Before booking your car in for a service with your local mechanics, if you have a PCP finance agreement or an extended warranty, you ‘may’ be encouraged to, or have to, use a car dealership for servicing, but more on that later.
When did the law about car servicing change?
In 2003, new EU legislation came into force preventing car dealerships from insisting new car owners only use their official network of garages.
And, just in case you’re worrying, this legislation still stands even though the UK has now left the European Union, and as far as we know, there are no plans to revert.
Which garages can I use for car servicing?
Because of the EU legislation, you can pretty much use any garage you like, but there are a few important criteria to bear in mind when choosing a garage, including:
Is the garage reputable?
This one sounds obvious, but how can you find out if the garage you choose is reputable? Luckily, there are a few ways to check a garage’s reputability, including checking online reviews, such as Trustpilot etc., or using social media to ask a friend or colleague you trust.
Does the garage provide a reasonable quote?
Once you’ve found a garage that appears to be reputable, get a quote for the work that needs to be carried out, and before giving the go-ahead, check other local garages to see if your original quote is reasonable.
If your chosen garage doesn’t or won’t give you a full quote, including parts, labour and VAT, before carrying out the work, avoid them, otherwise you may end up with a huge bill you weren’t expecting.
Does the garage use genuine parts?
To protect your manufacturers warranty, check that the garage you choose uses genuine replacement parts, and fits them according to the manufacturers guidelines. If they don’t, this could invalidate your warranty, especially if the part or repair causes another issue.
Does the garage appear reputable?
Our first impressions or instincts of a business are often justified, and this is the same when it comes to choosing a good garage for your car servicing.
If the staff are rude or disrespectful, don’t explain the work that needs to be done and why, or just make you feel uneasy, this attitude is probably reflected in their work.
Also, if the premises looks unnecessarily dirty or untidy, or if it’s obvious safety isn’t being taken seriously, you may be better off choosing another garage.
What is a PCP agreement, and does it mean I need to use the dealership to service my car?
A PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) finance agreement is a way to make financing a car easier, by allowing you to just pay for part of the value of the vehicle, and then having the option to buy it of give it back at the end of the agreement.
Because you don’t actually own the car, some people assume you’re limited as to where you can get it serviced. Thankfully, this isn’t the case, and the EU legislation mentioned above still stands, even if you’ve financed your vehicle with a PCP loan.
However, as with a manufacturers warranty, if you’ve financed your car with a PCP loan, the garage you choose must still use genuine parts, and stick to the manufacturers guidelines for the contract to remain valid.
This is why, although you can use any garage for servicing without invalidating your PCP agreement, it’s vital you choose a reputable garage, and ensure any work carried out is recorded, including the parts used, and the grade of oil etc. should your PCP finance provider ask for proof at the end of the agreement.
If I have an extended warranty, do I have to use a dealership for servicing?
When you buy a new car, it will have a manufacturers warranty, usually 3 years, and this warranty will be safe, even if you get the car serviced at an independent garage.
But, you may also be offered an extended warranty, which could include conditions that you service the car at a nominated garage. So, before signing up to anything, check the small print, and ask questions.
If you’d like to find out more about protecting your cars warranty, or if you’re looking for reputable, local car servicing, including Mercedes servicing, Skoda servicing and Audi servicing in Milton Keynes, contact Quality Car Service today, either via the website, by email or by phone.