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Over a period of several months, visitors have been requesting servicing information on the cars we review. It’s become something of a quasi-regular request, and something that’s sparked a bit of a debate internally. Let me give you the summary.

Reporting on servicing is a great idea in principle, because the cost of servicing is very important to car buyers. In practice, however, it’s very hard – almost impossible in fact, and often irrelevant – to report car servicing costs in our reviews. At least it’s impossible to do it in a meaningful way.

Here’s why:

For starters, the distance interval is irrelevant to most Australian car owners. Believe it or not, the average kilometres driven annually by car in Australia, according to Ausstats, is less than 15,000km. The general servicing intervals specified by car companies is based on both distance and time – for example 12,500km or six months; whichever comes first. And while the distances recommended often vary – they could be 15,000 or even 20,000km – by far the most common time interval is six months.

And that means the difference between a car with a 15,000km service interval and a car with 20,000km is likely to be irrelevant even to drivers who cover twice the average annual kilometres – they’ll still be in the dealership every six months dropping the oil.

And, sure, for high-mileage drivers, the distance interval is important. However, for the vast majority of private car owners, even reporting the longer-distance servicing intervals (at least doing so without the context above) would be tantamount to painting a false picture on which cars offer tangible advantages over which for the average driver.

The next point is about servicing cost. And here I’m on about the cost of the standard ‘log book’ service – dropping the oil, changing the filters, etc., as specified in the owner’s manual.

Unfortunately, prices cannot be fixed under Australian law. This means car companies are generally unable to tell their dealerships, which are mostly separate companies that own a franchise to sell the brand to the public, how much to charge for servicing. The rules also mean car companies are unable to set the retail price of cars, happily enough, allowing informed car buyers to trade one dealer off against the other.

This means that for every particular car there is simply no set price for either the parts required in a standard service – the oil, the filters, the timing belt, etc. – and no set price across any of the brands for the cost of the technician’s labour.

The best piece of servicing advice I can give any car owner is always – and I mean always – call the three closest dealers and get a quote for the next standard service.

A mate of mine, who used to be the motoring editor of a major newspaper, used to run a column in the paper in which they ‘mystery-shopped’ the cost of a standard service across several dealerships. The variations were simply humongous across nearly every brand.

Once, he said, they got dealerships to quote on a service that didn’t even exist on the log book – it might’ve been a 15,000km service on a car with specified 10,000 and 20,000km services – and all but one dealer gave them a price. Only one informed the journo who called anonymously that the service wasn’t due for another 5000km. It makes you think.

Of greater interest, perhaps, is the cost of spare parts – is a front headlamp assembly for a Commodore the same price as that of a Camry or Aurion? How about the engine management computer? The windscreen?

This stuff is especially relevant for people buying a used prestige car. See, many prestige cars bleed like stuck pigs, financially, for their first three years of life. They seem like a real bargain – check out a 2006 model BMW 7 Series on redbook.com.au, for example, compared with its ‘new’ price – but the warranty’s expired. If the i-Drive control computer spits the proverbial six weeks after you buy it, well, you should brace for impact. There’s no reason to expect the price of the parts has moved in line with the depreciation on the car itself. The term ‘second mortgage’ comes to mind.

The only problem now is for us to report accurately the cost of spares. See, there are 250-something cars on the market now, plus all the permutations of spares on older models stretching back, say, maybe 10 years, times six or seven key parts for an indicative spare-parts snapshot.

That’s … ummm … about a thousand e-mails and one helluva database, which would require constant updating. Anyway, gotta go – the nurse is fixing me a Valium sandwich.




  • Nankano

    Both Toyota and Mitsubish have capped/set prices for services to 60,000km

    Its the way to go, no surprises, all up front, nice and easy.

  • Lang Chye

    “Unfortunately, prices cannot be fixed under Australian law” – hasn’t Toyota advertised fixed-price servicing (eg $120 for first service of a Corolla, etc) as a selling point?

