Tuesday 31 May 2011

Reforms introduced to prevent abuse of Blue Badge parking bays applauded by Good Garage Scheme.

Norman Baker, the minister for local transport, has won the support of several major supermarket chains in his quest to prevent parking bays set aside for the disabled being abused by able-bodied motorists.

Reforms announced earlier this year to combat the problem have taken various forms. Most importantly, the badge has been redesigned to make forgery more difficult.

Local authorities have also been given greater powers to control illegal parking. However, as their powers do not extend beyond public highways, support of this scheme by such private land owners as supermarkets, has been vital. Their support of these chains will be provided by methods such as patrols within car parks, announcements on PA systems, and even parking charge notices, which can carry fines of up to £150.

The Blue Badge parking scheme enables disabled motorists to access facilities that would otherwise be out of reach but fraud of this kind is rife. For those whose mobility is impeded, it is a source of increasing frustration.

Mr Baker said: ‘I am delighted to have secured the support of the major supermarket groups and to know that they share my view that abuse of Blue Badge parking bays needs to be tackled, protecting customers who rely on such spaces. I hope other large retailers will now follow suit and consider what action they can take to help their Blue Badge customers.’

The Good Garage Scheme applauds Mr Baker’s efforts and would welcome his dream being realised.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Motorists wise up to better fuel efficiency

With escalating costs of fuel and insurance, we’re all well aware of how expensive the cost of motoring has become. Getting more for your money is becoming increasingly important with better fuel efficiency and keeping vehicles in the best possible condition high on the agenda.

How can I start?

Developing better driving habits is the key to ensuring YOUR vehicle is running as fuel efficiently as possible, including:

•    Staying within speed limits and avoiding driving aggressively
•    Avoiding sharp breaking and accelerating – and save up to 30% in fuel costs
•    Planning journeys to avoid extra mileage if you get lost
•    Removing roof boxes to reduce drag
•    Removing heavy items, such as tools, from your boot to avoid overworking the engine
•    Not overusing air conditioning

What next?

So you’ve started to change your driving habits but you still might not be driving as efficiently as possible. What’s the reason? Skimping on or simply ignoring your regular vehicle service. While you might think you’re making a saving in the short term, driving with the incorrect tyre pressure alone can significantly reduce fuel efficiency and fuel consumption by up to 2%.

Poor wheel alignment can lead to your car pulling to one side, again reducing fuel efficiency while increasing wear and tear on your tyres.

System contamination and increased wear and tear on components can be caused by failure to change the oil. It can all add up to one thing – a potentially hefty repairs bill when problems that could have been avoided start to crop up. STILL think you’re making a saving?

So what do I do?

Look for your nearest UK-wide Good Garage Scheme member at www.goodgaragescheme.com and type in your postcode to find your nearest member garage. A self-regulatory body for independent workshops and MOT centres, the Good Garage Scheme ensures the best industry standards are maintained by its members. It has more than 3,000 members who adhere to a strict Code of Conduct and offer an Industry Standard Service.

The Good Garage Scheme
‘It’s like having a friend in the know’

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Most dangerous road is again the “Cat and Fiddle”, Good Garage Scheme learns.

A notorious section of the A537 in the Peak District, known as “the Cat and Fiddle”, has again scooped the unwanted title of the UK’s most dangerous road.

This road has been the most lethal stretch of UK highway for the last four years, with an increase of over sixty per cent in the number of accidents on its twelve kilometre length.
The geography of the local area plays its part in adding to the dangers with hills and narrow bends, in addition to weather making the road so hazardous.

The Road Safety Foundation’s findings highlight the peril of single-carriageway roads in comparison to dual carriageways and motorways. Their report highlights that single carriageways are more dangerous due to their ‘frequent blind corners and sweeping bends’.

Measures indicated by the report to improve safety figures included road resurfacing, plus making road signage and markings a lot better. These measures employed on fifteen roads across the UK have seen a reduction in the number of serious injuries and fatalities by around as many as three hundred people.

Road Safety Foundation Director Dr Joanne Hill said: ‘These are practical, largely inexpensive solutions which will pay back the costs of investment in an average of 10 weeks and go on saving lives and saving money for the nation for many years to come. Much of this remedial work can be done as part of routine maintenance.’


