Garages in the UK may be putting motorists at greater risk of road traffic accidents and serious injury by failing to repair even the most basic faults with cars a report found last month.
A survey conducted by consumer giant Which? concluded that a worrying 87% of garages missed at least one potentially dangerous fault, despite the introduction of several codes of conduct designed to improve servicing standards. The watchdog asked 62 of its members to book their car in for a service, but before the cars went in for the work Which? deliberately introduced four basic, but fundamental faults which they agreed any garage should be able to spot and rectify with no problem.
A flat tyre on both the spare and nearside rear, dangerously low brake fluid level and a blown bulb in the reversing light should be picked up by even the most basically-trained mechanic, but only eight of the 62 garages tested spotted all four of them. Incredibly, five of the garages rectified precisely none of them, a statistic which prompted Peter Vicary-Smith, the chief executive of Which? to say, ‘This is a worrying snapshot of an industry which desperately needs to clean up its act. Almost all the garages failed to fix basic faults. This could have endangered the lives of drivers and other road users.’
The most serious statistic was that 48% of the service centres did not spot that the brake fluid was dangerously low, which could have had disastrous consequences if unaddressed. Additionally, as a measure of the garages’ honesty, Which? ensured that the cars’ screenwash was topped up, and yet 39% of the garages charged for it anyway.
This will not exactly help to bolster garages’ reputations, with mechanics regularly appearing on internet lists of the ‘most distrusted’ professions. It also gives the industry a headache; this cannot be blamed on a few bad eggs in the business – nine in ten of these garages failed to spot all four faults, despite the Good Garage Service issuing a list of standard checks, including the four in the Which? survey, to their members. Rachel Greasby, from the GGS, said she was disappointed with the results of the survey.
She said: “Once we have further details on which garages are involved, a full investigation on why they are not using the checklists will be launched and they will be removed or suspended from the scheme as necessary. The point is, does this make a difference? The Good Garage Service is supposed to provide a seal of approval for consumers, so they know where they will receive the best service. But if members are allowed to join and are then retroactively monitored, is there any point in the scheme existing at all? Of all the car insurance claims submitted in the UK every year, 75% of them involve a claim for whiplash injury. With half of garages apparently failing to check something as basic as the safe operation of the braking system, is it any surprise?
Source: BBC News