After reading the IMI research I was happy to get involved in a radio campaign raising awareness of garage issues for women drivers. You’ll find links to the various interviews that Steve Nash, IMI’s CEO and I gave, at the bottom of this blog entry.
IMI research findings about women drivers
IMI research confirms that a quarter of women drivers own up to never having their car serviced by a professional mechanic and only deal with problems when they show up on the MOT. They say this is because of worries about spiralling costs and being uncomfortable in the atmosphere of the garage.
- c60% aren’t members of any emergency recovery service
- 36% admitted to knowing nothing about cars and being totally reliant on garage for guidance
- 31% said they were confused by the jargon used by the trade
- 28% were nervous about asking technical questions
- 22% were reluctant to deal with garages because they were not comfortable with the atmosphere
- 17% of women said they felt they had been overcharged in garages in the past.
When it came to choosing a garage in an emergency most said that because they didn’t know the difference between a professional and a rogue trader, they simply went for the closest garage available and crossed their fingers.
FOXY experience about women and garages
Sadly none of this is news to us because we spend a lot of time advising Club members about their MOT and car servicing choices and identify/approve and promote the measurably best female friendly garages across the UK.
The IMI campaign addresses these issues of course and is equally as committed to helping women care for their cars. Both our organisations are on the same page here, directing women to skilled and trustworthy technicians through the online IMI Professional Register www.imiregister.org.uk. This website includes links to a series of empowerment videos, featuring Vicky Kempton from FOXY Lady Approved dealership Roy Chapman Ltd in Berkhamsted. Vicky is interviewed by BBC’s Formula 1 presenter Suzi Perry.
IMI CEO Steve Nash said “Women drivers clearly feel they are in a precarious position as consumers in the motor industry and it’s all about trust. There is a massive knowledge gap between the professional and the customer in this industry, and contrary to popular belief there is no Government protection for them in the form of a license to practice for the motor trade.”
From FOXY’s point of view, too many women are risking their personal safety (and that of others) by driving without breakdown cover, in neglected cars that haven’t been serviced or maintained in between MOTs and thinking that mechanics are probably licensed or that it makes good sense to buy cheap garage services from a comparison website.
This is one industry where buying cheap is not recommended and can be very risky indeed.
In a nutshell…
- UK garages aren’t regulated
- Mechanics don’t have to be licensed (although many are; check via the IMI Professional Register)
- A ‘cheap car servicing’ search at Google includes online garage brokers that speak highly about the garages they use but don’t tell motorists their names so you can’t check their credentials…
- A new phenomenon of garage comparison services compares the prices of car servicing and the like, encouraging motorists to buy garage services on the basis of price. In an unlicensed industry where prices can be cheap because of cutting corners, using cheap/short lived car parts, using part worn ie questionable tyres and doing without staff training and such like, this may not be the motoring bargain you’d planned for…
- Most garages claim to be good; yes, many are better than the average but there are others that say they are good and definitely aren’t as good as they could be…
- The annual MOT is purely a safety snapshot on the day it’s carried out – forward a couple of months and who knows?
- An annual service should be a minimum for ALL cars to check and maintain the mechanical parts of the car – before other areas become dangerous and excessively expensive to repair
Radio broadcasts about women drivers and garages
Here are the radio station recordings that Steve Nash and I did in December 2014 including links to the broadcast, in alphabetical order by station. Just click on the DOWNLOAD button at Dropbox to open the recording (without needing to sign up to Dropbox)…
97.5 KEMET FM Nottingham
ASIAN STAR Slough
BBC SUSSEX AND SURREY
BIG CITY Birmingham
BRITISH FORCES BROADCASTING SERVICES
CENTRAL FM Stirling
EXPRESS FM Portsmouth
GATEWAY Basildon and East Thurrock
Q RADIO NETWORK Northern Ireland
RADIO AIRE & MAGIC Leeds
REVIVAL FM Cumbernauld