Save now, pay later – skipping car maintenance in a faltering economy is false economy

Rising bills and economic uncertainty may make the household budget tighter than ever but delaying or skipping your car’s annual service could be a false economy, costing significantly more in the long run. Although the average cost of a basic car service is around £125, average repair costs of many makes and models indicate that it is money well spent; failing to have your car maintained correctly means you run the risk of being hit with repair costs like:

  • Exchange engine – £2,575
  • Cylinder head gasket – £520
  • Radiator – £430
  • Water pump – £240

While the number of cars on the road hasn’t changed, recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show the new car market has fallen for the past five consecutive months. Motorists are hanging on to their car for longer, making it even more important to maintain a regular service programme, avoiding costly repair work and maintaining the residual value of the car – a regular service history will support your car’s value when you come to sell it in the future.

The modern motor car is safer, greener and more reliable than ever before but an annual health check is a must to keep your car in top condition.

Whether you opt for a franchised repairer or independent garage, be sure to look for the Motor Codes logo as an assurance of fair practice. Every garage signed up to the new Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair has committed to a fair process of quoting, pricing and the completion of work:

  • honest and fair services
  • open and transparent pricing
  • complete work as agreed
  • invoices that match quoted prices
  • competent and conscientious staff
  • a straightforward, swift complaints procedure

The new Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair was launched in August by Motor Codes Limited at the Office of Fair Trading in London and over 4,000 garages are already paid-for subscribers.

A full list of subscribing garages, searchable by postcode, is available at

“In these tricky financial times, the temptation may be to delay or even ignore routine maintenance on your car because the modern vehicle tends to be so reliable – but that could work out more expensive in the long run,” said Chris Mason, Motor Codes director. “If you don’t carry out scheduled maintenance or fail to have repairs carried out promptly, you could eventually end up paying more. By choosing a garage that is committed to the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair, you can have confidence that the work carried out will be only what is required and there should be no surprise when you get the final bill.”

The Code itself:

  • provides a free consumer advice line: 020 7344 1651
  • provides free conciliation and low-cost, legally-binding arbitration
  • offer consumers more rights than required by law

Any UK garage can sign up to the voluntary Code, which is currently progressing through the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) and has completed the first stage of the OFT’s code approval process.

The Code aims to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers by helping them identify subscribing garages, and providing an easily accessible and robust dispute resolution mechanism when required. So whether you are a garage seeking a competitive edge by having the value-add benefit of subscribing to the Code or a consumer looking for the most cost-effective solution to deal with motoring costs, log on to and find out more about how the motor industry is committed to delivering good customer service through self-regulation.

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