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Can a Mechanic Drive My Car While in For Repair?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 29 Jun 2021 | comments*Discuss
Can A Mechanic Drive My Car While In For Repair?


My vehicle was taken into a garage for repairs and was at the garage for 7 to 8 weeks. It was returned a few days after the repair was completed. A few days later it developed the same fault that had allegedly been sorted (at a cost of nearly £1000).

On speaking to the garage they said that it could not be the same fault it had gone in with because it had done 'loads of miles' before being returned. On seeking clarificaton the mechanic said that he had been using it to get to and from work since the repair had been done and it had worked ok.

Could you confirm whether the garage should have obtained consent for this use of the vehicle or if it was being driven legally?

(A.R, 30 April 2009)


Although you did not explicitly give your consent for your car to be driven whilst it was being worked on in the garage, this is not necessarily illegal. Ordinarily, either yourself or the other driver must have the relevant insurance to cover any damage that may be caused while they are driving your car. Some garages have special insurance that allows them to drive your car. For example, they may be able to drive your car for test driving purposes to ensure that problems have been fully fixed before it is returned to you. They may also have insurance that allows them to drive the car to collect new parts or have new tyres fitted. If you have any doubts as to whether the garage in question has these types of insurance, it is worth asking as they may well have done nothing wrong in legal terms.

Despite this, the garage should have notified you that they would have to use your car whilst it was in the garage, as there are practical considerations attached to this. For example, it will increase your car's mileage and add to the general wear and tear of the vehicle. Both of these can have a knock-on effect if you want to sell the car at a later date.

Lack of Permission

If you did not give your permission for your car to be driven and the relevant insurance is not in place, it is possible to report this as “theft”. The legal position on this views the lack of permission as being akin to stealing the vehicle. If any damage occurs as a result of an accident, the owner of the car is usually not responsible for paying for this.

Driving Offences

If a driving offence such as Speeding is committed whilst the car is being borrowed by someone else, it is the owner of the car who is responsible for paying the fine and accepting points on his or her driving licence. This may seem grossly unfair if you were not the person driving the car at the time, but it is very difficult or even impossible to prove that you were not the driver.

