Men are being charged more for car servicing and repairs than women.
Contrary to popular belief that garages fleece women because of a lack of mechanical know-how, the complexity of modern cars means both sexes are now at an equal disadvantage – but women have the ‘charm’ to get the cheapest deals from mechanics.
In a survey of 100 independent garages carried out by male and female mystery shoppers, average quotes for a minor service on a 2011 Ford Fiesta cost a man £106 (R2280), compared to an average £94 (R2020) for a woman – a difference of 13 percent.
And according to the research, the price difference between older men and women is even greater.
Men aged sixty and over were charged 32 percent more to replace an alternator than women of the same age, paying £258 (R5550) compared to £196 (R4220), a basic service was 26 percent more – £103 (R2220) compared to £82 (RR1760) and fitting brake pads cost 17 percent more – £74 (R1595) compared to £63 (R1355).
The report stated: ‘Garages charge men more than women for the same car repairs.
“You wouldn’t normally expect women to get a better deal, but it’s likely they are using their charm to get a lower price.
“Cars are becoming increasingly technical, which means most of us are in turn becoming less and less savvy about car maintenance – men as well as women. This means you can now get ripped off whatever your gender.”
And it seems that some women can exploit that charm to get an even better deal – with brunettes and redheads beating blondes to the cheapest prices.
The report noted: “While women get a better deal, it’s not all equal. Those with darker or red hair tend to get the most competitive rates, receiving quotes 20 percent lower than blondes for brake pads on the same car.”
In the survey, brunettes were quoted an average £61.54 (R1326) for brake pads, while blondes were quoted £77.28 (R1666).
Overall, one in four male drivers avoid going to the garage altogether, sending someone else who they think has got better knowledge on their behalf. At the same time, 41 percent of women avoid taking their car to the garage because they think a man is less likely to get ripped off.
A Sheilas’ Wheels spokesman said: “Taking your car to a garage can be a confusing and costly experience – especially for those with limited motoring knowledge.
“Even if you have no knowledge of car maintenance, it can pay to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about your car when it goes wrong.
“It’s best to search the internet for details and find out average costs – and then shop around at local garages to see what they would charge.”