The commonly held belief that garages charge women more than men for car repairs is wide of the mark, according to British research.
Comparison website WhoCanFixMyCar.com looked at quotes given to 113,000 users spread across 6600 garages around Britain, and found the average quote to women was £208, compared with £233 to men ($491 to $550).
That’s a difference of more than 10 per cent.
Across 17 types of work, ranging from an oil change to more complex things such as a clutch replacement, women were charged less in 13.
WhoCanFixMyCar.com believes this is partly down to the fact that small hatchbacks are two times more popular with women than men (at least among the users of its site), while bigger, pricier saloons are favoured by men by a similar margin.
However, even when the comparison was restricted to vehicles that sell to men and women in similar numbers, the data showed that women were quoted an average of £3.57 less.
Ian Griffiths, co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, says: “There remains a misconception in some quarters that women get ripped off when they have to take their vehicle for a service or repair, and it stems from the historical bad reputation the industry has and is struggling to shake.
“We’re pleased to lift the lid on our numbers and show exactly what we’ve suspected for a while — that there isn’t really a gender gap in prices paid when it comes to car repairs, giving consumers the confidence to make their choice based not only on price, but quality and convenience, too.”
The new findings run contrary to those of another study earlier this month, which looked at 182 independent car garages across 10 of the UK’s biggest cities. This concluded that women paid an average of £45 more for car repairs than men.
While Griffiths disputes this, he does believe that the UK car maintenance industry isn’t viewed equally by men and women, given that 70 per cent of the people who use his site are male.
Caroline Lake, owner of female-friendly car repair service Caroline’s Cars, agrees.
“A lot of women would rather go to the dentist than take their car to the garage.
“They will get their boyfriend, father or any male friend to take the car in so they don’t have to.
“The more the public is informed the better,” Lake continues.
“And if they think they might be being ripped off then they shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask to see the old parts or even the new ones on the car.”