Dealers slammed for charging up to £180 for basic car check

Dealers slammed for charging up to £180 for basic car check
Dealers slammed for charging up to £180 for basic car check

Some car dealers are charging customers up to £180 for a simple 30-minute diagnostic check.

An investigation into the prices charged by franchised dealers uncovered the shocking labour rates and revealed huge variation between dealers within the same brand network.

The survey of costs by maintenance service Motoreasy revealed that while the national hourly labour rate is £67, some premiums brands are charging nearly three times that for a simple computer diagnostic check.

Read more: Most reliable car brands: BMW bottom of the heap as mainstream models dominate

Individual dealers for Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and BMW all quoted £180 to hook up their diagnostics equipment to a customer’s car. The cheapest dealer was a Honda dealer who offered to carry out the check for free.

Fault finding

Diagnostic checks are carried out by plugging into a car’s on-board computer to find error codes and faults logged.

Top 10 most expensive average diagnostic check quotes

Manufacturer Price
1. Land Rover £180
2. Jaguar £135
3. Alfa Romeo £134
4. Toyota £128
5. Mercedes £117
6. Mitsubishi £117
7. BMW £115
8. Volvo £ 114
9. Fiat £110
10. Kia £110

On average, Land Rover was the most expensive brand nationally but also the only manufacturer to quote a standard price across the dealer network. The best value diagnostic checks were to be found at Honda, with dealers charging an average of just £38.

For some manufacturers, prices for checks vary massively within the same network. The biggest disparity for a diagnostic check was at Toyota with one dealer charging £30 and another quoting £155.

Garage costs
An electronic diagnostic check looks for error codes and warnings in a car’s on-board computers

Franchised dealers also disagreed on how long the diagnostic check would take, with some telling MotorEasy researchers it was a simple 30 minute job while others claimed they would keep the car for a full day.


MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “The results of our investigation are further evidence of how difficult dealerships make getting a car serviced and repaired. Not only do they use confusing jargon, there’s no standard pricing that consumers can follow in order to make sure they’re not ripped off.

“There’s a reasonable expectation that the price for a simple diagnostic check should be the same for your car no matter which dealership in the network you visit but sadly that’s not the case. The industry needs to clean up its act to start building trust with owners.”

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