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Service Your Car Before It Goes For Service

Service Your Car Before It Goes For Service

Just lately, as we have reported on Motor Blogger, car dealers are having a tough time of it and are cutting their profit margins right down to the bone. This is particularly hard on them because, in reality, they don’t make that a great deal of money on a new or used car sale anyway, such is the competitive nature of the market. In fact, they make much of their coin from selling ‘add-ons’ at the point of sale or, later, on servicing, parts and the like.

Anyone who has owned a car for a while knows that the annual service is usually a costly exercise – and these days something that many drivers are postponing to try and save cash. Nevertheless, correct servicing is vital to the longevity and resale value of the car so it has got to be done; but you can help mitigate the cost by giving your vehicle the once-over before you take down to the service bay.

For example: If you make sure the windscreen washer bottle is completely full then the garage won’t have to top it up, will they? They charge more than the average owner might think for this very simple job. A bottle of neat screen wash from your local supermarket will cost pennies by comparison.

If the car tyres are looking a bit threadbare and need changing – it’s a straightforward job to check tread depth and sidewalls – take the trouble to find a cracking deal at your local fitters or online and get it done first. If the garage ‘phones up and informs you that tyres need replacing they are very likely to charge maximum retail for the product and may not even consult about brand or type.

This is the problem. In order to make a living, main dealer garages will charge the absolute maximum price for any item fitted or replaced. Have a good hard look at the servicing schedule for your car. Is there any aspect to it where money can be saved? It’s a bit of a cheek but if you’ve got the front for it, perhaps you could try asking the dealer to let you supply your own consumables, like the correct type of oil, on the basis that it can be purchased cheaper elsewhere. They will probably be a bit offended but hey, it’s your money. Maybe you could quote a bone fide price you’ve seen and ask them to match it. Yes, it’s come to that.

Alternatively you could go to an independent garage that definitely will be cheaper – making sure they have a good reputation first, obviously. If a car is under warranty it doesn’t matter where you have the job done as long as it’s done properly. It has been known for manufacturers to refuse to honour a warranty because of this – citing things like unapproved parts being fitted. Once the warranty has expired maybe an independent is the way to go.

If in doubt, ask the garage to supply a schedule of work before the job is done and ask for an itemised bill afterwards. It may at least prove to be of benefit next time.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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