Only One in Five Car Services Carried Out Correctly

Expert vehicle examiner checks on cars recently serviced by Warwickshire garages has revealed that only one had been carried out to a satisfactory standard, despite owners paying on average £306!

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service offered Warwickshire residents the opportunity to have their car’s service quality checked for free by an expert vehicle examiner. Five residents took up the offer, each of whom had paid a garage on average £306 to have their car serviced.

Trading Standards Officers were disappointed to find that only one of the five vehicles had been serviced correctly. The expert vehicle examiner carried out lengthy and thorough checks on all the vehicles. What he found was that some work had been carried out incorrectly, whilst other issues that should have been reported to the owner had not.

Problems included failing to notice faults on the steering mechanism and two cases where engine oil had been over-filled (which can cause engine damage) whilst failing to top up the coolant (which can lead to overheating).

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Most consumers are not car experts; they rely on their garage to carry a proper service so their vehicle remains both safe and roadworthy.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee added: “Warwickshire Trading Standards will continue to work with garages across Warwickshire to help ensure that service standards are maintained and take action when they are not.”

All vehicle owners received written information on their car’s condition and some immediately returned to the garages where their vehicles had been serviced to have the problems rectified.

Trading Standards Officers will be using the intelligence gathered to carry out further enforcement work.

Garages that persistently fail to carry out adequate car services could face court action and be named and shamed.

Trading Standards experts guide to checking your own vehicle service

Whilst it might be difficult to check everything, when you get your vehicle back it’s always worth looking it over and comparing the service schedule with what you can see has actually been done.

Check the oil dipstick. Does the oil look clean or is it dirty? Is it at the correct level or has it been over or under filled?

Are your tyre pressures correct? Check your tyres using the air pump at your local petrol station

There are a number of fluid reservoir levels you can see and check under your car’s bonnet including:

  • Windscreen washer fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Coolant

If you’re more skilled you may be able to check that the air, pollen and oil filters have been changed.

If you’re not sure what to look for, there are plenty of guidance videos on YouTube, search: ‘how to service your car uk’

Always consult your car’s manual before attempting any maintenance work on your vehicle.

If you believe that your vehicle has not been serviced properly, for example if service items have been missed or you have paid for work that has not been carried out, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for help and advice on 03454 040506.