When you leave your car with a garage for the first time, there’s always a little concern.  Will they do a good job?  Will they charge you fairly and not give you an unexpected big bill?  Will the work come with a guarantee?  It can help to find out the answers to these and a few other questions before you make the booking and here are our top tips to help you spot a trustworthy garage for car repairs, service or your MOT.


There are lots of ways to get recommendations today.  There’s the classic word of mouth – ask your friends around the Reading area about where they take their car.  Or where they wouldn’t!  People often know garages in their local area, both good and bad and this helps you start to build a picture.

You can also do something similar online with social media – Facebook even has recommendations feature on the mobile app now where you can put in what you are looking for and where you are based.  This gets word of mouth recommendation from a wider field than just the people you know around you.

There are also a series of online, neutral websites that offer recommendations or the chance for people to review businesses.  Which? has a Trusted Trader system while others include the Bosch Car Service, the Good Garage Scheme the Trust My Garage.  All of these give you an idea about the standard of service on offer.

Ask for quotes

If you know what is wrong or what you want doing with the car, then it can be good to hunt around for quotes before you make any commitment.  Most garages will be able to give you a rough idea of the cost or an exact price for something like a service or MOT.  Obviously, this might change if there is more work to do than initially quoted.

When asking for quotes, ask what their policy is if this happens – they find more work is required than expected.  A trustworthy garage will contact you to let you know what the situation is, what the problem is and what it will cost to sort.  Then you can make an informed choice about going ahead with the repairs on this basis and don’t get an unexpectedly large bill at the end.

Check out guarantees

While getting that price, find out about the guarantee on any parts being used.  Good garages will use either approved or equivalent parts so find out about this – if you have a warranty in place, you don’t have to use the main dealer but you may have to use approved parts to keep it in place.  They should also be able to tell you how long the guarantee on the parts is and what happens if something goes wrong within that time.

When servicing, similarly check if the parts being replaced have a warranty and how long this is.  Some parts will only have a short one due to the potentially high use they can suffer while others might be 12 months or a certain amount of mileage.