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    • MSE Nick
    • By MSE Nick 9th Sep 16, 11:43 AM
    • 195Posts
    • 63Thanks
    MSE Nick
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I abandon my local garage for a cheaper MOT?
    • #1
    • 9th Sep 16, 11:43 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I abandon my local garage for a cheaper MOT? 9th Sep 16 at 11:43 AM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    I've been getting my car serviced and MOT'd at the same local garage for the last seven years. Last year they kindly welded a snapped exhaust for free instead of charging me the £200 to get it replaced. 10 months down the line and I get a voucher from a big online car parts firm for an MOT at half the price my local charges - should I stick with my faithful local and just swallow the extra cost?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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    Last edited by MSE Nick; 09-09-2016 at 11:45 AM.
Page 3
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 14th Sep 16, 10:28 PM
    • 576 Posts
    • 507 Thanks
    When the new garage fails your car for its MOT and says you need £400 worth of repairs will you think yourself stupid for trying to save half the charge of the MOT?

    Stick with the garage that you know and trust.
    • gaving7095
    • By gaving7095 14th Sep 16, 11:45 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 90 Thanks
    If you switch you'll almost definitely get what you deserve.
    • AnneMary
    • By AnneMary 15th Sep 16, 12:21 AM
    • 36 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    A reliable garage that you trust, has reasonable charges and will go out of its way to help you is worth far more than anything you could save with your voucher.
    I don't see the MOT as a bit of paper which the government say I have to get; I see it as someone I trust telling me my car is safe to drive around in. How can you want that cut price?
    • Cornishmummy
    • By Cornishmummy 15th Sep 16, 12:33 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Local Loyalty
    They have shown loyalty to you and a mechanic you can trust is invaluable! I would suggest that you could regret switching to try and save a small sum as it could end up costing you a lot more.
    • Augustus the Strong
    • By Augustus the Strong 15th Sep 16, 8:29 AM
    • 280 Posts
    • 292 Thanks
    Augustus the Strong
    Stuck with your good local garage - the cost of the MOT itself is a small proportion of the potential cost, if you go to a garage which is looking for work enough to put out an offer like this.
    • worried jim
    • By worried jim 15th Sep 16, 8:36 AM
    • 7,478 Posts
    • 11,075 Thanks
    worried jim
    So to tally so far- every single poster has said to stick with the local garage. Seems fairly unanimous.
    "Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe"
    Albert Einstein
    • ndeg
    • By ndeg 15th Sep 16, 9:05 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    I wouldn't trust a cut price Mot offer. They could invent work that doesn't need doing to bump up the bill. You are already a customer of a garage that values your business, hence the welding job, and if you've had them do your MoT's for 7 years they will catch on you have gone elsewhere when you go back to them for more work to your car, especially if they send out MoT reminders. You'll lose out on their goodwill towards you if you're not careful.
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 15th Sep 16, 10:28 AM
    • 376 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    Stick with your own garage, sounds like they look after you!
    • vinylc
    • By vinylc 15th Sep 16, 10:35 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    You get what you pay for
    I once overheard an argument at my local 'big chain of fitters that are quick' between a customer who had taken their vehicle away to repair the points on which it had failed its MOT, only for it to fail on different points in the re-test a few days later The response from the garage was that their MOT testers are not staff but contractors and that there is no guarantee that a re-test is carried out by the same person. Different testers can take different views on things. Sure their MOTs are cheaper, and if you pass you win. It's the customer service experience when things like this happen that distinguish independent places that trade on their reputation and recommendations versus the big chains that trade on their brand and on tempting special offers. There's no right answer to the original question. Personally I split my car maintenance between the big chains and my local independent. I generally use the chains for the routine stuff where I specify the work (eg oil change, filters, brakes, tyres), and my trusted independent when I want diagnostics or advice. For MOTs, I put my newer car (that I expect to pass) through the chains with their discounts and my older one with the independent garage where I can trust the advice.
    • MrsPBikerChick
    • By MrsPBikerChick 15th Sep 16, 3:02 PM
    • 77 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    My husband is a mechanic and as a result is outrageously picky about who works on his cars if its not him. There are only two places we trust - the local Council MOT center for our old Land Rovers and a small local chain for normal car MOTs and any tyre work. We do virtually all our own repairs and servicing.

    The only time I've used a big chain for an MOT (because I stupidly got caught out with dates) they tried to tell me I needed new brake discs and pads. When I pointed out that they were replaced less than 2 months previously the chain tried to tell me the garage who did the work must have fitted dodgy parts. When I then said that I had done the replacement myself with brand new parts and could they please show me the problem so I could speak to the parts manufacturer they all of a sudden said it was a paperwork mix up and of course my car didn't need new brakes... That told me everything I needed to know about that particular chain!

