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Avoid Dodgy Garages & Mechanics

Photo by Nathan Van Egmond on Unsplash

The blog this week is about avoiding dodgy garages and dodgy mechanics. It is believed that UK motorists spend more than £300 million per year to fix messed up repair jobs or problems that a mechanic or would be mechanic has missed when fixing another problem.  So what can you do to avoid being a victim of one of these? Arm yourself with knowledge – read our top tips below. Read on to find out more:

There is a big skills shortage in fully qualified and experienced mechanics and motor vehicle technicians. With the emergence of higher tech cars and everything being driven by diagnostics and computers there is a lack of lateral thinkers out there in the trade! This works out at costing us around £500 each per year. Although there are lots of things you can do yourself to maintain your car such as checking your tyres, water levels, coolant and oil levels to make sure that your car stays in the best condition possible, it's never going to eliminate the need for regular servicing and required maintenance entirely. Filters, brake pads and disks and other engine parts reach the end of their natural life and require checking and changing at regular intervals We've all heard stories about unscrupulous mechanics taking people for a ride and charging them for things they shouldn't be paying for - so how can you protect yourself against ending up in a similar situation?

Many people have had unnecessary parts fitted to their vehicles, and in some cases, they've paid for parts that haven't even been changed or fitted at all. Women and young drivers are the most likely to fall foul of rogue mechanics, due to a perceived lack of knowledge or experience when it comes to cars and motoring. Ladies look for garages that are members of Foxy Ladies Motoring scheme!

Ideally, you should find yourself a good car mechanic or garage before you need one. There are plenty of great mechanics and garages out there, and when you find one stick with them! Don't be swayed by advertising offering cheap MOT's for £30 or even £20 because you will more often than not find a list of items that need replacing in order for your car to pass it's MOT! A garage or service centre cannot possibly perform an MOT for so little - they will not cover their overheads so will need to make it up in additional labour and parts profits - so be forewarned! Talk to friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours and take on board their good and bad experiences with garages they have used, both with local independent garages, and the bigger chains. Word of mouth and recommendation is the best way to find yourself a good, reliable mechanic, and make sure that you don't get ripped off. Here at ACC UK Ltd of Farnborough, Hampshire, Independent Volvo & Toyota Service, Repair and MOT specialists over 70% of our new customers every month come through word of mouth referrals from our existing customers - so we must be doing something right!

NB: If your vehicle has diagnostic issues ensure the garage you take it to has the capabilities to quickly identify the problem - this will save time and money - not all garages have the capability

Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Remember that one of the main reasons that unscrupulous mechanics get away with ripping people off is because the people hiring them don’t know anything about the car that they drive. It doesn’t take much time or effort to get a bit of basic information on your vehicle before you visit a garage – and if it makes you seem more knowledgeable about your car, then it’s less likely you’ll be taken for a ride. We have all seen undercover programs where cars have been taken to a garage for a service and certain parts that should be changed during that service are sprayed or marked with a chemical only seen under a UV light and when the owner gets their car back after paying the bill these parts they have paid for have not even been fitted - it happens and garages like these give the honest garages and mechanics out there a bad name - recommendation and reputation really is a strong indicator of a good honest garage - we all want to save money but cheap is not always a good indicator and sometimes neither is a high street brand name.

Never tell a mechanic that you know nothing at all about cars because by doing that, if you are unfortunate enough to have unknowingly found yourself a suspect garage or mechanic then you may as well write them a blank cheque! Be confident and firm, at the very least know the basics like the make and model of your vehicle, engine size, the type of oil used and when you last had it serviced (date and miles) and don’t be bullied into accepting anything you’re not happy with - tell them if need be that you will take it away for a second opinion. Make sure you are consulted before any additional repairs are made above and beyond what you agreed in your written quote - sometimes other faults are revealed when parts are removed from your car during repairs - this is in no way a sign of a dodgy mechanic or a garage that is looking to rip you off. If in any doubt you can always ask the garage to keep the parts that they have removed/replaced so that you can take them with you! Happy Safe Motoring Folks!

Here at ACC UK Ltd, Winners of The Motor Trader Independent Garage of The Year 2015, 2019 & 2020,  The Inspire Customer Service Excellence 2016 Award, The Eagle Radio Customer Focus 2017 Business Award, The Workshop Magazine Workshop Manager of the Year 2017 Award, The LiveWire Excellence In Vehicle Servicing 2019 Award and The Aftermarket Excellence Award for Best Website 2019, The Eagle Radio Biz Award – Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 & the SME News Magazine Most Trusted Car Servicing Provider 2020, we pride ourselves on offering an outstanding customer experience for a fraction of the cost of a dealership. Give us a call and let us quote you for your next service or repair on your Volvo or Toyota. We service all areas around Farnborough, Fleet, Aldershot, Farnham, Guildford, Frimley, Camberley, Hook, Sandhurst, Crowthorne, Yateley, Hampshire and Surrey. We offer free collection and drop off services. We also have a fleet of courtesy cars to allow you to get on with your schedule whilst your Volvo or Toyota is with us. Happy Motoring from all at ACC UK Ltd – Independent Volvo & Toyota servicing, repair and MOT specialists based in the heart of Farnborough, Hampshire.