New research shows that if you live in London, you could pay up to 42% more for your car’s servicing and MOT than you would in Stoke-on-Trent. Such disparities have been highlighted by‘s research into the often murky waters of the trade. South West London is the priciest area, with a service and MOT costing an average of £195.95.

Snapping at the region’s heels are Leicester (£187.85), Portsmouth (£186.08), Bristol (£180.72) and Nottingham (£176.32). At the other end of the spectrum is Stoke-on-Trent with an average cost of £113.06, followed by Walsall (£117.89), Doncaster (£127.20) and Coventry (£127.99). Scott Hamilton,‘s managing director, said,

“Our research shows that motorists are paying a premium for servicing, MOT, brakes and clutches in certain parts of England … There is undoubtedly a postcode lottery and some motorists are being hit hard, paying over the odds for a standard MOT and servicing.”

The research was based on comparing the price of 6,800 car services.

The priciest

1. South West London – £195.95

2. Leicester – £187.85

3. Portsmouth – £186.08

4. Bristol – £180.72

5. Nottingham – £176.32

6. Dartford – £174.92

7. Wigan – 174.66

8. Bradford – £174.50

9. Preston – £171.55

10 Crewe – £170.83.

The cheapest

1. Stoke-on-Trent – £113.06

2. Walsall – £117.89

3. Doncaster – £127.20

4. Coventry – £127.99

5. Swansea – £129.44

6. Derby – £129.65

7. Birmingham – £130.50

8. Manchester – £130.55

9. Stockport – £130.66

10. Oldham – £131.25.

Two sides to the story

Why are there such disparities? One potential reason is geography, with prices sometimes varying depending on a particular area’s cost of living. For instance, London is notorious for its high living costs and rents in both the private and commercial sectors.

Garages located in the capital must factor in increased rents, as well as any London weighting for wages, with the extra costs being passed on to customers. Contrast this with Stoke-on-Trent, which is one of the 12 most economically-struggling cities in the UK, and it’s hardly surprising that the city has been named as the cheapest place in the UK to have a service and MOT.

The cost of a service undertaken by an authorised dealer versus a reputable independent also comes into play. Statistics show that franchised dealers typically quote 18% higher for car services, though it’s worth bearing in mind that they have been battling to win back custom through a host of special offers. The specific work that needs to be carried out on the car during a service can also have a significant impact. Research shows that standard work is potentially cheaper at dealers, while more labour-intensive repairs or fixes cost less at independents.

Research now, pay less later

Perhaps the lesson to take away from the survey is to check servicing and MOT costs not only in your immediate area but further afield. For instance, instead of paying £174.66 in Wigan, consider heading to Manchester, where the average cost is £130.55 – a round trip of 50 miles that even with petrol costs included could see a modest saving on your final bill.

Making an effort to compare prices and travel a little further afield could pay dividends in the long term – and as PetrolPrices customers will attest to, it really does pay to do your research.

Are such pricing discrepancies simply down to geographic reasons? Or is there a genuine issue with what motorists are having to pay for their servicing and MOTs? Let us know your opinions below.

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