    • The Other Brad

      Yes Toyota have been advertising fixed pricing but they have been doing so by choice. Australian law can’t force other manufacturer’s that don’t have fixed pricing to fix their pricing.

  • Callous Aussie

    The “get three quotes” is the key. I just had my 40 k done outside of Nissan and got a smile as well as a $200 saving. I had the first 3 services done at Nissan and they really need to drop the word service. There isn’t any. You are number and a pain in their ar$e.

    I was a little slow to wake up but are my eyes ever opened now. The majority of the public simply don’t consider that there is an alternative to their dealer. A simple quote to get the oil changed would wake most up. Not just for the labour but also the cost of the oil.

    Nice report.

    • Aleks

      I do understand this perfectly but I always want genuine parts and fluids in my cars and these can usually only be purchased from the dealer, no matter what ultra tune tells you. I currently have a Mercedes and have it serviced by a Mercedes Specialist, litrelly half the cost of a Mercedes dealer. I can find specialists for all prestiege cars but I can never find a specialist for a nissan, toyota and other generic brands so those cars I just take to the dealer.

      • Callous Aussie

        That’s rather presumptuous of you assuming I use ultratune. But then hey, you also assume that the oil in your mercedes is better because it has their label on it. It is the numbering on the bottle that rates the oil. Not the dealer label. The Dealer label is only there to justify ripping you off.

        • Aleks

          I didn’t say you were using Ultratune its just an example. As I know there are no Nissan specialists out there I know you are going to some random place. The oil in my my Mercedes is Mobil-1 0w-40w which is what is recommended by Mercedes and what Mercedes use, and cost’s me no more to get it from the dealer or Supercheap auto. However, I’m pretty certain who ever you are taking your car to they are not using the same oil as specified in your manufacturers handbook.

      • Rajkarun

        Hi I to have a Mercedes, searching for a specialist in Melbourne…can you just post his number..

    • topdog

      Yes i use to get my maxima seviced at nissan and was always charged $275 and always thought that was a bit rich.So ive been taking my care to ultra tune now for the last 4 sevices and its always been $175 . Go figure.I recone if you buy a car from a manufacter thay should always be the chepest place to get it seviced.Thay should look after there customers and keep them.But no thay just look at it like its a way to scew more money out of you

  • Simon

    Why can “unnamed” overseas car websites report on this aspect of car ownership yet CA struggles? Most consumers don’t want a definitive price. They want a ball park.
    The NRMA has done comparisons as to the cost of ownership covering areas such as consumption, service, insurance and replacement parts. No one is expecting every conceivable cost or situation, but it would be very useful to come up with a category to address this issue. e.g. Cat “A” would be the most economical category, Cat “E” could be the “if you have to ask – you cannot afford” category. Within each class of vehicle CA could offer a star rating regarding running costs.
    I would suggest CA press manufacturers for service info. This would cover issues like service check-list schedule. If Motoring Journalists all started taking this information to press, it would benefit the consumer as it would become another selling point and force other manufacturers to be competitive.

  • Andrew M

    Talk about a little laid back style article.

    I gotta ask, why the example of a mate that once rung around for an article that used to be in a newspaper???

    It would have given more credability, and probably taken less time out of your day if you presented it as your research by having actually rung around yourself rather than use the once upon a time story from a mate of a mate sort of stuff.

    I got half way through and started to think what is the point of this.

    It sounded like the excuse someone would use for not doing their homework.

    I just scrolled back up, you even started guessing as to what your mate was told……..

    • Andrew M

      Oh and with the critisism out of the way, why not give a simple answer, then start a post where people could discuss what prices they have paid??

      Maybe a name and shame sort of thing so people would know if they can do better

      • safety first

        The problem is Australians have the attitude that they shouldn’t have to pay for service.

    • Simon

      “Car servicing – the costs, the intervals, the answers!”

      Talk about misleading!

