RAC Cars News


What Does It Really Cost To Replace A Headlamp Bulb?

By raccars Published

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A survey by motoring magazine, Auto Express, has revealed startling disparities in the price charged by garages countrywide for changing a headlamp bulb. In an investigation to check if car owners are getting a fair deal for minor works, Auto Express questioned franchised dealers across the country about how much they charge for changing a headlight bulb.

The motoring magazine anonymously contacted three franchised dealers for each of 50 different best selling models of car. It requested two prices: the cost to supply the bulb and a separate price to fit the bulb. The greatest disparity of price was produced by the Nissan Qashqai, with the lowest cost of £5.40 coming in £44.60 lower than the highest price given, at £50. A third garage wanted £15.39 to perform the same task. The Qashqai was followed by the Renault Captur, for which one garage offered to supply and fit the new headlamp bulb free of charge, compared to the £40 charged by an alternative garage. Renault dealers also differed in opinion on whether warranty policies covered this work.

The highest quote of all was given by Mazda, which wanted an astonishing £71.99 to change a headlight bulb on the Mazda3. The overall average charge for a new headlight bulb and labour to change it was £22.77.

Some of the price differences can be explained by mechanical differences between the models, which mean the work takes far longer in some cases than others. But this doesn't explain the massive difference in prices between dealers for the same model. Quotes from Volkswagen were the most consistent, with a total of nine quotes for three different models - the Golf, the Passat and the Polo. All nine dealers charged a set fee of £16.40 to complete the work, regardless which model was involved. Skoda was also very consistent, with the three dealers contacted for a bulb change on the Yeti mode all charging within £1 of each other, at £15-£16. Volvo dealers were next, questioned about the XC90 model, all charging for the bulb only and offering free fitting for between £10.08 and £15.

Varying levels of satisfaction with customer service were also recorded as part of the same survey. The phone manner of premium brands was criticised and BMW and Audi, in particular, came under fire for being unable to provide a quote unless supplied with owner and registration plate details. Skoda and Volkswagen were both praised for their helpful telephone service.

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