Ed's Comment

Does increased frequency reduce servicing cost?

Published:  21 October, 2014

According to a recent report by Castrol Professional, the average distance a driver goes between vehicle servicing has dropped by 6.5% in 2013 compared to the previous year. Does this mean that driver attitude to servicing is changing?

Last year, the average distance was 5,921 miles between trips to the workshop, down from 6,331 in 2012 and 6,441 in 2011. However, it is still some way off the figure in 2008, when the economic downturn began to take hold, when motorists only travelled 5,422 miles between services.

The report suggests that motorists are still looking at cutting motoring costs, most notably by reducing vehicle usage, with the research showing a 2.8% reduction in annual mileage between 2011 and 2013, to an average of 7,429 miles. Is there another way to cut costs, by ensuring motorists bring that distance between servicing down further?

We all know the longer something is put off, the more costly it becomes. A simple service could flag up things that can be fixed in the future but if the gap between services is left, that potential fix becomes a safety critical item. I know this, despite only covering 6,000 miles between MOTs. My Mondeo ST failed on over 13 points, some I knew about but some could have been highlighted if I had it serviced in that period. It has therefore left me with a bill of nearly £1,000 when perhaps work could have been spread over time.

So the question is, are customers aware of this fact? The fewer miles, the more chance of finding something and especially on older cars. A slightly rusty brake pipe that could be replaced in two months could suddenly be a broken pipe that needs replacing now, with the entire system being re-bled and perhaps unevenly worn discs and pads replaced.

Offering an annual service at six month intervals to the MOT may be the way to go, ensuring customers are aware that safety critical elements can deteriorate rapidly while also helping them to spread the cost. When it comes to saving money, the technicians are the experts.

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