  • Callous Aussie

    As a matter of interest (to some?) Nissan bill their labour at $107.00 per hour up here and pay the technician $24.00 per hour.

    • Andrew M

      Also dont forget nissans overheads.

      Your local mechanic will also charge a similar rate, only difference is he pays himself more than $24 by the time expenses are taken out.

      Hire a bobcat for the weekend and you will be charged around $100, ask the operator what his boss pays him, and it will be the same sort of coin as the $24 you mentioned

      • Aleks

        $100 is pretty standard these days. Mercedes charges $150-$200 depending on dealer.

      • http://www.BrisbaneEarthmoving.com/BrisbaneBobCatHire.htm Cassiny Maud

        $100 is pretty steep for a bobcat. We charge $85. But on the topic, I have my maintenance covered by my car insurance company, so it’s free. Well, I do pay for the insurance of course, but at least the repairs are guaranteed.

    • freddo

      People are happy to pay a plumber/ electrician $100+ an hour to work on their houses, but not their cars.

      You have to have a licence to work on the gas/electrical systems in your house, but anybody can fit a set of brake pads to their car which carries their family around. Makes no sense to me and people like callous aussie wouldnt have a clue.

      • bob

        Actually that’s not true. You do have to be a qualified mechanic (or supervised by a mechanic) to work on the brakes of a car in a licenced workshop.

        Given that a mechanic goes through the same levels of training as any other tradie, I don’t see why they shouldn’t get paid the same.

        • Callous Aussie

          If you pay $100.00 an hour for a plumber you are an easy target. Seems like you’re the one that doesn’t have a clue. I can get a plumber or sparky here for $70.00 an hour and they will fight for the job.

          As for the overheads, the biggest cost to a dealership is the initial set up cost. Hoists, tools and office. Once that is paid off the overheads come down massively. Periodically they need to send a tech to do a course but that’s about it. Most of them own the premises they are in too. They make a killing on servicing your vehicle.

          My mechanic as an ex-toyota tech and nothing changes. They all still do the courses on ECU updates. Regardless of where they operate. They sting you on all the parts too. If you feel the need to go to a dealer for your oil go ahead. I assure you that your belief it is better than what the independant can supply is in your head. Provided you meet the requirements of the oil the manufacturer will still support your warranty. Why is that?

          If the oil was inferior as you suggest they’d walk away from you the moment something goes wrong.

        • Callous Aussie

          So based on Bob’s comments, they should be charging $70-$80 an hour. Not $107.00.

        • dan

          Your wrong bob.

          Unfortunately anybody can do it…..there is no law where there should be.

          It should be law to have your vehicle serviced on time also, because often mechanics estimate brake pad/ disk life based on how many klm until the next service.

  • safety first

    Please note that the Toyota advantage is for the barest minimal service….. if you want them to rotate the wheels they charge you… even though they have to take them off.

    Please remember one thing about the franchised service departments, when you get them done you get any ecu updates that are being put into the more current versions of your car. This could be as important as fuel metering or as nice as upgrading your software to be compatible with the latest I-Pod. There was a case recently where one of the franchised “independent” mechanic groups wanted access to the computer equipment that the dealers had “fair trading or something” was laughed out of court.

    • Aleks

      I would change Toyota dealers if I was you. We have a 2007 toyota corolla with a capped service and they always rotate the tyres at service and have never charged us over $120.

      • Simon

        That would mean buying a Corolla!

      • Frenchie

        How would you know if a dealer had rotated your tyres?
        You ask them, they take your money,they don’t do it, you pick up your car and the dealer or printout says your tyres have been rotated but in reality the tyres haven’t been rotated!

        • Ray

          I check the scratches on the alloy wheels. When they don’t rotate the tyres, I can instantly tell them.

          • dan

            Sometimes its best not to rotate tyres. Esp if the rear tyres are worn more than the fronts.
            Wheels should always be removed to check brakes though.

  • Why?

