.
If your car is newish, it will probably have a built-in servicing reminder system to tell you exactly when it’s time to service your car.
If you don’t have service reminders built into your dashboard, you’ll have to go by what the owner’s manual says.
The recommended service schedule may be slightly different if you drive in ‘severe’ conditions.
This includes if you do primarily short trips (five miles or less), drive in city centre stop and go traffic or regularly tow a trailer.
If you do any of these, you may have to get your car serviced a little more frequently.
Your manual should also tell you when replaceable parts may need changing and how often maintenance tasks like changing the oil should be carried out.
Think about an intermittent service
An intermittent service is a slightly smaller treatment that you can use to save money if you are a certain kind of driver.
Most manufacturers say you should get your car serviced every 12,000 miles. But if you do more than 20,000 miles each year, this could be overkill.
If you drive long miles for work, then an intermittent service will check all of the necessities and wearables for any damage, while leaving some more durable parts alone.
Avoid cowboy service shops (and national chains)
We know that mechanics have a bad reputation. We always try extra hard to please our customers and make sure they don’t feel ripped off.
But we know there are some bad apples out there. And it’s important that you try and avoid them.
When it comes to servicing, one common trick is to identify problems that don’t exist or exaggerate minor problems to get customers to agree to unnecessary repairs.
We’re sorry to say that, in our experience, it’s the big national chains and franchised dealers that are most guilty of this type of behaviour.
Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to check on a garage’s reputation before you visit – just check their online reviews.
If you are looking to get the best price on your car service, you may want to shop around.
Reputable garages will usually be transparent about their pricing and should be able to give you a quote over the phone.
Be warned though, if a price looks too good to be true then it probably is. These bargain basement garages will try to recoup their costs elsewhere.
If you are worried about getting ripped off, then you can clearly spell out what you want the garage to do. Ask them to contact you before they carry out any additional work and ask for a detailed breakdown of all the costs so you can see exactly what you’re paying for.
Most reputable garages will be happy to do all of this for you.