Many women drivers are not able to care for their cars properly because they don’t know how to choose a garage or technician they can trust, recent research reveals. In response, IMI, the professional body for the UK motor industry, is launching a campaign, featuring presenter Suzi Perry, to give women the advice they need.
The IMI survey, carried out by Vital Research & Statistics, found that women are reluctant to go to a professional technician because of worries about spiralling costs and being uncomfortable in a garage environment.
Over a third (36%) admitted to knowing nothing about cars and being totally reliant on their chosen garage for guidance. Yet 22% of women drivers said they were reluctant to deal with garages because they were not comfortable with the atmosphere, 28% also said they were nervous about asking technical questions, and 31% said they were confused by the jargon used by the trade.
A quarter of women drivers admit to never having their car serviced by a professional mechanic. They only deal with problems when they show up on the MOT. IMI fears that this approach makes them vulnerable as consumers and compromises their safety.
They also said they don’t know what they were being charged for in a garage and wouldn’t know how to challenge a bill if they felt it was wrong. Worryingly, nearly 1 in 5 women (17%) said they felt they had been overcharged in the past.
When it came to choosing a garage in an emergency most said that without knowing the difference between a professional and a rogue trader, they simply went for the closest available.
IMI’s campaign addresses all of these issues by giving women the necessary knowledge to confidently deal with garages as well as directing them to skilled and trustworthy technicians in their local area through the online IMI Professional Register, www.imiregister.org.uk.
A series of empowerment videos have also been posted on the IMI website, featuring Registered technician, Vicky Kempton, and the BBC’s Formula 1 presenter Suzi Perry.
IMI CEO Steve Nash said, “Women drivers clearly feel they are in a precarious position as consumers in the motor industry and it’s all about trust. There is a massive knowledge gap between the professional and the customer in this industry and contrary to popular belief, there is no Government protection for them in the form of a license to practice for the motor trade.
“The IMI Professional Register is the only way consumers can be sure they’re choosing a skilled and trustworthy technician to work on their car.”
Steph Savill, Founder of FOXY Lady Drivers Club, the UK’s only motoring association for women, adds: “We recommend that women get their cars serviced once a year at least, choosing the most suitable regime based on annual mileage. This makes financial sense because regularly serviced vehicles are less likely to let them down and often sell at a premium.
“But I worry that 60% of women drivers aren’t members of an emergency recovery service, putting themselves and often children at risk in case of a breakdown, especially if they are scrimping on garage servicing.”
In research carried out by Vital Research & Statistics, 1,000 female car owners said:
|I don’t get my car serviced between MOT’s||25%|
|I’m worried about spiralling costs||17%|
|I don’t feel comfortable choosing a garage||10%|
|I don’t like the atmosphere in a garage||22%|
|I’m nervous asking technical questions||28%|
|I don’t understand the jargon on the bill||31%|
|I’m not treated with respect||13%|
|I wouldn’t challenge my bill||32%|
|I don’t know anything about cars||36%|