How can I pick the right garage to carry out an MOT test?
Broadly speaking, there are three types of garage that can carry out an MOT test:
These are associated with a car manufacturer and kitted out with the latest equipment. For sorting out complicated repairs or problems, these will often be the only place to go. They will often provide better additional facilities, such as waiting areas and courtesy cars. If these are important to you, main dealers might be your best choice.
Labour rates here and manufacturer-based services are often the most expensive, but that doesn’t mean the repair bill is always the biggest. Sadly, it is also no guarantee of perfect service or the right repairer.
Branded chains like Halfords, Kwik Fit or National have a reputation for being the optimal choice for quick repairs or replacing items such as exhausts, batteries or tyres. Most outlets can also service and repair your car, 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.
Occasionally specialising in a particular make, these will usually offer the lowest labour rates. However, within this category, there is the biggest variety of quality and approach, so beware: some can be still be very expensive for repairs.
Many of these garages are very professionally run. Others are more ‘old fashioned.’ Some are, frankly, frightening.