The BBC sent 10 vehicles to different Kwik-Fit garages to find out if accusations made by a whistleblower from the company were true.
Ahead of the cars’ visits for free brake and tyre checks, the BBC had forensic technician John Dabek, a member of the Institute of the Motor Industry, check and prepare the vehicles.
He placed silicone on the wheels to see if they would be removed throughout the process and Kwik-Fit failed to check seven out of the 10 vehicles, the programme claims. Several coming back with a clean bill of health despite having a nail or screw lodged in the tyre, or being dangerously underinflated.
A total of £700 of additional work, including shock absorber repairs on a VW Golf, was also recommended.
The BBC said the work was either unnecessary, or didn’t need doing urgently, but Kwik-Fit refused to accept the findings and said the recommendations took manufacturers’ information into account and advice from organisations such as Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
They said that some of the communication from its staff could have been clearer and operate a zero tolerance policy on recommending unnecessary work.
Kwik-Fit added: “We are very confident that our advice regarding the rear shock absorbers was correct and we consider that our position is supported by the guidance from two leading independent manufacturers and the RAC.
“We have made it very clear to the BBC that we are willing to pay for an independent laboratory to assess the condition of the shock absorbers to put our diagnosis to the test. In fact, we offered this on three separate occasions, but the BBC has not accepted this offer nor has it provided any reasons for not doing so.”
The Independent Garage Association has also commented on the investigation, with Stuart James commenting: “Whilst the IGA is aware that there are some areas of concern within the motor industry, it is unfair and unjustified to judge all garages based on this one example.
“The Trust My Garage scheme was launched to offer consumers piece of mind when using one of its member garages. All Trust My Garage sites demonstrate true professionalism and are dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.”