  1. A537 Macclesfield - Buxton
  2. A5012 Pikehall - Matlock
  3. A621 Baslow - Totley
  4. A625 Calver - Sheffield
  5. A5004 Whaley Bridge - Buxton
  6. A54 Congleton - Buxton
  7. A530 Whitchurch - Nantwich
  8. A285 Chichester - Petworth
  9. A581 Rufford - Chorley
  10. A675 Blackburn – Bolton

Source: Road Safety Foundation

Thursday 19 May 2011

Government plan to impose fixed penalty fines for reckless drivers, Good Garage Scheme reads.

The Government have revealed plans to introduce an on-the-spot fine of around £80-£100 in an attempt to curb motoring manoeuvres deemed reckless. The plan has been welcomed by some but has been criticised by Road Safety charity Brake as not going far enough to deter offenders.

Under the new proposals, manoeuvres such as “cutting up other drivers”, undertaking and tailgating would be outlawed and met with fixed penalties, rather than bringing the matter before the courts. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond sees this as a means to pinpoint true, “conscious” offenders, rather than those unwittingly committing offences while usually being law-abiding.

Mr Hammond said: “Our vision is to ensure Britain remains a world leader on road safety. We will only do this is if we bring people with us. This means cracking down on the most dangerous drivers without waging war on the law abiding majority. We will focus relentlessly on cracking down on the really reckless few who are responsible for a disproportionately large number of accidents and deaths on our roads.”

Under the proposed framework, re-testing or additional training would be required of those who had been banned from driving before being allowed to get back into a driver’s seat.

Julie Townsend of road safety charity Brake had this to say: “We are desperately concerned that a fixed penalty fine of £80-100 is woefully inadequate as a deterrent to potentially life-threatening behaviour behind the wheel.”

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Good Garage Scheme member runs highly successful ladies car maintenance evenings in their workshop.

Field’s Car Centre, based in Woking, Surrey has introduced a new and successful way of attracting more customers to their business.

They have recently conducted the first of two ladies evenings with the second due to take place next month. Since joining the Good Garage Scheme over four years ago, they have achieved a highly commendable 97.41% rating from well over 500 customer feedback replies received on the Good Garage Scheme website.

 The evening covers motoring procedures such as MOTs and informal car maintenance including fluid checks under the bonnet plus tyre changing.

Attending the recent evening, among over thirty others, was Steph Savill, noted in the UK motor industry as the creator of Foxy Lady Drivers Club, that seek out and endorse motoring businesses that are both female friendly and trustworthy. She said of the evening: ‘My instant impression was of a female friendly garage and a team of staff that was committed to getting things right for women.’

Field’s Car Centre, established in 1981 by brothers Richard and Michael Field, are also part of the “Buy With Confidence” scheme, introduced by Surrey County Council, in conjunction with Trading Standards.

To register your interest in attending the workshop, please contact Lynne at Field’s Car Centre on 01483 766634.

Thursday 12 May 2011

Good Garage Scheme member wins award for swift service.

Granville Auto Centre of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire has been crowned their regional winner in the nationwide Swift Awards, promoted by swiftcover.com.

The business, serving the Fylde coast since 1993, has been a member of the Good Garage Scheme since 2008 and last year won the Good Garage Scheme’s regional award for the North West plus the national award for the most feedback replies received of all members during 2010. They currently have nearly 3000 feedback replies on the Good Garage Scheme website.

Gemma Holderness of Granville Auto Centre said: ‘We are delighted to have won this award. It’s great that we’ve been recognised for customer service as we’re a business which has prided on its standards since it began.’

The garage has been chosen for their ability to provide ‘quick, reliable and hassle-free service to their customers’. From five regional finalists, Granville Autocare scooped the gold regional award.

Tina Shortle, a director at swiftcover.com said: ‘Granville deserves to be recognised for its tireless efforts in delivering such a high standard of service. The local communities and regions across the UK rely on small businesses and we want to champion them with this award. For the past three years, the Swift Awards have highlighted the work of more than 800 local businesses in the UK, and we think it’s time that these exceptional businesses are celebrated in the wider community.’

