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Garage vs dealer: where Aussies get their cars serviced

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=2,400).Base: Australian motorists whose main vehicle had a routine service in last 3 months

In an average three-month period, 43% of Australian motorists (or 6,484,000 people) take their main vehicle to a professional for some kind of service or repairs. Routine services are especially common, accounting for 39% of all automotive work done; well ahead of work pertaining to oil/lubricants (26%), tyres (20%) and brakes (16%).

When it comes to routine services, traditional automotive garage/workshops (42%) and the dealer where the motorist bought their vehicle in the first place (29%) are by far the most popular places to get the job done. Some motorists take their cars to other car dealerships selling their make, dealers selling other makes, and mobile mechanics, but they are a small minority.

Where a motorist takes their car for a routine service is closely related to the age of the vehicle in question. While only 17% of people with cars aged one year or less take their car for a routine service in an average three months, the vast majority of them (83%) return to the dealer who sold them their vehicle to get the service done.

Garage/workshop vs dealer where car was bought: place of routine service by vehicle age

car-servicing-by-car-age
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=2,400).Base: Australian motorists whose main vehicle had a routine service in last 3 months

On the other hand, owners of older cars (six years and up) are more likely to choose a garage/workshop for a routine service.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director -- Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Depending on your car’s age, model and mileage, it should be serviced at least once a year. But should you take it to the dealer who sold it you, or to an independent garage/workshop? >

“A routine service through a dealership servicing program ensures that your car will be worked on by mechanics with the most up-to-date factory knowledge for your model. This is especially important for vehicles still within the warranty period, as it ensures they are legally protected in the case of faults or defects.

“Nearly three-quarters of cars aged up to two years old, as well as more than half of cars aged between two and five, are covered by warranties between three and five years – so the high proportion of motorists taking these cars to their original dealership for routine services makes a lot of sense.

“Many dealerships also offer capped service prices for set periods of time, certainly an added incentive for owners of newer cars to get their vehicles serviced at their dealer.

 “As cars get older, their owners are less inclined to return to the original dealership for routine services: no longer bound by warranty, they tend to opt for the less costly option of garage/workshop servicing.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2