Servicing: the hassle-free way
With any garage, it's worth following a few simple rules to get the best price quickly and to protect yourself.
1. Have your car registration handy when you call to make the job of getting an exact quote faster. Let the dealer know that you're just shopping around for prices initially and not looking to book your car in straight away.
2. When you call for a quote, be 100% sure that the garage will do all of the work according to the manufacturer's schedule, and that it will use original parts or those of matching quality. If in doubt, ask, and if you're not happy with the answer, try somewhere else.
3. Get the quotation in writing and don't accept sudden increases in charges for routine work. Any reputable garage should ask for permission to go ahead with work if the cost has risen.
4. Ask for your old parts back and for the boxes of the parts that have been fitted for some proof that the work has been done. Don't feel embarrassed about asking to be shown the bits under the bonnet, either.
5. Look for garages that have signed up to a code of practice. Try the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair (www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk), which also includes an arbitration scheme if things go wrong.
6. Use a workshop accredited under the British Standards Institute's Automotive Kitemark scheme. Chains such as Bosch have their own codes.
7. Motorists can also use a conciliation and arbitration service for garages that are members of the Retail Motor Industry Federation.