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How do they justify servicing costs


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OK, so a main dealer will always charge through the nose, but even an independent will charge £2-300 to service a Defender or Kwikfit offer £99 for a sub 1800cc Eurobox.

I know they need to put in a few extra litres of oil in my Defender, but what extra are they doing to justify such a price difference? I can't imagine the job takes much longer. In my experience the relevant bolts etc. are even more hidden on a Eurobox than on a Defender (assembled by Japanese people with smaller hands, and subsequently by robots with very small grippers).

I haven't asked for a quote from Kwikfit or the like, as I would only take it to a specialist independent, but surely there's even enough competition there to keep prices reasonable.

Anyone got any ideas?

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main dealer you are paying for there experience of knowing there way round the veichle and knowing where and wat to look at as well as doing the basic wet service i mean like u have said u wud rather take it to a independant or main dealer than a drongo in kwickfit that has been shown wat to do but dosent know why they need to do it lol i have a mate who was a manager of a company that got bought out by kwickfit and he use to shake his head at there training programs so thats why u have to pay through the nose, prices are way to high to send landy to garage i do everything on the drive or on a kwick fit ramp just dont let them touch it lol

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as jbs says,DO IT YOURSELF.i do services for people now and again and i charge £40 plus parts so it usually comes to about £70/80 depending on price of parts.a diesel would be cheaper than that.

A main dealer won't really do a lot more than a fluid change apart from look round,check for leaks,antifreeze check,brake fluid check.

Nothing that you can't do yourself and have piece of mind of whats been done.

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as above - do it yourself.

although i would also invest in a good manual for it - which should have a service checklist in it for minor and major service schedules. You will be surprised at whats contained in the checklist that msot people miss out when servicing vehicles themselves, such as greasing door hinges and other simple stuff that can make a big difference in the long term to a vehicles overall functionality.

photocopy it and then do the service and check off each point on the list. Date and sign the checklist and stick it in your document folder.

Ok, it doesnt really count towards a proper service history if you do decide to sell the vehicle, but it is nice to know what you have done and checked and when.

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£99 for oil and a filter change :o How do people afford to run these sub 1800cc euroboxes :blink:

The dealers charge what they charge because:

a) they can whilst people will pay it

b) they have far higher overheads than an independant

c) most people still think the warranty will be invalid if they don't use the main dealer

d) the main dealer don't expect people with vehicles out of warranty to still use them

e) I reckon a large proportion of users are businesses who don't much care for shopping around

f) Usually you can get a free courtesy car for the day (see "e")

I'm sure there's loads more reasons.

Find a good independant and you'll save yourself a fortune.

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So do you think KwikFit even know how to work a grease gun, let alone where to find all the grease nipples on a Defender? Likewise - are they going to know about or check axle oils, swivel oils, gearbox, transfer box, steering?

I'm not saying the main dealers are a bargain, but Land Rover are not that expensive compared to many. As has been said, the best option is to spend the £300 on a good set of tools and do it yourself. Also, more time spent under car = more things spotted early and fixed easily.

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As has been mentioned, main dealers know what to look for in terms of wear and parts that are subject to failure. A good independent is just as good - but the trouble is knowing who is good (as many threads on this forum have shown in the past). What you get out of a main dealer is a high probability of getting it right without you having to guess.

You also guarantee with a main dealer that they will use the correct oil and good quality parts. All too often, independents will use the lowest common denominator patterned parts and cheap, general purpose fluids - to save costs. There are some fantastic independents out there but they are hard to find.

Doing it yourself is fine too - but most owners lack the experience to do much more than KwikFit. There is rarely much in the way of preventative maintenance.

Ultimately, you are buying confidence. It's no coincidence that "Full main dealer service history" is a strong selling point. "Serviced by KwikFit" or "Serviced by myself" do not inspire quite the same confidence.

Personally I use and recommend two Indi's who I know & trust - but know dozens (many of whom I've used) that I wouldn't touch (again) with a barge pole!


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I find that a main dealer does the work properly, charges a lot, but you have no grief. Which often is worth it.

Even using some well known independants I have found frustrating, including recently having a lot of work done and then when you get the vehicle back it's got a split boot on a front ball joint and a leaking swivel. Which they missed.

Better to pay an extra £100 and get it done right with a newer vehicle, or for most things do it yourself on an older one.

I get the feeling that keeping an older one on the road at garage prices could cost a fortune!

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Let me see-

4 year apprenticeship and 2+ years at college + numerous brand specific training courses and years of knowledge.

£10-£20k+ of personal tools.

£10's of thousands of workshop kit- lifts, diagnostics, special tools etc.

Business property mortgage/rental, business rates, electricity, insurance etc etc.

Then we have the vehicle- 1 x Engine, 2 x gearboxes, 2 x propshafts, 4 x U.J's, 2 x axles etc etc.

And you want the job done perfectly.

