Drivers in the dark about costs

The maximum cost of an hour’s work for a garage mechanic now stands at more than £230, according to a nationwide study by automotive service and repair start-up motoreasy.

Overall, the UK average labour rate – combining main dealers, independent workshops and fast-fit outlets – is £67 an hour.

Analysis of 6,000 garages from across the UK found that, on average, Surrey is the most expensive place to have work done to your car, with an average hourly rate of just over £81. At the other end of the scale, Scottish county Selkirkshire has the cheapest average at £49.69.

The highest individual hourly labour rate of £234 an hour was found at a prestige sportscar manufacturer’s dealership in Reading. The cheapest, offered by an independent workshop in Manchester, was just £36.

The list of the top 10 most expensive regions of the UK is dominated by areas in the south with London the second-most expensive place for labour rates behind Surrey. Worcestershire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Kent, East Susses and Bedfordshire were also in the top 10.

After Selkirkshire, Shetland, Inverness, Caithness, Outer Hebrides, Gwent, north Humberside, County Durham, Renfrewshire and Powys were the other cheapest regions.

Franchised workshops are generally more expensive, with an average UK labour rate of £99 compared with an independent garage average of £56, but more than three quarters of motorists (77%) admit they have no idea how much they pay for an hour of labour.

More than three in five (62%) say they don’t shop around to get the best price and nearly a third (31%) don’t even check the final bill before paying.

Duncan McClure Fisher, motoreasy founder, said, ‘Today’s drivers don’t have the time or, in many cases, the knowledge to make absolutely sure they are getting the best price from garages. It’s not made any easier by the fact that the cost of labour differs so vastly across the UK. Even so, anyone spending money should at least understand how much they are paying and for what.’