    How much a dealership charges shouldn’t be the main factor. The honesty and integrity of the service dealership is more important. In my years of owning various makes and models, I have been charged many times for items that were not replaced. I now have for many years watched over them like Big Brother on each service making sure that every dollar they charge has been spent on my car. They may find me annoying but I won’t stand being ripped off.

    • Andrew M

      I agree there.
      Dealer servicing is definately a step above, the real argument should be whether or not you think the extra premium is justified.

      Its like buying home brand baked beans over heinz. Sure they are both baked beans, they both fill the hole, but is paying extra for heinz to get beans that arent crunchy and a sauce with taste justified???

      Many people have a different opinion on what is affordable/expensive/justifiable.
      Ive always been one for seeing value in certain more expensive products.

      On the mechanics angle, if you get a good one outside of a dealer, sure, they will present good value, but a dealer takes the hit and miss out of finding a decent independant

      • Why?

        I think I should have been clearer. Dealership servicing and not the independents was what I was referring too. I have been over charged many times in the past with a dealership service thinking I was prepared to pay more as I was “getting what I paid for”, but they were the ones that charged for parts/fluids (not to mention expensive labour) they did not do. Many years ago I owned a Nissan that went no where but a dealership service since new. That particular vehicle stipulated that genuine high grade coolant must be used or else the radiator would corrode. After 120,000kms and two expensive coolant replacements every 50,000kms my radiator rusted out and I was left stranded on a highway. Vehicle tester concluded that the coolant was never replaced since new. It’s not just Nissan either, Honda has been just as bad. I have been charged for fuel filter replacements and yet when I had my car jacked up for a tyre rotation months later the same old fuel filter was still there. It doesn’t stop at Japanese makes, Mercedes are not any better. How would you feel if you were charged over $1,500 for a dealership Mercedes service and have your car breakdown two weeks later? The Mercedes had a cracked radiator hose and yet I was charged only two weeks ago to replace it.

        Many independents are pretty good, choosing the good from the bad is the hard part. I always pay more for full synthetic oil over the regular stuff. I would like to see how many dealerships and independents actually put in what you paid for or rip you off with the normal oil. Or worse still, not even change it at all and charge you for it.

        • freddo

          Let me get this right….you had a service and then two weeks later it splits a coolant hose….
          This can happen any time even if a hose was checked at the service. Mechanics done have crystal balls to predict what and when something is going to fail.

          • Callous Aussie

            Our local Nissan/ Mazda/ VW dealer has a disturbing reputation. When my Navara broke down under warranty it took 2 hours of haggling to get a hire car. Then when I went to the airport to collect a hire car, in a taxi I had to pay for because they didn’t want to start the courtesy bus for one passenger and told the Hertz employee my story he replied “let me guess, Westco motors?” .

            So much for the claim that dealers are better. It took them two weeks to find a faulty injector. In Europe they recalled my model to replace the seals on the back axels . The cars drop oil on the drums and with abs fitted the fronts compensate for the slip by sticking you through the windscreen. No recall here. I pulled up at a service station pump and found out the hard way.

            When I mentioned that I had found a website that listed that and several other problems and hinted that the media might like the story if I didn’t get a hire car whilst they fix ALL the series one’s issues they suddenly got a spring in their step.

            The suggestion that the dealers are “less shonky” than independant mechanics is rot.

          • Callous Aussie

            The tech that did the work on my car told never to buy a D40 again. They had a string of issues and most were swept under the carpet.

            Toyota are suspected of covering up this “sticky pedal” issue and their techs are no doubt aware of it. They moved to sweep it under a rug to protect their sales. Then there was the Mitsubishi debacle a few years back.

            The first people to hear of these problems are typically their service departments. So they were involved in the cover up. You guys have far too much faith in the dealerships. They are a money making operation first.

          • Baji

            Hmm im really surprised that they refused to use the courtesy bus Callous, as the airport isn’t all that far away at all.