    If you have a trusted garage then stick with them. The amount you'll save in avoiding unnecessary repairs will far outweigh the £20 you'll save off the MOT.
    I don't like chick flicks, I get grazed knuckles doing my own car repairs and I ride a massive cruiser motorbike. To many this makes me a bloke in disguise but to my husband this makes me perfect
    • Joe Horner
    • By Joe Horner 15th Sep 16, 4:12 PM
    • 3,544 Posts
    • 2,862 Thanks
    Joe Horner
    Just had my partner's Mundano in for MOT today @ our local trusted (£40 fee so not the cheapest but not "full price").

    Thanks to a dose of bronchitis I only found the energy to do a very basic lights, horn & screenwash check (tyres were changed last week anyway) and it failed on a CV boot clip and a missing exhaust mount. By the time I got there to collect both were done and the pass issued, included in the test fee.

    Ok, so parts price is pence and no real work while it's in the air anyway, but you simply don't get that from national chains. Also more than happy to have the fail-then-pass recorded (as it should be) because it shows the car was actually looked at!
    • Mal25
    • By Mal25 15th Sep 16, 6:39 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Are you serious?
    Can't believe you're even asking this question. Repay the fantastic service you received with a bit of loyalty.
    • JKB01
    • By JKB01 18th Sep 16, 6:19 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Stick with the place you know and trust. The big organisations use cheap MOTs as a loss leader to sell parts and labour, sometimes completely bogus parts and labour.
    • MABLE
    • By MABLE 18th Sep 16, 6:21 PM
    • 2,965 Posts
    • 1,561 Thanks
    With me I always get a major service done when the MOT is due with my local ind. garage. However I ways get the brakes, exhaust, tyres checked before hand at at specialised place because I know my ind. would be more expensive.

    Also the MOT is about £54.00 but the service provided is excellent and to us feels like a new car afterwards.

    A few years ago I went to Kwik Fit for the mot and service. Never, never again. They were just looking for work. It came to the point they even suggested they put a new engine in. Idiots.
    Last edited by MABLE; 18-09-2016 at 6:25 PM.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 18th Sep 16, 6:43 PM
    • 992 Posts
    • 1,571 Thanks
    Another one for sticking with the local garage. He's provided good service to you for the past seven years and saved you a lot of money too- show a bit of loyalty in return!

    Bear in mind that small garages depend on their local reputation to get and retain custom. You are llikely to get a much better job from your small garage than you ever will from the big garage, as the small garage has so much more to lose if things go wrong. And I can almost guarantee if any work needs to be done because of the MOT, it will be a LOT cheaper - in the case of my local garage, it was 50%, which was a lot when the big garage wanted to charge me £1500.
    Originally posted by CapricornLass
    THIS ^^^: As a retired workshop foreman, that is exactly how I ran the place, we looked after loyal customers. And I have also carried out small repairs to loyal customers' cars, including exhaust welding, headlamp beam adustment, etc., for little or no money. Keeps a business in good repute, keeps customers happy to return.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • Tassie01
    • By Tassie01 21st Sep 16, 9:45 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Stick with your local garage. I used a cheaper MOT voucher with Halfords but you must check the small print as it did not include a 'free retest' and as my vehicle failed in the first instance I had to pay a full price MOT anyway so it ended up costing me more.
    • jimjames
    • By jimjames 21st Sep 16, 1:20 PM
    • 10,459 Posts
    • 8,439 Thanks
    I go to our local council. Costs £45 and as they don't do repairs, only the test, it's not in their interests to invent unnecessary faults etc.
    Originally posted by ouraggie
    Local garage charges £35. Been going there years and always very fair.
    So it is possible to have a cheap MOT and decent garage too.
    Remember the saying: if it looks too good to be true it almost certainly is.
    • crmism
    • By crmism 22nd Sep 16, 4:44 PM
    • 23 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    I have no personal experience of it, but I've heard that some MOT stations which charge less have the habit of finding things wrong and making their money that way. There is always a danger of an unfamiliar firm cutting corners, too.

    If an MOT by your local garage costs, say, £50 as opposed to £30-40, I'd stick with it. They did you a favour last year and are evidently reliable and not ones to profit at your expense. Loyalty does count for something, and getting to know the individuals who look after your vehicle is important - they will look after you, as they did last year.
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