How To Pick The Right Repair & MOT Garage For You

By: Motor Easy
How to pick the right garage?

There are, broadly speaking, three types of garage: Fast Fit (KwikFit, FormulaOne), Franchise (Main Dealer) or Independent. 


Fast Fit

A 'Fast Fit' or branded chain like Halfords, Kwik Fit, or National have a reputation as being best for 'quick repairs' or the replacement of parts like the exhaust, battery, or getting new tyres.

Actually, most of these garages can service and repair your car too, with only the most complicated issues being beyond their capability.

These centres are usually cheaper than a main dealer when it comes to repair work and can be competitive with the bigger independent garages


Main dealer or 'Franchise'

The main dealer is associated with the manufacturer. They will have the latest equipment and, on complicated repairs or problems, will often be the only place you can go.

Their labour rates and manufacturer-based services are usually the most expensive but that doesn't mean their repair bill will always the be the biggest. We have seen examples where some main dealers were able to complete a repair much cheaper than independents and fast fits.

They will often offer more additional facilities such as waiting areas and courtesy cars. If these are important to you, then searching main dealers in our directory will be best. 



Independent garages may specialise in a make of car, or they may not. They will usually have the lowest labour rates of any garage.

Within this category there is the biggest variety of quality and approach, so beware, some can be still be very expensive overall if you need repairs.

Many of these garages are very professionally run. Others are more 'old fashioned.' Some are, frankly, frightening - but we have tried not to include those garages in our directory.

Also within this category are MOT test centres that 'just do MOTs' and no repairs.


Now the hard bit... picking 

If you need the garage to be very close, want to wait with the car while it is tested, or need the garage to open at certain times, then your choice will probably be easier.

If you need to whittle down a long list though, you should consider these factors:

Don't just pick the cheapest MOT fee
Pick a reasonable labour rate too - if you end up needing to pay for a repair, you'll regret not looking at the labour rate before booking in
If the garage is showing the 'Angel Network' icon then we recommend them and there will be some special discounts
It can be helpful to enlarge the map on the garage listing, and use the 'Street View' man to bring up a picture of the garage.

Picking a garage that does 'MOT only' and no repairs is a personal choice - MotorEasy have not seen any evidence that you are more or less likely to fail your MOT at such a centre.


What all the garages have in common

All garages are adept negotiators. The good news in this is that they will negotiate on repair prices. The bad news is, if you don't know what you are doing, you won't get the best deal.

Luckily for you, MotorEasy's team of engineers are on your side to make sure the repair price is fair and that the work the garage has quoted for actually needs doing. We can make sure that the parts cost are reasonable and often can get a discount on parts. We can also negotiate labour rates to make sure that the repair doesn't take any longer than it should. 


Further Reading

Service Cost - What Is A Big Car Bill?

The £2 Billion Wasted by UK Motorists on Car Servicing

Garage Labour Rates Hit More Than £230 An Hour


View all articles