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Tips to Keep You on the Road

Brickendon, UK, May 15, 2003 -- Hard to believe but it will soon be Summer again. What with entertaining the kids, doing the gardening or clearing out the garage, the job of looking after your car is often overlooked at this time of year, perhaps when it is needed most, if you are taking it abroad, for example.

Regular servicing of your vehicle will not only improve its reliability, safety and environmental performance but also significantly protect its re-sale or trade-in value. Research has shown, however, that many motorists rely purely on the annual MOT, which is both a false economy and potentially dangerous, which is also true when it comes to DIY servicing - don't!

The advice from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is the professional body for individuals working in the motor trade, is ensure that your car is maintained by qualified professionals. To give motorists peace of mind, the IMI has a list of handy 'top tips', for when it comes to getting the car serviced.

A vehicle's service history can not only boost its value but also make the difference between a desirable and completely unwanted car. The absence of a service history may knock £500 or more off a car's value or, even worse, put off potential buyers completely.

Commented Sarah Sillars, the Institute's chief executive: "Most of us rely on a car every day so it's vital that it is maintained properly and at the recommended service intervals. When it comes to a service, communication with the garage is everything, but you have a right to deal with fully trained and qualified staff. If you are shopping around for the best deal, make sure the business can provide evidence of skills training for your make of car. If not, you should look elsewhere."

IMI top ten tips on car servicing

1. Check if the garage employs IMI members, to show that technicians are suitably qualified and/or is registered by the local Trading Standards Office. When at the premises, check for IMI certificates on display. If in any doubt, ask.

2. Ensure that the garage is familiar with your car's make and model.

3. Prior to booking your car in, consider how it's been running. Be honest - inform the service staff of any problems and/or any recent work carried out.

4. Check what is included within the service - ask to see a copy of the service schedule for your vehicle type.

5. Check the breakdown of costs, including all parts, consumables, labour and VAT - you should know exactly what you are paying for.

6. Insist that no additional work is undertaken without your express permission. If recommended, this should be quoted against, not estimated.

7. Ask for any replaced parts to be retained for your inspection upon collection.

8. Ensure that you receive a detailed itemised report with a verbal explanation of the work undertaken and/or recommended. Ask about the garage's quality control checks and make sure your service book is stamped.

9. Ensure that the name of the technician that works on your car is detailed on your invoice. Ask to speak to him or her specifically, if you have any concerns or require necessary explanations.

10. Ensure that you receive a guarantee. Make sure you know what it covers, check the period of validity and identify the complaints procedure, should a query arise.

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Stuart Brooks, tel: +44 (0)1992 511521