Servicing charges soar

Taken as a whole, garages are now charging £80.44 an hour for their work, up from £74.82 last year. This adds to the increasing woes of motorists, who already ahve to endure the cost of fuel rising 20p a litre during the same period.

'Drivers might have hoped there’d be some reprieve from the staggering costs of motoring, but no, they’re getting clobbered yet again,' Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct said.

'To think that some workshops are charging in excess of £200 an hour is astounding – that’s equivalent to some people’s weekly wage. Motoring costs are approaching an unsustainable level.

'There’s been a move to push fixed priced service deals, but the knock-on effect is that dealers then charge much more for anybody who isn’t locked in and, once the car is on site, it’s often impractical to find a better price.'

However, if you take your car to a franchised dealer which is linked to the manufacturer expect it to be 57 per cent more expensive than if you use an independent operator.

'The rise in charges reflects what is going on in the complexity of the cars,' an AA spokesperson said. 'We now have daytime running lights which has become mandatory. For main dealers there is a constant need to keep reskilling their technicians. A lot of dealerships and garages recognise that purse strings are very tight and are worried that they are going to lose customers, so there are a lot of good deals if you look for them.

'It would be dangerous if drivers are force to cut back on maintenance because of the higher cost.'

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