  • http://? Macs for me

    This debate has been going on for ages & all good comments, to add my 5 cents worth, my wife & I have an 08 Renault Laguna diesel & although we live in Brisbane, we get the car serviced at a Renault dealer on the Gold Coast because their service is exceptional.

    The other issue is that not many places are willing to do a service on a Laguna. When we had the last service done 30k I got a quote from a Brisbane dealer & they wanted around $650.00, I think I may have thanked them for the quote, but as I fainted at the time..I dont know, another non dealer quoted $300.00 & our dealer on the coast quoted $350.00.

    Given the difference of only $50.00 the dealer got the job, plus did some software updates & picked up some faults that we weren’t aware of, all done under warranty.

    So I think there are cases where you can get a better deal from a dealer, but shop around.

    Cheers

    Chris

    PS Our Renault is beautiful, any car that can give 850kms+ around town is pretty good. I also drove it back from Perth in 3 days & avg 1150kms to a tank..That now makes it my 10 cents worth.

    Thanks

    • Nankano

      Before i recently purchased the Lancer ES, i noted that they are selling 2007 [ouch!] new turbo diesel Renault Laguna sedans auto for around $21.5k driveaway.

      Its a BARGAIN when you consider its over $10k off and euro quality/safety etc-etc

      I checked it out and the fit and finsish is WAY below the Japanese, the fact that its already 3 years old but new [wtf?] but the real killers where:

      1/ Gut feeling Renault are going or gone in AUS

      2/ 6 month service interval and around $350 a pop

      3/ Cam belt replacement at around $1000

      4/ Poor owner experience on blogs and forums [LOTS of issues]

      5/ Less and less dealer network area, & heaps are handing it back

      6/ Nobody wants them 2nd hand, WON’T even give you a offer [ie massive tear up]

      7/ New model out in EU most likely won’t come her

      8/ A orphan

      So i passed and went back to simple and reliable no-brainer Japanese brand

      Looked good on paper but to much of a punt on many fronts

      Cheers and best of luck with yours

      • Viv Richards

        New Renault Laguna (old model) or Lancer ES each for $21K driveaway, I’d take the Renault any day thanks, particularly if it’s a diesel. I couldn’t stand looking at the hideously bland cheap plastic dash in the Lancer for more than a week! I also hate manufacturers that take important safety gear (ie side/curtain airbags) out of their poverty pack models (ES). If the Lancer ES is worth $2K more after a few years of use who cares if the Renault Leguna is much more likely to save your life. I wouldn’t buy either a Renault or a Mitsubishi for anything close to full RRP though as both depreciate far too rapidly compared to Volkswagen/Subaru. (1st car: 2009 Forester XS Premium, 2nd car: 2008 Renault Megane Cabriolet which cost slightly more than your boring ES).

  • AAA

    If the car has timing belt, it’s an extra $500-$900 at 50,000-100,000kms. And if it snaps, then it’s going to cost $5,000.

    • Reckless1

      That only applies if it’s an interference engine. If it’s a non-interference engine, the timing belt can snap and cause no other problem.

      I can’t believe some engines crap out a timing belt at 50,000 – the belt must be of very poor quality.

      My Jackaroo belt was changed at 150,000k, stretched, but no sign of perishing or tooth wear. And the bonus of a non-interference design.

      My GTI belt is scheduled for 120,000k. As I said – those cars that need one at 50,000 must have a very poor quality belt.

      • Robin Graves

        I dont think the quality of the belt itself varies much, and most replacements are gates or bosch and probably all made at the same place anyway – I think its more to do with camshaft profiles, valve geometry and valve spring tensions – in other words how much load is on the belt while running.

        • Callous Aussie

          Perhaps the basic sevicing was missed early on. Small metal filings in your oil will do wonders for a timing belt.

          • freddo

            Timing belts are not inside the engine…i think you might be talking about timing chains?

          • Callous

            Yeah sorry. I think I had my iTunes up too loud when I typed that :) I was referring to chains and not paying attention.

            So yeah I agree that the belts requiring a 50 k replacement are poor quality.

