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How to save money on your car’s servicing

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    Don't think you're protected from the big bills by the so-called "capped price" servicing

Are you sick of getting big bills after having your car serviced at your new dealer?

Well, you can do something about it and it's easy; shop around and compare the servicing costs of dealers and independent service agents. Using a reputable independent mechanic can save you 30 per cent or even more on the bill you'd get from a dealer for the same service.

Start by reading the invoice from your dealer, don't simply throw it in the rubbish bin, go through it item by item and understand what it is you're paying for.

And it's not just the glitzy brands that charge like the proverbial wounded buffalo, the brands thought more modest can also rack up the charges when it comes to servicing your car.

It needs to be understood that dealers make a lot of their money in the workshop out the back. We've heard of one dealer selling one of our top-selling brands that charges almost $150 per hour for labour in their workshop.

A reputable independent service mechanic who works on the same brand charges only a little more than half that for labour. It's a similar story with parts where dealers often charge much more for the same parts.

And don't think you're protected from the big bills by the so-called "capped price" servicing some carmakers are now offering. Independent mechanics can often undercut these charges as well, so it's still well worth shopping around.

Study the invoice you receive and ask the dealer to explain any charge you don't understand. We've heard of charges for environmentally disposing of the engine oil removed from your car, something that most independent mechanics do as a matter of course.

Same for workshop expenses, which means you're paying for rags and other incidentals the mechanic might use when working on your car. And whom do you think pays for the coffee and biscuits the dealer offers you while you wait in their service department? You can bet you life it's not the dealer.


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