Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of car servicing chains compares Ultratune, Auto Masters, Repco Authorised Service, Kmart Tyre & Auto, Goodyear Autocare and Bridgestone Select on customer satisfaction.
For many of us, booking our car in for a service is a chore for another day, with our car often too crucial to our day-to-day lives to be out of action. However, put it off too long and you may end up doing more damage to your car, costing you further down the line. As a result, booking your ride in for a service can not only save you money in the long run, but also ensure you stay safe on the roads. But when it comes to booking your car in, who you choose to hand over the keys to is a big decision, with enough options to cause gridlock in the decision-making process.
With plenty of car servicing chains available, narrowing down which one to book with can be a struggle in itself, particularly if your car is a unique model or brand. To help you make a better-informed decision come servicing time, Canstar Blue annually surveys hundreds of motorists across the country, to find out about their experiences using some of Australia’s biggest servicing chains. The idea is to help you make the right decision for your needs and budget, based on the experiences of motorists just like you who have recently /been there and done that’.
This year, Ultratune has taken out the top spot, securing multiple five-star ratings, including when it comes to the quality of car servicing, time taken, effectiveness of repairs, plus overall satisfaction. It’s the third time in four years that Ultratune has emerged victorious in our car servicing chains review, having been temporary replaced by Repco Authorised Service and Bridgestone Select last year.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of car servicing chains saw six brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
While Ultratune took out top spot, the competition wasn’t too far behind, with Kmart Tyre & Auto, Goodyear and Auto Masters all scoring four stars for overall customer satisfaction, with Repco Authorised Service and Bridgestone Select rated three stars. However, all but two brands scored at least one five-star rating, meaning there’s plenty of benefits to shopping around. Goodyear scored joint top spot for effectiveness of repairs, as well as claiming the solo win for both cost of parts and value for money. Auto Masters joined Ultratune and Goodyear on top for effectiveness of repairs, while Repco Authorised Service was the only chain to receive five stars for customer service.
Our survey found that 40% of Aussie motorists always use the same car servicing chain. When asked why they stick with the same chain, they reported:
While some of us are creatures of habit, sticking to the same retailer or chain doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best service or deal. 11% of survey respondents believe they have been made to pay for repairs their car didn’t really need, with 8% stating that they have disputed the repairs and costs of a car service. To avoid any shady business, 13% looked up reviews before deciding on a car servicing chain to ensure they could trust them, while 14% tried to fix an issue with their car by themselves.
With survey respondents spending an average of $400 on their latest car service, it’s no surprise that motorists are a bit wary when it comes to dropping the keys off – and why some of us are willing to get our hands dirty. But with plenty of options to choose from, and a bit of research, you’ll be able to find the best car servicing chain for your needs and your budget.
Without fail, our cars always seem to falter when we need them most. While 44% of survey respondents get their car serviced strictly per logbook recommendations, 15% have driven while there was a warning light on their car’s dash, with 8% currently having a warning light on their dash at the time of the survey, meaning not all of us are giving our rides the care they need.
Young motorists (aged 18-29 years-old) are more likely than older drivers (aged 60-69 years-old) to have driven with a warning light showing (23% vs. 7%, respectively), our survey found. They are also more likely to only book in a service when they think there is an issue (24% vs. 5% of 60-69 year-olds), while older demographics are more likely to stick strictly to their logbook (65% vs. 31% of 18-29 year-olds).
While it’s generally recommended to stick to the logbook to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly, and you don’t meet with any issues while out on the road, it seems that more than a few of us are leaving it a bit too long between services.
Read on to find out what each chain offers for all things under the hood.
With more than 270 locations around Australia, Ultratune is a popular option for many motorists, whether you’re looking for a new set of tyres or a car service. Bookings can be made online, with Ultratune offering a store finder on its website, making it easier for drivers to find their local retailer.
Service options include full log book servicing, as well as specific services for brakes, air conditioning and suspension, with Ultratune offering 12 months’ free roadside assistance with any servicing purchase. Full servicing details are outlined on the website, allowing drivers to know what to expect with each service, as well as which service may be the best fit for their vehicle.
Ultratune allows drivers to sign up to its VIP Club, which gives members discounts and more personalised service, potentially suiting those looking to lock in regular services.
