Car servicing centres guide

Think you'll get a better service from the dealer's service centre? Think again.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:30 Apr 2008
 

01 .Introduction

Car mechanic

When you hand your car over for a service, you’d hope for — and it’s certainly not unreasonable to expect — honest and expert advice about the condition of your car and any repairs needed.

Unfortunately, though, 89% of service centres missed at least one of the faults CHOICE had planted when our female shadow shopper took popular makes of car for a minor service and safety check at their makers’ service centres. Clearly something is going wrong.

She took the cars (early to mid-2000s samples of a Ford Laser LXi, Holden TS Astra Classic, Subaru Liberty and Toyota Echo) to dealer service centres in various suburbs of Sydney for each of those four popular car makes.

To ensure each car was being judged on an equal footing, an independent mechanic with 20 years' experience, hired by CHOICE for the project, planted the following faults in each car:

  • The left reverse light globe was blown.
  • The right rear tyre pressure was reduced to 20% below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
  • The spare tyre pressure was reduced to 10 psi.
  • The brake fluid was reduced to the minimum level.

Our driver went to each service centre and asked for a minor service and safety check before driving interstate. Our independent mechanic then determined whether the faults had been noted and rectified. We wanted to know if dealer service centres would:

  • Detect and fix the minor faults.
  • Detect and mention any pre-existing conditions that needed repair.
  • Recommend that any unnecessary work be performed.

We also compared the prices charged for a minor service and safety check for each make.

CHOICE Verdict

  •  All car owners should be able to expect and receive a high-quality service from a dealer service centre. Indeed, car companies reinforce this customer expectation in their own literature. However, as our investigation shows, the industry didn’t stand up to the rigour of our shadow shop.
  • Only three out of 28 service centres picked up all four basic faults we planted. This is not good enough. For more details, see our scorecards for each service centre: Ford, Holden, Subaru and Toyota.
  • Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to car servicing. For every dealer that delivers a competent repair and service, there’s another that will take your money, give second-rate advice and miss vital and obvious faults that need to be fixed for safety and roadworthiness.
  • Get a better service gives some advice to help you avoid being ripped off — no matter where you take your car.
  • Please note: this information was current as of April 2008 but is still a useful guide today.


 
 

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Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | Your praise of the Homelite bemused me, because you say there line feed mechanism works.

It does work when brand new, but give it a couple of weeks, and it fails.

I have two Homelites: I bought two because they brake down - and I had to replace the feed head with a third party one, where you push in the line yourself.

For the price they are OK but then again, when the fuel bulb fails you have to through them out. They don't start easily either. Their motor seems good (although its only two stroke) but the rest of the unit seems very cheap.

It surprised you rated it well. A quality made unit will rate poorly in your reviews I suspect, because a good feed unit for instance, will weigh more than the el-cheapo Homelite unit, which is tough to feed new line into and also fails to function pretty quickly. I know this because with my Homelites, the feed has always been fragile and I've had to replace the feed units on them.





 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Douglas's opinion:

  • Member since: 19 Mar 14
  • 6 Comments
  • 3 Replies
0
 
User Profile

3 MONTHS AGO | You score the Honda UMS425U only 90 for horizontal and vertical trimming, whereas other trimmers often get 100.

Your summary comments include for the Honda:

• Excellent at trimming vertically and horizontally.

So ... which is true

Are you guys legitimate?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Mimi's opinion:

  • 1 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

5 MONTHS AGO | Hi I've read through the CHOICE report about line trimmers and have decided to go electric. I'm a total Learner and have never tried using this tool. Then I tried using my Dads Flymo whipper snipper. The guard kept coming off and for some reason Dad has had to screw the rotating head on his. Not what I want !! I'm after a light weight, automatic feed, something that's cuts edges well and can cut long grass. Can anyone recommend a brand and model?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

John's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 May 10
  • 7 Comments
  • 1 Replies
0
 
User Profile

6 MONTHS AGO | I was on the verge of buying the Flymo Contour 700 when I read a couple of reviews on a hardware store website. Both reviews stated concern that it uses 1.5mm line and you can only buy 1.6mm and therefore it jams frequently and much time is lost unjamming the spool. Also, the lightweight line used in electric models do not last long.
Does anyone know if both these assertions are correct?

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Stirling Libraries's opinion:

  • 7 Comments
  • 0 Replies
0
 
User Profile

7 MONTHS AGO | Hi Chris, would you please send the link to the previous line trimmer review as i'm interested in comparing the shindaiwa product tested previously, thanks

 
 
 
 
 

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