How to avoid rip-off garages
  1. Remember above all else that garages are not regulated, and mechanics don't have to be licensed to repair cars. Shoddy car repairs can cost lives and used car sales are the number one complaint for Citizens Advice. That’s why you must be careful which garage you choose.
  2. Check if the garage is part of a Trading Standards Institute Approved Code scheme. If it is, it will display a Motor Codes or Bosch Car Service logo.
  3. Ask an individual mechanic if they are a member of the Institute of the Motor Industry or listed on their Professional Register. This means they have invested in automotive technician accreditation and are likely better than the rest.
  4. Shop around for a best-value combined MOT and car-servicing quote each year. If you choose an unknown garage and the cheapest quote you may be running risks. The work might not be done properly or at all; cheap parts are a false economy and the final price might end up a lot more.
  5. Garage brokers and comparison websites don't own garages but often promise big savings over franchised dealerships. Make sure you know which garage will be doing the work concerned, then do your homework about them as per points 2 and 3. When a third party is involved they might not be on your side if things go wrong. 
  6. A cheap MOT can be a come on for expensive remedial work – know the garage/name before you trust them.
  7. A good independent garage is usually the best car-servicing choice for an older (cherished) model. But many franchised dealerships are increasingly competitive so include them on your shopping list. At least you know their staff are trained/qualified to the manufacturer's standard.
  8. Pick a FOXY Lady Approved garage if you want all the checking done for you.
  • Thanks to Steph Savill of FOXY Lady Drivers Club (the UK's only motoring club for women) and FOXY Choice (a female-friendly network of car dealers, garages and repairers) for her expert tips. Steph has featured on Channel 4’s Mary Portas Secret Shopper.