Supplied
Supplied
Dewald Ranft. Supplied
Dewald Ranft. Supplied
If you have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, chances are you’ll seek a second or even a third opinion before making any decisions about how to treat it. The same principle should apply when it comes to your vehicle.

When faced with a huge repair, consumers often feel backed into a corner and believe their only options are to trade in the vehicle, or upgrade or downgrade the vehicle. But this is not always the best decision.

Some consumers are duped into believing that loading the outstanding finance of the trade-in on to the debt acquired when buying a new vehicle is the best option, but this makes poor commercial sense, particularly in the current tough economic climate. The only beneficiaries here are the finance house and the dealership. The consumer ends up with a lesser-value car and a financial burden over a longer period.

And while writing off the vehicle may make financial sense for an insurer, it may not be the best option for the vehicle owner. Particularly when it comes to older vehicles, the payout may be so small that it’s impossible to buy another vehicle. This may be because the value of the replacement part is disproportionate to the value of the car at the time of the accident.

Consumers should take the time to obtain a second or even a third opinion on the diagnosed repair.

Go to an independent workshop. Get another quote, or even two. In doing so, it may come as a surprise that the initial diagnosis was incorrect, or, if it was correct, that the initial repair quote was exorbitant.

There is no longer a massive divide between what a dealership and an independent workshop can offer. The scales are balancing and consumers are finding that independents are versatile when it comes to repairing all makes and models of cars. Their technicians have a wealth of experience and knowledge, and the repairs cost less.

There is also merit in finding out about reconditioned parts and whether this is an option for the type of repair needed.

Often, owners of vehicles that are out of warranty keep returning to a dealership to have their vehicles serviced or repaired out of habit.

The reality is that more often than not an independent workshop can service your car at a more affordable rate than a dealer can. The key is to use a workshop that is accredited with the Motor Industry Workshop Association.

Consumers have a right to obtain a second opinion and not to be bullied into making a quick decision.

Take your time, do the maths and call on experts to assist you.

Vehicle repairs are a big expense, so it’s important that you receive the best service, at the most affordable rate, from a trustworthy service provider.

Dewald Ranft is the chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association.

PERSONAL FINANCE