Aug 292008

Car MOTThe cost of maintaining a car could ‘spiral out of control’ as garages start to charge up to £200 an hour*.

According to data released by insurer, Warranty Direct, labour rates for mechanics nationwide have increased 11.3 percent since the summer of 2006 to £75.17 an hour on average. At the same time, prices at independent garages have risen the sharpest to narrow the gap with the traditionally more expensive franchised dealer networks.

The average franchise dealer is charging £94.70 an hour today compared to £87.91 in 2006 – up 7.7 percent. In comparison, the average rate for a mechanic at an independent garage has leaped by 14.9 percent over the same period – from £48.43 to £55.63.

Warranty Direct analysed labour rates at nearly 2,000 garages to highlight the dramatic price differences that occur across the country.

Greater London is the most expensive region at £94.26 an hour (average of franchised and independent), which falls to £68.70 for the City of Edinburgh, £78.81 across Merseyside and a similar figure of £78.01 for Cornwall.

The Capital was also home to the most expensive dealer, charging £198.86 an hour.

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct, warns that labour rates are likely to continue to rise in the current climate.

“This is not great news for motorists who are already feeling the pinch at the pumps.

“Car sales are falling, used car residuals are falling, and people are putting off that annual service. As economic conditions worsen, prices could rise further to compensate the general downward trend.”