By Nathan Cooper

Working in the motor retail sector, which I have done for over 15 years, you can become blinded to what consumers can see is completely obvious. Establishing the cost of a car service is one of those areas, based on a pub conversation with friends.

When a conversation came round to car servicing, two broadly held perceptions dominated:

  1. A car’s warranty is dependent upon getting it serviced at the franchise dealer (a friend thought it had to be to franchised standards, but they were unsure what this meant).
  2. Franchised dealer servicing is considered to be expensive, but the group were unanimous in not knowing the cost because dealers seldom show it online and cars service schedules vary so much.

The last point about the lack of pricing transparency rankled, but it was not something I had ever considered. Back at my desk, I let Google be my friend. Sure enough, the overwhelming experience was that minimal service pricing information was to be found on franchised dealer sites, OEM sites or even on some of the well-known fast-fits. There were plenty of references to service plans, but again there was little or no pricing information.

To the question in the heading – Why are vehicle servicing costs such a big secret? – I did find an article from February about servicing costs, which related to a news story published by a booking provider for vehicle service and repair work. Its website highlights that almost 10 million car drivers have embraced their online model. The story compared average servicing costs by ‘fuel’ type:

  • Diesel cars – £163 on average
  • Hybrid vehicles – £159
  • Petrol cars – £151
  • EVs – £103

Candidly, these numbers all surprised me and perhaps go some way to explaining why much of the franchised community appears to avoid sharing its prices because, with the possible exception of a BEV, they seem low.

While I feel I ought to know the answer to the headline question, I’m not sure I do. In an online age, when I want to establish the cost of everything I might purchase in advance, it somehow does not feel right not to share such information transparently and to back up the price with the benefits. For anyone in the industry, I welcome your views on any of my observations.