The cost of car repairs will rise: three out of five garages are expected to raise prices in the coming months due to a shortage of parts and rising energy prices
- Some 63% of independent garages and dealership workshops are planning price increases
- Rising energy and fuel bills and reduced consumer spending hit the sector in the first half of 2022, companies tell auto ombudsman
- Drivers reduce both maintenance and spot repairs to save money
- The change in MOT patterns caused by the Covid lockdown exemption also took its toll
According to a new report, UK drivers are likely to see car repairs and maintenance become more expensive in the coming months due to the cost of living crisis.
Some 63% of independent garages and dealer shops told the auto ombudsman they would seek to raise prices in order to stay afloat after a difficult six-month opening in 2022.
A combination of higher energy bills and reduced motorist spending due to tighter purse strings during the cost-of-living crisis has strained the country’s auto repair industry.
A shortage of parts, record 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, according to the study.
Should the cost of auto repairs get more expensive? Three out of five garages surveyed by the automotive ombudsman said they were considering raising prices in the second half of 2022
“In light of their view of the coming months, about six in ten survey respondents said they would seek price increases to remain profitable in the face of higher overheads,” the automotive ombudsman said.
Rising operational costs were highlighted as the biggest pressure on the industry in the first six months of the year, as four out of five auto repairers said it had become their top concern.
The same proportion of respondents said their bottom line had been impacted by the significant rise in energy and fuel prices in recent months, which are expected to continue to rise in 2022.
And the 86 UK businesses responding to the survey said they had already seen evidence of drivers cutting back on their cars as part of efforts to limit spending during the crisis.
Some 71% of garages and workshops reported a drop in ad hoc and routine vehicle maintenance and repairs compared to the first six months of last year.
Nine in ten said they had seen a year-on-year decline in the number of drivers booking their vehicle for annual servicing, likely in an effort to cut spending – something the auto ombudsman expressed concerns about more early this year.
Similarly, 58% of companies said demand had dropped for refill fluids, such as air conditioning oil and coolant, with 55% reporting a drop in bookings to replace “wear and tear components”. “, which includes tires, brake discs and wiper blades.
Some 63% of companies said they would seek to raise prices to offset higher operational costs
Delays in obtaining spare parts were also a major hurdle in the first half of 2022, according to the report.
Almost three-quarters of garages surveyed said that not having components readily available due to supply shortages had led to a loss of business as customers traveled elsewhere for repairs.
They also said the first half of the year had been quieter than usual for MOTs, which is a ripple effect from the expanded testing introduced at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The six-month exemption – put in place to allow owners of cars whose technical inspection is due to be imminent to legally delay the annual inspection during the first Covid-19 lockdown – has seen many planned technical inspection dates move from April, May and June in particular to later months, significantly reducing company footfall in the first half.
A shortage of parts and a big change in MOT timetables caused by the testing exemption introduced during the first Covid-19 lockdown have taken their toll on garages and workshops, the study finds
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman, said: “Our research has shown that garages and workshops in the maintenance and repair sector have had to manage a host of financial and economic challenges so far this year.
“With the outlook for the next six months continuing to look challenging, it is no surprise that service and repair business owners are looking to raise prices to maintain profitability and support staff wages.
“All of this is of course happening at a time when households, which are already under financial pressure, are expected to come under even greater pressure due to rising energy costs before the end of the year, vehicle maintenance , as our March survey shows, taking even more of a back seat for many.
Drivers are advised to reserve MOTs for the second half of the year as soon as possible
MOT demand is expected to rise sharply from August and drivers are being warned they may need to book now to secure a slot if their vehicle is due to arrive next month.
DVSA data obtained by BookmyGarage.com shows that the number of vehicles due for technical inspection will increase by up to 23% in late summer and autumn.
The busiest month for MOTs is expected to be September, when as many as 770,000 additional vehicles will require retesting.
In total, nearly 10 million vehicles are expected to require technical inspection in September, October and November, according to the report.
Before growing demand puts pressure on Britain’s network of certified MOT workshops, BookMyGarage.com urges drivers to avoid the rush and book early.
DVSA records show there is likely to be a surge in demand for MOT from August to November due to the ripple effect of the 6-month test waiver 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 drop in demand for MOT earlier this year, and looking again at the data, the dice have been cast and we will see a significant wave of vehicles requiring a WORD from August From.
“While September will probably be the busiest month, once we get into August the garages will be busy and will probably increase prices – if drivers book now, however, they could lock in this price.
“Motorists should either aim to have their MOT booked ahead of when it is required by a month or simply book their MOT in advance. With stiff fines and possible penalty points at stake, it is crucial to avoid letting MOTs expire.