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Ford and Volkswagen drivers top Good Garage Scheme survey

With austerity being the watchword of the moment, drivers of popular marques Ford and Volkswagen are increasingly turning to independent specialist garages, according to the UK-wide Good Garage Scheme.

They topped the latest ‘Top Marques’ searches carried out by visitors to the Good Garage Scheme website. The survey aimed to highlight how many motorists of specific marques are looking to have their quality vehicles serviced by a specialist independent garage rather than taking it to a main dealer.

Motorists visiting the website can find their nearest Good Garage Scheme member and refine their searches to identify those who have expertise in specific makes of vehicle.
Over a recent three month period, a total of 39 different marques were searched by over 2700 motorists looking for a specialist independent garage.

Ford, Volkswagen and BMW were the most popular marques searched comprising over 35% of postcodes searches.

The Good Garage Scheme’s ‘Top Marques’ top 10 included:
1.    Ford
2.    Volkswagen
3.    BMW
4.    Vauxhall
5.    Mercedes
6.    Audi
7.    Jaguar
8.    Land Rover
9.    Citroen
10.    Toyota

Anndi Sheppard, Good Garage Scheme marketing manager, said: “Good Garage Scheme members often offer the most cost-effective solution for motorists when they need work carrying out on their vehicles. With austerity never far from everybody’s minds at the moment, value for money has become increasingly important as motorists tighten their belts. Our website provides motorists with the ideal tool to find their nearest independent garages quickly and efficiently. This is enhanced by being able to refine searches to find expertise in specific makes and models, as highlighted in our latest Top Marques survey.”

Thursday 5 May 2011

Good Garage Scheme member wins Top Technician award again!

John Tinham Motor Engineer, a Good Garage Scheme member based in Chelmsford, Essex, has landed the Top Technician award for 2011. He previously won the prize in 2005 and in regaining the accolade, has become the first technician to do so. In addition to these achievements, he has regularly featured among the finalists over the years of the competition.

A series of practical, online and written tests were conducted under the supervision of the chief judge of the competition, Ian Gillgrass, Accreditation Manager at The Institute of The Motor Industry (IMI) and other experts including a previous Top Technician winner and Delphi trainers.

Mike Bewsey, Marketing & Sales Director of event sponsor Comma, said: ‘John Tinham’s success is richly deserved and we congratulate him on an outstanding achievement. Once again, it underlines what we have long maintained: motorists can trust independent workshops to have the skills, knowledge and experience to service their vehicles to the highest possible standard.’

Mr Bewsey continued: ‘Many private motorists are not even aware that European law fully empowers independent workshops to service vehicles of all ages without in any way jeopardising the owner’s warranty.’

John Tinham Motor Engineer, formed in 1988, have achieved a stunning 99.3% Customer Rating from over 500 feedback replies received on the Good Garage Scheme website

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Good Garage Scheme member reaches 3,000 feedback replies milestone.

R M Services, a Good Garage Scheme member based in Hathern, near Loughborough, Leicestershire have become the first garage on the Good Garage Scheme to receive feedback from three thousand customers.

Since joining in October 2007, while the Good Garage Scheme was still in its infancy, R M Services have maintained a five-star rating on the Good Garage Scheme website. Recently, they were awarded the local regional prize for most feedback received during 2010 and they have progressed from this by becoming the first garage on the scheme to reach this total.

R M Services, led by Roger Coates, provides Servicing, MOT Testing, Repairs and Diagnostics to both domestic and commercial customers throughout their region, as well as offering a recovery service locally as well as courtesy vehicles.

Good Garage Scheme members are required to comply with a strict Code of Conduct and offer a 50-point Industry Standard Service. This, coupled with the customer feedback system that R M Services have supported so successfully, means that customers have peace of mind when choosing an independent garage wherever in the UK they are.

Feedback can be given via either a freepost feedback card issued by the garage when completing the work done or alternatively, the customer can choose to enter their comments via the Good Garage Scheme website.

The system has the benefit of allowing the garages a valuable insight into their performance as seen through the eyes of the customer.