North/south divide for parts costs

When looking at the most common vehicle repairs, recent analysis by car finance provider Moneybarn has revealed large differences in prices across the UK when comparing car parts against labour costs.

Moneybarn has calculated how much drivers are likely to be charged for nine different car repairs at professional garages depending on where they live in the UK, compared with the cost of the individual car part.

The most shocking comparison is the average price of a cylinder head gasket component compared to its labour costs. In London there is a whopping 97% price difference with an average repair costing £821. This is also a service that is delivered over £200 cheaper in the West Midlands.

This is closely followed by the difference in price between a fuel filter part and its labour costs. Londoners are being charged, on average, £79 for this repair despite the part costing under £8 online (a 90% price difference). In the North West, drivers could expect to pay £20 less for the same service.

Proportionately, a battery replacement has the smallest price hike, with a 72% average difference between the part and cost of labour. The labour rate for this part is cheapest in the North West, closely followed by Scotland and the West Midlands.

Moneybarn’s research also shows a clear north/south divide when it comes to labour costs, with London, East Anglia, South East, East Midlands and the South West seeing the largest repair charges.

Scotland performs consistently well and it’s the second cheapest region behind the North West for all car repairs except a replacement cylinder head gasket. Wales and Northern Ireland are middle of the road when it comes to the cost of car repairs, but drivers are still getting better value for money than those in the South East.

Sales and marketing director Simon Bayley said, ‘The price difference between the cost of car parts and labour costs is staggering, especially when comparing north and south prices.

‘Understanding that some of these repairs can take over four hours to fix, there is no surprise mechanics charge a significant amount for labour. But for those repairs that don’t take up too much time, it’s quite shocking to see how much these can cost.

‘That said, you can’t put a price tag on the safety of motorists and the public. Regular maintenance upkeep should help prevent major problems occurring with your vehicle. If drivers do find a fault, they should take it to a garage immediately. You can still do research from home to find reasonable garage and mechanic costs in your area.’