September 30, 2022

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Savvy Car Technicians

Why the cost of car repairs is set to rise in the coming months


Cost of car repairs to rise in second half of the year: Three in five garages will hike prices due to a shortage of parts and higher energy prices

  • Some 63% independent garages and dealership workshops plan price rises
  • Rising operational energy and fuel bills and reduced consumer spending hit the sector in the first half of 2022, businesses told the Motor Ombudsman
  • Motorists are cutting back on both servicing and ad-hoc repairs to save money
  • Shift in MOT patterns caused by Covid lockdown exemption has also taken a toll 

Drivers in Britain are likely to see car repairs and servicing become more expensive in the coming months as a result of the cost of living crisis, according to a new report.

Some 63 per cent of independent garages and dealership workshops told the Motor Ombudsman that they would be looking to increase prices in order to stay afloat after a difficult opening six months of 2022.

A combination of steeper energy bills and motorists cutting back on spending as a result of tightened purse strings during the cost of living crisis has put a big strain on the nation’s motor repairs sector.

A shortage of parts, record-high fuel prices and fewer MOTs in the first six months of the year also had a major impact on garages in the year to date, the study found.

Is the cost of car repairs set to get more expensive? Three in five garages polled by the Motor Ombudsman said they are looking to increase their prices in the second half of 2022

Is the cost of car repairs set to get more expensive? Three in five garages polled by the Motor Ombudsman said they are looking to increase their prices in the second half of 2022

‘In light of their view of the months ahead, around six in ten survey respondents said that they would be looking to increase prices to remain profitable in the face of higher overheads,’ the Motor Ombudsman said.

Increasing operational costs was highlighted as the biggest strain on the sector in the opening six months of the year, as four in five motor repairers said this has now become their biggest concern.

The same proportion of respondents said their bottom line had been hit by the significant jump in energy and fuel prices in recent months, which look set to continue rising in 2022.

And the 86 UK businesses responding to the survey said they had already seen evidence of drivers cutting back on spending on their cars as part of efforts to limit outgoings during the crunch.

Some 71 per cent of garages and workshops reported a decline in ad-hoc and routine vehicle maintenance and repairs when compared to the first six months of last year.

Nine in ten said they had seen a year-on-year decrease in drivers booking their vehicles in for an annual service, likely in an effort to reduce their outgoings – something the Motor Ombudsman raised concerns about earlier this year.

Similarly, 58 per cent of businesses said that demand had dropped for the topping-up of fluids, such as oil and air conditioning coolant, with 55 per cent reporting a fall in bookings to replace ‘wear and tear components’, which includes tyres, brake discs and wiper blades.

Some 63% of businesses said they will are looking to increase their prices to offset higher operational costs

Some 63% of businesses said they will are looking to increase their prices to offset higher operational costs

Delays getting hold of replacement parts has also been a major obstacle in the first half of 2022, the report found.

Almost three quarters of garages polled said not having components readily available because of the supply crunch had resulted in loss of business as customers went elsewhere for repairs.

They also said that the first half of the year has been quieter than usual for MOTs, which is a knock-on effect of the test extension introduced at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The six-month exemption –  put in place to allow car owners with MOTs due imminently to legally delay the annual check-up during the first Covid-19 lockdown – has seen many scheduled MOT dates shift from April, May and June in particular to later months, dramatically reducing footfall for businesses in the first half of the year.

A shortage of parts and a big shift in MOT schedules caused by the test exemption introduced during the first Covid-19 lockdown has taken a toll on garages and workshops, the study says

A shortage of parts and a big shift in MOT schedules caused by the test exemption introduced during the first Covid-19 lockdown has taken a toll on garages and workshops, the study says

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman, said: ‘Our research has shown that garages and workshops in the service and repair sector have had to manage a multitude of financial and economic challenges so far this year.

‘With the outlook for the next six months continuing to look difficult, it is unsurprising that service and repair business owners are looking to raise prices to maintain profitability and support staff salaries. 

‘This of course all comes during a period when households, which are already under a financial strain, are set to experience even greater pressure from increasing energy costs before year-end, with vehicle maintenance, as shown in our March survey, taking even more of a back seat for many.’

Drivers urged to book MOTs for second half of the year as early as possible

Demand for MOTs is expected to rise sharply from August and drivers are being warned they might need to book now to secure a slot if their vehicle is due one next month.

DVSA data obtained by BookmyGarage.com shows that the number of vehicles due an MOT will surge by up to 23 per cent in the late summer and into autumn.

The busiest month for MOTs is expected to be September, when as many as 770,000 additional vehicles will require a new test. 

In total, nearly 10 million vehicles are expected to need an MOT during September, October, and November, the report said.

Before the rising demand puts pressure on the UK’s network of certified MOT workshops, BookMyGarage.com is urging drivers to beat the rush and to make a booking early.

DVSA records show there will likely be a big surge in MOT demand in August through to November as a knock-on effect of the 6-month test exemption put in place at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020

DVSA records show there will likely be a big surge in MOT demand in August through to November as a knock-on effect of the 6-month test exemption put in place at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020

Karen Rotberg, co-founder of BookMyGarage, said: ‘We anticipated the dip in demand for MOTs earlier this year, and looking at the data again, the die has been cast and we will see a significant wave of vehicles requiring an MOT from August onwards. 

‘While September will likely be the busiest month, once we are into August, garages will be getting busy and are likely to put up prices – if drivers book now, however, they could lock-in that price.

‘Motorists should either aim to get their MOT booked in ahead of when it is required by one month or simply book their MOT in advance. With the harsh fines and possible penalty points at stake, it is crucial to avoid letting MOTs expire.’

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