How it all began

Steph Savill at the wheel
Steph Savill at the wheel

The founder of a Steyning-based Lady Drivers Club has hit out at garages which fail to carry out required work for car MOTs.

Steph Savill, founder and managing director of Steyning-based FOXY Lady Drivers Club, the only motoring club in the UK for women, has responded to a new report by West Sussex Trading Standards which found that only one of eight garages tested by the organisation carried out all the required work on a test car.

The report said the car was checked afterwards to see if the garages had actually done the work they claimed, whether they had made any false or misleading claims about further work required, or done extra work without authorisation.

The eight garages were targeted after Trading Standards had received complaints from members of the public. A car was prepared beforehand then taken to each garage for a service and pre-MOT check.

Serious shortcomings included an oil filter which was not (but should have been) changed in a service, despite being charged for. Similarly a tyre was said to be damaged, and part of an exhaust in need of replacement when neither was faulty in the first place. Other errors included an engine overfilled with oil, extra work done and charged for without prior agreement, and tyre pressures which were not checked and topped up. Formal action is now being considered by Trading Standards against four of the garages.

Steph Savill commented: “Frankly it makes my blood boil. FOXY Lady Drivers Club and FOXY Choice, our female-friendly network of UK garages, have long campaigned for the regulation of garages and car mechanics.

“At the moment, anyone can set up a garage to service or repair our cars without qualifications or industry accreditation. This means we could be entrusting our vehicles and the safety of ourselves, our families, friends and colleagues plus everyone else on the road, to someone who might not know what they are doing.

“We have a vested interest in identifying the best garages from the rest for our female members, who are often patronised and potentially ripped off simply through perceived gender stereotypes, but this report affects men too.

“Through our Lady Drivers Club, we can help women drivers who have problems with garages, and advise how to steer clear of dodgy ones. Sister company F OXY Choice publishes a Good Garage Guide, listing female friendly garages .”