Doctors and lawyers can be cheaper to hire than car mechanics, research has revealed.
 
An investigation by What Car? magazine found drivers are frequently paying more than ?100 per hour for labour at franchised motor dealers.
 
It showed hourly rates vary across the country, from ?49 for Vauxhall in Scotland to ?140 pounds for BMW in London.
 
A doctor charging around ?350 a day is cheaper.
 
And a criminal law junior barrister can cost as little as ?30 an hour.
 
The magazine found drivers can pay ?66 for a mechanic to change an Audi's main-beam light bulb - even though the bulb itself costs just ?3.96.
What Car? group editor Steve Fowler said: "Consumers could save hundreds of pounds if they shop around and do their research.
 
"Quite simply, dealership labour rates for repair bills are just too high."
 
The researchers discovered advances in technology had made previously simple jobs time-consuming, with car owners bearing the financial brunt.
Mr Fowler added: "One option I will be considering is to book my car in at the cheapest garage, even if I have to travel to it.
 
"The savings I can make will pay for a night in a hotel and a decent meal."
 
The magazine said consumers should also be aware that they can use non-franchised dealers and still keep their warranty.
To protect the manufacturer warranty the service provider must be VAT-registered and should use manufacturer's parts.
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