Not forgetting the guy/girl doing the job has to live i.e. a reasonable wage. ;)

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And what people must realize too and what a few people have touched upon is that a service is not just an oil and filter change!

A full service is a hell of a lot more.

Changing fluids is the start, but then a complete systems check on a landrover with a decent knowledge is a real task! Checking EVERYTHING! Ball joints, swivels and seals, wheel bearings and greasing both the aforementioned. Props greasing, axle oils x 2, gearbox oils x 2, Battery condition, Charging, cam belt check if you have one, engine mount condition, suspension bushes condition and physical checks, prop shaft play with correct knowledge, shockabsorber checks, spring examination, door hinges oiling / greasing, lights operation and setting if needed, steering play and checks.

We have a list of over 100 things to check and sign off on a service, ok ours may be a little more than most but it's made by me and based on work carried out by a friend of mine who services cars daily.

300 quid is a "deal" if you ask me!

And ask your self how many times have you passed a guy down the road when going out on a Saturday morning, Just doing his car service, sitting in his drive on car stands at 8am, you return at 5pm and he's still there struggling and the job still isn't properly done when he's finished, Wasting a day to get a job done badly, worth 300 quid?

find a good guy and spend the day with the wife! THAT is worth 300 quid!! To her anyway! ;)


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While something like a defender may well have millions of parts that can be adjusted, greased, tweaked and caressed, most modern cars (including newer landrovers) dont.

Most components on modern cars are "filled for life" or "sealed" or whatever. Wheel bearings arent adjustable. Propshafts dont have grease nipples etc. The dealers still charge a fortune for those cars, and for these models it really is little more than an oil change and a cursory look over the rest of the car.

A recent discussion on the Audi forum i use resulted in a dealer who uses the forum to advertise his business getting in a bit of a strop, because after having claimed his £300 service for a particular model (Audi S4) was good value, once pressed he admitted that the only things actually changed were the oil, oil filter and cabin air filter, plus 1L of screenwash. Everything else that was checked was simply given a "visual inspection", and a computer diagnostic of the cars ECU. He also admitted when pressed that they offered a "fixed price" service for £99 for Audi's with 4 cylinder engines, but this didnt apply to the V8 in the S4, even though the work carried out was the same, albeit the V8 needed a few litres more oil.

As a result, i feel that servicing the car myself ends up with a better overall result, as i will actually pull the level plug from the "sealed for life" transmission and notice it does infact need topped up, and doing the work myself means i become familiar with the mechanicals. I then know that the front CV gaiter looks a bit ropey and might need changed soon, so i'll then keep an eye on it. I'll also notice that the suspension bushes are looking a bit worn, and note down in my mind that they need changed at some point in the near future, etc etc.

That way, instead of paying thru the nose for a "service" and then only finding out your suspensions about to fall off when it fails an MOT, you already know the score before the car even gets looked at by an MOT man.

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I'd by no means say that main stealers are the perfect people to look after your car, but back to the original question: KwikFit et al are going to bung some cheap sh*te oil in, change a filter or three, and then pester you to get your brakes, shocks, tyres, exhaust, tracking, etc. done at the same time.

The likelihood with a "traditional" Land Rover is also that they will have no bl**dy idea what they're looking at or what it should be like - I've heard people who've been told they can't do the tracking on a Series because the steering system is "too complicated" :blink:

Running Land Rovers, I tend to do buy oil & filters in multiples and just do oil & filter whenever I can. With the freebie, being my road car, I'm lazy and get a local trusted independent to do the proper servicing on it, because I know he will be thorough and can be bothered to do all the stuff I never would.

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My mate had his Disco3 TD6 serviced at a well known dealer, apart from the fact it was a fortune in general they charged him £13-85 + Vat for a sodding rear light bulb as well, its actions like this that make the rest of us complain about main stealers.


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My mate had his Disco3 TD6 serviced at a well known dealer, apart from the fact it was a fortune in general they charged him £13-85 + Vat for a sodding rear light bulb as well, its actions like this that make the rest of us complain about main stealers.

They should do it free.

When I got the FFRR serviced, dealer phones up to say a little thing needs doing. No problem I say, charge for the part but I'm not paying for labour. They did it. Some dealers do believe in keeping customers happy.

KwikFit et al are going to bung some cheap sh*te oil in, change a filter or three, and then pester you to get your brakes, shocks, tyres, exhaust, tracking, etc. done at the same time.

Last week Kwikfit did the tracking on a mates Astra. Told him he needed four new tyres. Two of the old ones had a whole two weeks wear. :rolleyes: I'd avoid them like the plague.

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Ye i agree on kwikfit, although i must confess i let them do the tracking on the A4 last month :ph34r:

I'd changed two track rod ends and proceeded to drive 600miles the weekend after without getting the alignment done (ye stupid i know). The wear on the offside front tyre was so bad when i noticed i took it straight down to kwikfit and paid the 27quid to get it sorted, as i wanted it done immediately, rather than scrubbing any more life off the tyre.

