Independent workshops rate highly in service survey

More than 90% of car owners in South African service their vehicles, with 88% saying they do so at the service intervals recommended by manufacturers, according to a Vehicle Service Survey conducted by the Automobile Association (AA).

The survey results come against a backdrop of a Competition Commission’s inquiry into South Africa’s automotive aftermarket, and a campaign by private operators in the sector for improved official recognition of their services, with industry role-players currently being consulted with a view to developing a second draft of a Code of Conduct for the aftermarket.

The results show that 53% of respondents say they service their vehicles at original dealer franchises, while 37% take their vehicles to private workshops. Other owners feel comfortable servicing their vehicles themselves.

“The results are encouraging,” says the AA in a statement. “We often speak of the necessity to service vehicles regularly, and to keep them in good running condition not only to maintain the performance but to ensure a longer lifespan. Regular maintenance also encourages roadworthiness, which is critical to road safety.”

Rates of satisfaction among motorists who use original dealer franchises and those who use private mechanics for their services are high. Eighty percent of owners who use dealer franchises rate the service experience as good or great, while even more – 85% – say that independent workshops offer similar experiences.

“What these results show us, is that vehicle owners are equally satisfied servicing their vehicles through private mechanics they trust, or by themselves, as through original dealer franchises. But, importantly, most owners (57%) still prefer using original parts for their cars, although the vast majority (77%) believe these parts are expensive,” the AA notes.

According to the survey, only 16% of respondents believed original spare parts were fairly priced. Despite this, many respondents said they would pay the heftier prices rather than use cheap, non-original parts.

“It is important for road safety and driver safety in South Africa that all vehicles are well maintained and running properly. These results show us there is a high level of responsible vehicle ownership in South Africa, and this is certainly to be applauded,” the AA concluded.

Source: RMI