Kmart may be best-known for its homewares, but the Kmart Tyre & Auto Service branch offers plenty of options for Aussie motorists, with more than 250 locations available around the country. Services can be booked online, with Kmart additionally listing car brands that can be serviced at certain locations on its website.
Kmart’s service products start with its Essential Service, with packaged deals, logbook servicing and new car servicing also available. Additionally, Kmart can conduct registration and safety inspections, as well as issue roadworthy certificates, ideal for those looking to get their car back on the road.
Kmart also provides free six months’ roadside assistance for those who purchase the chain’s Essential Plus or Logbook services, with customers also able to cash in on Flybuys points on most servicing purchases, helping drivers to rack up their rewards points as a tidy bonus.
Well-known within the tyre industry, it’s no surprise seeing the Goodyear logo make the step into car servicing. With over 120 locations around Australia, Goodyear Autocare allows you to book your service online, as well as discuss your booking request if you’re looking to get a bit of extra work done under the hood.
Offering log book servicing, as well as the Essentials package – which includes an oil and oil filter change, brake fluid top-up, as well as steering and suspension inspection – you can also book in a fixed price car service to ensure you stick to a budget.
Goodyear additionally offers a number of tips and tricks on its website, helping for when you’re looking to get the inside lane on proper car maintenance, or you’re looking to make the most of your time behind the wheel. You’ll also find a store locator online, ideal for when you need some repairs in a hurry. Business owners are also in luck, with Goodyear offering Fleet servicing, helping to keep the business wheels turning.
With more than 60 locations in Western Australia and South Australia, Auto Masters offers a number of services for motorists, including all types of car servicing, whether you need a new car service or you’ve left it too long since your last.
You can book a service online, with Auto Masters outlining what you can expect when you book your car in at one of its centres. In addition to repairs and services, Auto Masters also provides free water and oil checks if exploring under the hood is new territory for you, plus a free towing service if you’ve gone and broken down, helping to take some of the stress out of the situation, although some conditions apply, so be sure to read the fine print.
Auto Masters additionally claims to offer a money-back guarantee for fixed price services, with the chain also providing loyalty rewards and payment plans for motorists to use, with full details available through its website.
As Australia’s largest independent service network, with more than 400 workshops across the country, Repco Authorised Service provides traditional car servicing, as well as a range of additional repair and inspection services for all areas of your vehicle. These services include wheel alignments, oil changes, battery exchange, suspension servicing and specialised accessory installation for those looking to make their ride stand out on the road. If you’re looking to keep your business running smoothly as well, Repco Authorised Service also offers fleet servicing, making it handy for those constantly on the road.
In addition to car servicing, Repco Authorised Service also offers a ‘Car Care Advice’ section on its website, including all types of useful information, including travel tips and motoring laws for drivers to brush up on before setting out on the road. And if you do have troubles out on the roads, it offers a nationwide warranty for peace of mind.
In addition to selling tyres for a wide variety of car types and adventures, Bridgestone offers car servicing through its Bridgestone Select Auto Services branch to help keep your engine running smoothly. Services include log book servicing, in addition to brakes, suspension, steering alignments and mechanical repairs, with Bridgestone Select servicing available at more than 100 locations nationwide.
Services can be booked online, with Bridgestone Select providing an online quote for those on a budget. In addition to mechanical repairs, wheel alignments and safety checks, Bridgestone Select offers Packaged Price Servicing at select locations for those looking to get more than just a service, with the Packaged deal focussing on safety and performance.
In addition to the family car, Bridgestone Select also delivers fleet servicing for local businesses, with a number of truck centres available around Australia, making it a handy option whether if you’re driving four wheels, or 18.
With today’s cars becoming more complex under the hood, it’s understandable to become a bit flustered when things go wrong. As a result, trusting the service you receive when you drop off your car to a mechanic or servicing centre is a big factor, as is price, customer service and the timeliness of any repairs. But with plenty of factors to consider, taking a bit of time to research the services on offer, as well as other considerations such as convenience and location, will ensure that you’re not taken for a ride the next time a warning light pops up on your dash. Oh and, if it does, get it checked out!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Photo Credits: VGstockstudio/shutterstock.com, Somnuek Saelim/shutterstock.com, George Rudy/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have had their car serviced in the last 2 years by a car servicing chain (Note: this does not include a car dealership, independent mechanics or motoring clubs such as NRMA or RAC) – in this case, 522 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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