Sheila’s Wheels discovers gender inequality

Contrary to popular belief, women pay less than men for identical car repairs at UK independent garages.

A new study has found that women pay on average 13 per cent less than their male counterparts, according to research carried out by car insurer Sheila’s Wheels.

It sent a 2011 Ford Fiesta in need of service and repairs to 100 independent garages, and found that men were quoted £106 for a minor service compared to £94 for women for the same job.

And the older the driver, the more discrepancy in the price; men aged 60 and over were quoted 32 per cent more to change an alternator than women of the same age. On average, the men were asked to pay £258, while the 60+ women were only asked for £196 for the work. Older men were also charged 26 per cent more for a basic service and 17 per cent more to fit a new set of brake pads than older women.

The study said, ‘Cars are becoming increasingly technical, which means most of us are in turn becoming less and less savvy about car maintenance – men as well as women. This means you can now be ripped off whatever your gender.”

Sheilas’ Wheels spokesperson Elspeth Hackett, added, ‘Taking your car to a garage can be a confusing and costly experience – especially for those with limited motoring knowledge – and the imbalance of knowledge can lead drivers vulnerable to rip offs and sharp practice whatever your gender.

‘Even if you have no knowledge of car maintenance, it can pay to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about your car when it goes wrong. It’s best to search the internet for details about the problem and find out average costs – and then shop around at local garages to see what they would charge.’