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Garage labour rates climb to record high

2nd November 2010 Print

The cost of getting a mechanic to fix your car is on the rise again, according to the annual Warranty Direct Labour Rates Survey.

With some motorists still being charged up to £190 an hour, the national average cost of garage labour (franchised dealers and independent workshops combined) has risen by 5.81% to £74.82 over the past 12 months.

Warranty Direct found franchised dealers were nearly 40% more expensive than their independent competitors.

Despite the national rise, some regions have seen marked falls with Greater London down 2.5%. However, the biggest drops were saved for the north, with Northumberland and Lanarkshire mechanics reducing their hourly charges by 12.7% and 12.6% respectively.

The average labour rate for franchised dealers is now £90.59 (up from £87.19 last year) with independents standing at £55.90 (£52.69 in 2009).

The annual Warranty Direct Labour Rates Survey found Surrey to be the most expensive place to get your car repaired in the UK, with an average cost per hour of £87.59. The highest hourly rate found was a franchised dealer in Hertfordshire charging £190.35.

Residents of Cardiff and Suffolk are the biggest losers this year; motorists could be forced to pay an additional 19.09% in the Welsh capital and 22.17% in the Eastern English county.

“The once relentless upward march of labour rates appears to have started again after a slight dip last year,” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “To avoid paying above inflationary rises, motorists need to shop around, and not be afraid to push their preferred repairer to charge them less.”

The least expensive counties are almost exclusively to be found in Northern England and Scotland, with the residents of the Isle of Wight and Mid-Glamorgan the exceptions.  

To share stories of outlandishly high bills, poor workmanship or bad service, visit

The annual Warranty Direct Labour Rates Survey is based on analysis of thousands of franchised and independent garages nationwide.