  • safety first

    The other thing that I laugh about is how it always gets mentioned is “if you buy this type of car, the gearbox will cost this much to replace…… or the engine is this much!” Now seriously how many of you have actually bought a new car, had it till the warranty expires and then had to replace the Gearbox with a new one??? So what’s the point of the comment?
    I remember someone asking how much a long motor would be from Mazda for the 94 V6 626…. they almost had a coronary when they were told $28,000.00. Or the guy who wanted a Drivers seat to replace the 2.3 seat in his Canter and found that by the time the he bought all the parts he would have spent $6,000.00 before he put it together….

    • freddo

      You should sit for a day in a workshop and see for yourself…. I’m sure you will be shocked.
      They fail ALL the time….and whats with the 94 626? Not sure where you pulled $28k from as you obviously have no idea. Ever heard of engine reconditioners?

      • bob

        maybe he got the parts list for all the components of the engine and added up each one. haha.

        6x pistons @ $55.00 ea
        2x head gaskets @ $112.50ea
        24x valves @ $25.00 ea
        24 valve springs @ $18.90ea
        etc.

        I could see how $28,000 would come up pretty quickly. But who in their sane mind would buy and engine that way. I remember a few years back they worked out that a Commodore Exec ($29,000 at the time) would cost well over a hundred grand to buy through the spares dept.

  • Lancer black

    is mitsubishi servicing capped as well?, also anyone know whether the current lancers have a 6 month or 12 month interval between servicer. i.e 15000/12 month which ever comes first, or 6 month?

    • Nankano

      ALL Mitsubishi’s now have capped/fixed service costs for the first 60,000km, ie 4 services for most of the models.

      The DIEsel’s and EVO’s have double the amount of services required, ie 8 but its still at a capped price.

      ONLY applic. if you purchased a new Mitsu. from 01/01/2010

      Its on there website and have brochures about at dealers

      Thanks to BIGT for leading the way, Mitsu followed, others will too

      PS/ I have a Lancer Black SportBack too! :-)

  • bob

    I don’t completely agree with the points made in the article above.

    The point of the requests for servicing costs was to include more objective information in the reports. Simply stating “it has nice steering feel, but I didn’t like the button layout” could be improved upon. Although I admit that if written well, this insight can provide a lot of info about each car. That’s why I read this website.

    I think journalists should be doing more than simply going for a spin and writing their thoughts. Some proper number crunching about each vehicle would be good.

    I don’t work in the motor industry, and I don’t really have time to go collecting this information for every vehicle out there. But as an Accountant, I know this kind of analysis is very doable and the info, once gathered, is very valuable.

    I’ve done it myself a couple of times when buying a car, and I found the insight gained really helped me in my buying decision between two brands.

    It doesn’t have to be completely comprehensive, just look at:

    a) Purchase Price;
    b) Likely Depreciation (based on last 5 years average for model);
    c) Average Service Costs (based on service intervals, set hours required per “scheduled” service, and RRP of parts); and
    d) Reliability index for that model (based on warranty claims made against each model, this info is available and even broken down into Transmission, Electrical etc).

    And on the topic of objectiveness…I would really like to see the inclusion of dB at a given speed on a given surface info included. Something concrete to compare models.

  • trippyfoo

    This is an interesting article and just demonstrates the huge variable in servicing costs.
    I remember three years ago when my Jetta petrol Turbo was due for it’s 15k service,
    the dealership charged $385 –
    For a basic oil and filter – that’s just highway robbery imo.
    The only reason I took it there was due to the fact that I had to get a few things fixed under warranty …surprise surprise.. Needless to say I haven’t been back since.

    Having Toyota lead the way with fixed price servicing…Big thumbs up..

    Hope the rest follow suit.

