How much was your last car service?
29th November 2012
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There was a time when I remember various of my neighbours spending Saturday or Sunday up to their elbows in oil and grease servicing the family car. The swearing was an education for me in more ways than one. Not only did I learn a number of terms rarely seen in books, but also helped confirm that I had little fascination for what went on underneath car bodywork.

Do you remember your first new car? Mine was a metalic blue Fiesta Finesse which of course was my pride and joy. Servicing was done by the local Ford dealer which at that time was essential, not only to maintain the warranty, but also to have authorised stamps in the service book which affected the second-hand value. Given the poor service and value offered at our dealer I am glad to say that things have changed.

True, cars are more complex nowadays, principally around the electronics. All modern cars have more electronics than the technology that put man on the moon. For a time, car manufacturers held their customers to ransom by forcing them to use their dealer network due to these complex systems which they claimed could only be properly looked after by them due to their specialist training and diagnostic equipment requirements. The EEC under their Block Exemption Rules changed all this which meant that servicing completed outside the dealer network (provided only authorised parts are used) is valid.

The electronics issue can still be a problem unless your independent specialist has invested in the equipment and training to allow him to interpret the error codes issued by your car's systems. I know that my engineer, Nick Connor of NC Engineering keeps fully up to date with the necessary technology. Moving outside the main dealer network is now not only possible, but a no-brainer as immediately you are not paying for the smart showrooms and operating theatre-style workshops. Hourly rates for main dealers vary considerably but can exceed £150 an hour A recent survey by Auto Express found charges up to £175 per hour.

There is also the issue of trust. I am certain many dealers are on the side of the motorist, only looking to complete the servicing schedule laid out for your car. But how do you know if the oil has actually been changed? New filters? Spark plugs? A good way to be more certain is to speak with the technician who did the service. Most people are too busy to bother, and this is where the temptation for getting a number of cars through every day can be too much for a guy who's salary has a targeted bonus element attached. Things get missed.

Nick charges are around £45 an hour and he can service and repair any make of car. He is particularly interested in keeping Mum's Taxi on the road and has the engineering expertise and integrity that comes from years in the industry. If you want you can look at his testimonials on his website and on thebestof Reading.

Car servicing is not complex or any kind of 'black art' and whilst modern technology puts off the old fashioned weekend 'do-it-yourselfer', Nick is more than capable of keeping your wheels turning. On older cars where a bit more work may be required to get your family heirloom through the MOT, Nick again comes fully equipped to weld, re-fabricate, repair and machine the parts that wear out, rust and become dented over time.

He has even been known to build new cars from old and propel them with a roaring V8 engine down the track at Santa Pod - but perhaps that's a story for another day........

About the Author

Martyn N

Member since: 9th July 2012

With my wife Liz Noble, we re-started thebestofreading in November 2009 with a view to becoming the best marketing service for local companies in Reading - and offering the best local information for...

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