I did try my favoured local garage, but he was quoting n days to fix it unless i could leave the car with him, but the missus needs the car most of the time due to work, so leaving her without a car simply wasnt an option.

A friend of mine had the tyres thing before too. He'd MOT'd the car, then took it to kwikfit for an oil change the next day. His reasoning was they charge 20quid for the oil change, and he couldnt buy the oil and filter from halfords for that money, which i guess is fair enough. He phoned me in a worried voice saying they'd told him the tyres were dangerous and he needed two fronts immediately and the rears would be needing done soon. I told him to tell Mr Kwikfit the car had been MOT'd yestarday, and if it was dangerous he wanted it in writing so he could take it up with VOSA. Mr Kwikfit soon changed his tune :rolleyes:

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Lots of interesting and valid replies. Good to see that most people hold Kwikfit in the same low esteem I do. I have as little as possible to do with them. My local one can't even do the tracking on the MG ZS, as it needs four wheel tracking (adjustable rears too). When he explained that they simply line up the fronts with the rears, I had to question which cars had fixed rear wheels - basically it's just leaf sprung stuff - like Jap pick ups and Series. He said they turned away loads of business.

I'm with the poster that says taking it to the garage to get a day with the (my) wife is worth paying for - I work away quite a bit, so if I start crawling underneath and spending hours getting greasy, I get the Paddington Bear stares.

Interestingly, I have also had good experiences with Mansfield 4x4 in Bury St Edmunds, like two other posters. I'm not basing that on much, other than they seem to know what they're talking about, and can quickly identify and fix problems, without spending hours (which I would pay for) tracking down the cause of the problem in the wrong place. Also, everyone in the garage seems to drive a Defender, and/or trial one, so they probably break them quite often, and gain extra out of hours experience fixing their own vehicles.

I think the results of the straw poll are generally that main dealers prices are justified, but sometimes they take the piddle a bit on changing a light bulb. I was surprised to hear so much support for them, but that's what makes the forum interesting.

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i love my local independant - dewsbury 4x4

superb place, always got a couple of really interesting projects on the go on the ramps (currently a genuine barn find series1 that fired straight up after being sat for 20+ years) and always has time to chat and let you poke about.

I believe one of the signs of a good independant is their willingness to give you advice on how to do a job at home yourself without getting the hump. Many wont give you advice in the hope you give up and bring it to them for the work, but they are more than happy to spend half an hour on the phone or the same face to face when you go buy the bits off them to talk you through it. Quite often he'll chuck his 90 on the ramp and point out the various bits as he gives the advice.

He knows for major work i always take it to him (gearbox rebuilds), the td5 disco always goes there (i aint touching that heap!) and same for MOTs etc. So he gets his money worth out of me thats for sure - but likewise i get a bloody good service in return.

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So is it worth creating a list of trusted independents?

I have a great one I use around here, not wishing to advertise etc but credit where it is due his company is called FW4x4 based in Watlington. He gives me some great advice, will get me discount on parts or tell me when I am better to get them myself, or when a job is easy to do myself, he will even give me a call if they get special offers on kit that he thinks I may be interested in.

I have tried a few around here and not been happy with many of them, they overcharge for things that don't need doing and are not that diligent, my servicing trick was always to top up the screen wash and see if they charged me for it!!! A quick way of telling if they are doing their job or just going through the numbers.

The first time I took my Landy to Ian for a service, I didn't tell him what was wrong with it, but he picked up everything including that my rear wiper was sticking and he fixed it without any extra charge. When my clutch master cylinder started to leak I got him to change both (master & Slave) however a couple of weeks later the new one started to leak, It got changed out without any fuss or charge, faulty parts happen no matter how careful you are it's how you deal with your customers when things do go wrong that counts.

He gets my business every time and will continue to get my business, even though I could do a service myself I like to have a second pair of eyes on the Landy they are much more diligent than me, I would let things slide when they don't.

He is only a small operation and does not advertise, I could never figure this out but chatting to him one day he explained it to me.

Most of his customers are word of mouth customers that keep returning, if he got more staff in and grew, how could he guarantee that the work would be done to the same level good people are hard to find... his business supports his life style family and he is happy with this, he has no aspirations to open a megastore and is happy as is.

Cheers, Jason.

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kwikfit are hopeless IMHO. we had a customer come in for a battery on his 4.0 cheep jokee, and they had fitted a fiesta one!!! when he got to us it was bulging so badly that it was not far off exploding. they had done a service on it and plastered everything in white grease, even the hose clips.

another customer came in for a full exhaust for a fiesta, after being quoted £350 for the system (middle and rear boxes) including fitting, the whole system from us was just over £120 inc the vat!!!

they are hopeless, overcharge and overquote for work. i do all my own servicing and repairs, and usually give everything a once over every week or two - if something makes a funny noise, i'm usually underneath it at lunchtime having a look around, i think they call it landrover paranoia.

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