  • Goodjjp

    Dealership should be avoid…
    Some dealership offer Bonus for mechanic
    If mechanic do job faster they get bonus
    So end up they dont do any job…
    Clean outside of the parts and tell you everything is done…

  • Josh

    Regarding servicing and spare parts cost any websites or anything that can help in determining the running costs of certain cars and models. I’m just about to sell off my Peugeot 307 here its got a great diesel engine but is costing me wayyy to much to run. $250 for front and rear wipers and the dealer once tried to charge me $60 just to replace the front halogen bulb. Its daylight robbery!

    • Aleks

      It’s funny out of all the luxury brands I always hear the most complaints about being ripped of from Peugeot and Volvo customers.

    • Tristan

      I got my Peugeot 206 serviced today, at an Independent. They charged $25 for the wipers. that is 10% of what you got chargedWhether you got it done at a Dealership or independent, they really ripped you off good.

  • Matthew

    Once the warranty expires, it is always cheaper to avoid Stealerships and find a good independent mechanic who knows your brand. Check your marques car club forums for advice for good independents in your area.

    • Flying High

      actually you would do well to avoid dealerships at any time. A warranty is unaffected by servicing at a dealership or not. I wouldn’t let the junior burgers they have working at dealerships near my car with a barge pole.

      The answer is, in all cases, find a local (or perhaps not so local) mechanic yourself. Go to the effort of meeting them and having a chat. Get comfortable with them. If you feel they are a shonk they probably are. Look or ask for evidence of local and recognised business awards. There are good mechanics out there, but they don’t work at a dealership.

      • PJK

        “actually you would do well to avoid dealerships at any time. A warranty is unaffected by servicing at a dealership or not”

        Do you really believe this is true???? Wait till something goes wrong and they ask for a service history!

  • len

    question: do you really have to follow the six month service intervals or just do it every 10,000kms? will i really lose the warranty if i’ll have it serviced every 10,000 kms instead? coz i only use my car to drive from home to park n ride and shop, and i only used 4000 kms in six months

    • Aleks

      Yes you still have to follow the intervals or you will loose your warranty. Contrary to most people’s beliefs driving your car too little can be just as bad if not worse then driving your car too much, especially the “just to shop runs” as your car engine doesn’t have adequate time to warm up and will therefore cause premature wear. Get it serviced on time mate.

  • Chris

    My wife drives a BMW and I work in the motor industry for a prestige brand, I know i could go to an independant “specialist” and save money on the servicing, but i don’t because everytime we have an issue with the car we drive into the dealership and it is just fixed no problems no worries, my wife can rock in there anytime and they look after her give her a loan car give her a lift whatever and everytime we pick the car up it is detailed. If you want Service you have to be willing to pay for it. (except if its under warranty then its free !!)

  • Howie-R31

    Sounds like a LOT of people commenting here have no idea what they’re talking about. I work at a Ford dealership (in spare parts), our service department charges $85.00+gst per hour. If senior tech is working on your car for the hour say there’s $24.00, then you have to pay the service advisor, tools, computers and programs, electricity, insurance, building lease etc etc etc. Then think about issues where more time has to be spent on customers cars but you have to work to the quote given to the customer. And at the end of it all you have to meet specific percentage margins as set out by ford Australia.

    • Bob

      I’m sorry what? Do you think that the concept of overheads, margins, and small run job losses are unique to your place of work? Have you worked anywhere else?

      • agrimensor

        hey mate! your ford dealership just ripped me off today, I paid $316 for 10000kms first scheduled service of my car, to which I believe way too much. sorry but ford lost me as a costumer.

  • Valet Dabess

    i never cared about maintenance price when you did car reviews anyway

  • Matt

    It might be ok to take your car to the local mechanic to get your car serviced for the time being but, as mechanics in dealerships like myself can tell you that manufacturers are now making cars that have to go back to dealerships for basic servicing. Theres no such thing as crack the sump plug and drain the oil, specialty service tools are required. I would have to agree on the price of servicing is greatly inflated. When customers are paying $110 an hour and im getting paid less than $25 an hour and there is 20 mechanics, thats a huge profit.

