Have you ever been on a car service comparison site and seen the term ‘Fixed Price Servicing’ – what does that actually mean? We want to give you some information about car service pricing and explain why there may be additional charges on top, that seem unexpected and what you can do.
So you’ve always serviced your car according to the servicing schedule and your car has never had any issues. That’s a great position to be in and you hope that this continues. You go on to a comparison website and find your nearest and best price car servicing shop and ask for a quote based on the make and model of your car and the year of its production. The computer spits out a figure of $350 which you accept and book in. You know what the service will cost you and you’re confident that you won’t be out of pocket.
You drop your car off and get a lift to the train station from the friendly apprentice. A few hours down the track the car mechanic calls to let you know that they’ve carried out your service, but they have also found an issue with a XXX which will cost an additional $289 to fix. The mechanic recommends it be done today as the problem will only get worse and more expensive. You are blind sighted and upset because your ‘Fixed Price Car Service” is now a $600 job and that is not what you agreed to pay.
Before you blame the mechanic for trying to rip you off, there are a few things to understand. Firstly, the price you receive from a fixed price website is based on a list of servicing tasks that are recommended across the board for all cars of that make and model, age and kilometres….things like oil and fluid changes, suspension checks, spark plugs etc. These are standard servicing procedures and do not take any additional issues your vehicle may have. Anything outside of the scoped list that the mechanic finds are not included in the fixed car service as it requires specific work, repairs and possibly pricey parts. So be aware that while you may be doing the right thing in servicing your vehicle, occasionally things do go wrong that are out of your control and that will cost more to repair than a standard service.
Your mechanic will (or at least they should) always let you know that they have found an additional issue and explain what that problem is, how much it will cost to fix and what the implications are for not repairing it. This way you will have all the information you need in order to make an informed decision about the repair. And remember, your mechanic is there to ensure your safety and that of your passengers, and while sometimes there are unexpected costs involved with repairs, servicing every six months will ensure that any issues are caught early and do not turn into huge problems that put you out of pocket.
Remember also that cheaper is not always best, and while we are all cost conscious and do not wish to part with our hard earned money, it is in your best interest and that of your vehicle, that you have the work carried out by a professional, certified mechanic that uses genuine parts or the equivalent to ensure your car will keep running at its best.