  • David

    While researching a purchase of a small SUV recently, I couldn’t believe the range in prices and service intervals out there! I know that it is a “prestige” brand, but we discovered that a basic serice on a Freelander was $400… How can that be justified, when the same service for a Tiguan, X-Trail, and Outlander were half that price.
    I would love there to be a law made to notify potential customers of an “indicative” or “average” price that they may expect while they were researching the purchase of a new car.

    • Vidalla

      If you work for a large company LR will give you free servicing for 3 years. Can’t remember the turn over required, maybe $20M a year. Worth a try anyway if your employer is that large.

  • Tinman

    If you can’t afford the service, you can’t afford the car!

    • Accountant

      right on

  • aLLaNNa1

    This article was an absolute waste of time! The heading is misleading, and the whole thing just sounded like the author ranting. How hard can it be to provide some real facts instead of generalising that its too hard to provide data on this and that….other overseas publications can do it so stop giving excuses.

  • XYZ

    Over the past few months, I have read letters to the Editors, published in various car magazines and newspaper columns. One owner of a Merc C240 complained about the $5,000 costs to replace a faulty on-board computer. I had to laugh. Mercedes cars are meant for rich people, not average Joe Bloggs.

    A few people complained about the the need to replace the timing belt in their VW Golf every 4 years or 40,000 km (whichever comes first). Well, they should have done their research before buying the car. Tough.

    A few owners of BMW with run-flat tyres complained about the costs of replacement tyres (at $400 each tyre). Again, if they cannot afford the costs, they should not buy BMW.

  • LessQQ

    which brings up the point that if Car reviews like CA would include such information, people would have an indication when doing their research.

  • Catherine

    This headline article gave me a glimmer of hope that I could finally get some simple, plain comparisons for car servicing costs between brands. WRONG. An utter waste of time with a misleading title. All I want is a simple, plain english article which gives and example of say, 6 sedans from across the board. Then show how much their basic servicing cost is….. and the intervals. Not rocket science. We are not morons out here… we understand that due to the X-factor of cars it is impossible to equate for the unknown costs but for crying out loud can’t somebody work out the statistic averages !!!! Come on ! This article was pointless, gutless and lacked any accountability. It just sounds like the author was trying to avoid accountability in case of litigation. An insult to readers.

  • scott

    Not hard at all:
    1)Pick a category – medium car (liberty, m6, euro, etc)
    2)Assume 15,000 km/yr driven, work out average 3 year cost of servicing by..
    3)calling 3 dealers for each model, work out min, average, max $ for parts/labour servicing for 3 years/45,000km
    4)present results!

    If you really want to do a comprehensive job, do the same thing for low use (7,000km/yr) and high use (40,000 km/yr)

    • Hyundai Lover

      that sounds like a lot of work!!

      or people can just buy Hyundai’s, with their class leading 5 yr/unlimited km’s warranty and very cheap to service too!!

  • Simon_Says

    I think a better way to report servicing costs, is to simply take the relevant excerts out of the glovebox logbook.

    For example in my 2005 Astra, it itemises what is required at each service, then lists the labout component plus the lubricant component.

    Combine that with the 3 quote approach and you will see very quickly where you are being ripped off….. at dealerships most likely.

    What i object to the most is dealerships who don’t itemise their costs. Especially when the parts they use are costing you up to three times the price of the generic item.

    I was recently quoted $2000 for a new aircon compressor. The same unit (from the same factory in Belgium), was purchased by an automotive aircon service outlet for $650. This included overnight freight from interstate. Total costs to fix the aircon PROPERLY; which included a new condensor (again overnight freight from WA to SA) was $1400. Labour, of 2.5 hours cost me $280. At just over $100/hr, that was money well spent in my opinion…. and my car was ready in 24 hours from drop-off time. The ordering of parts in a timely manner was just part of doing business for this mechanic……. at a dealer, they would charge you extra for that…. and to heck with your inconvenience.