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I put my car in local garage to fix dent and respray. Person in Garage initially told me that car would be fixed by noon following day, I was so happy and I dropped my car 1000am as being requested. However no-one turned up on time I had to wait till 1115.( This was just start) At that time they were so apologetic and still promised me that all job would be done by noon following day. Next day, when I contacted them if car was ready for collection as scheduled. They told me that work has been delayed so asked me to come at 4pm which I did. When I turned up, I saw mechanic still working on my car, waiting and waiting......finally when car was ready, I wanted to pay bill by card, suddenly, theatrically he told me they could not open office door where card reader kept because they lost key. I asked them to find key once again as I didn't have much cash on me and needed a car back immediately for work(I pointed out this several time). They later asked me to pay cash or bank transfer. For me if I had information about payment in advance before I come to collect, off course I could easily prepare cash or bank transfer but not in those such chaotic situation. So I asked them if I would come back to pay following or go to nearest ATM to withdraw maximum amount I could get as card's daily allowance and pay rest following day but I needed my car back. ( I could not go to bank to withdraw money manually due to timing of the day. Nearly closing time)They refused all of those even though all of this was caused by them to lose key, I begged them several times as I had to go conference I could not miss. And Thier boss suggested/tried to force)me that one of staff come to my house with me and see if I have done bank transfer, once done it they could release car to me but I had to lift this staff back to their garage(40mins), boss told me that was the only option they could release my car same day. At that point, I was so angry as they treated me like possible criminal and decided not to agree to them and decided bring cash following day which I did. When I collected my car and realized that mileage increased about 50miles during 2days, (I took pic of meter before I handed my car to them). What I ask them was dent repair and respray so I don't think there was NO reason they moved my car a lot.is anyone had those kind of experience?? Is there anything I can do lawfully?? My point one is garage kept my car like hostage until I pay bill but all this problem was caused by garage to lose office key. This led me had to cancel my important meeting with my client. Second is they drove my car over 50miles without my permission in 2days Are those action by garage allowed lawfully?? Do you know where I can complain properly??
Ken - 29-Jun-21 @ 10:20 PM
My car went in for a clutch the garageAnd the third-party crashed my car do I have to pay for the clutch what is now no good to me
Andrew - 17-Jun-21 @ 9:35 PM
Garage had car to fit new partstested car up road and blew engine said I must of drive it when hot been at garage for weeks
Sheep - 24-May-21 @ 11:00 AM
Handed my performance car into dealership, washed and clean for service, oil change. Car had been stationery for weeks due to heavy snow. oil change done, late in the day phone call about tyre being damaged. Seemed fine when at my house for weeks in driveway. Got vehicle back with 8 miles on clock, not bad. There was grass and mud in drivers side foot area, dirt and soil over alloy wheels bonnet and and windscreen. looks like my car had been off road, now making me think they damaged tyre and I paying for it. Not happy at the garage and not happy no phone call about test drive when it was not needed. Feel my car has been taken by a member of staff for fun and other staff did not realise it had even left the garage by one of there employees. Commented to me, no it not left the garage. I understand vehicles do need test driven in certain circumstances as I work on cars, DIY for years. Any advice on the matter for future visits be great.
Bob - 9-Mar-21 @ 4:10 PM
We were rear ended in our brand new 2020 Jeep Wrangler on our way to Missouri. We took it to a dealership/mechanic to be fixed. Upon arriving to pick up the vehicle my husband noticed a paint park on the back and found a large scratch that the guy admitted to painting with a brush in order to fix. Let me point out that our vehicle doesn’t even have a swirl mark in the paint, we are so meticulous with its care. Needless to say, he was not happy and refused the vehicle until that is fixed. When I got inside, he noticed the odometer had extra miles on it, not just a typical test drive, 100 MILES!!! I want to know how this can be legal and what we can do about it! I know we can’t get the miles off of the car but it is such a biolating situation! Thanks in advance!
slauren - 27-Apr-20 @ 2:13 PM
My vehicle was taken into a garage for servicing for one day. During the time my car was at the mechanic garage, he drove my car and had an accident with the car – he reversed into another car. The mechanic returned the car after the repair was completed. The mechanic did not inform me that he was involved in an accident with my car. A year later I received a letter from my insurance company informing me of the accident and to give them the details of the accident. As I know I was not involved in any accident, I checked my diary and realised that the car was the mechanic on the date of the accident. I asked the mechanic and he confirmed that he had an accident with my car but could not explain why he did not inform me about it. The mechanic provided me with his name and the name of his insurer which I passed on to my insurance company. The insurance came back and said that they need his insurance policy number as they were not getting any response from his insurance company. I have been chasing the mechanic since then but he has refused to pick my calls or reply my text messages. Unfortunately the garage has folded up so the only contact I have is his mobile numbers. Because of this my premium has increased and my no claim bonus reduced to 7 years from 12 year. Could you confirm whether the garage should have obtained consent for this use of the vehicle or if it was being driven legally? Could you please advise me what else I can do to get him to own up to this and to get his insurance details?
Abi babe - 31-Oct-19 @ 4:17 PM
I took my 2016 Mustang GT to the garage i bought it from to have a warranty job done on it. It needed a new resonator. I took a picture of the mileage before leaving it with them. When i got it back, someone there had put 11 miles on it. Was that really necessary? Or, do I need to bring it up with them? Not happy about it. Why would they need to drive it 11 miles, for changing middle section of exhaust?
Boltingskyline - 12-Sep-19 @ 1:44 AM
Hi My car has been in a garage undergoing repair for three weeks now, I have just received a parking fine for my car in a local gym car park, whilst the car was in the garage!! Would like to know where I stand on this issue regarding my rights and how to proceed further. Thanks
None - 10-Jul-19 @ 11:22 PM
Left my car to get fixed, its been 3 weeks and i haven't heard from mechanic. I finally get a hold of mechanic and he tells me the car is almost done.1 week later I stop by the shop to check on my car and the mechanic has his baby in the back seat of my car.I could tell my car has been being uses as his personalcar. When I asked what's going on with my car, he tells me my car have been done for 2 weeks and he has been trying to reach me. I didn't get any calls from any one .
neffer - 12-Sep-18 @ 12:49 PM
Is it OK for mechanic to not ask owner of car that they ate taking car home due to no room to store at there work shop???
Grrrrr - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:55 PM
I put my car in garage 12 was he kept sayin cudnt find the fault. Was outside his house for nites then said he was testin the mornin starts. Then said was test driving it 14 was. I stopped my insurance cos assumed covered by the garage policy as he drivin it. He got stopped in my car an it was impounded an I got nothing
Jay - 9-Feb-18 @ 1:13 AM
Jenny - Your Question:
Can I get points if my mechanic went through a red light

Our Response:
No the driver of the vehicle at the timeis responsible. Hopefully you have some evidence that it wasn't you driving.
YourDrivingLicence - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:35 PM
Can I get points if my mechanic went through a red light
Jenny - 11-Jan-18 @ 3:15 PM
i had a drink driving ban 14 years ago on a provisional licence would it be shown if i applied for a new provisional licence
maggot - 11-Sep-13 @ 4:17 PM
This answer requires clarification, even though this article is over 2/3 years old. The offence is not a theft as there has been no intention to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle. There is a separate crime classification of Taken without owners consent. This offence covers the unauthorised use of the vehicle. Consent on the owners behalf is assumed for the purposes of the work to be carried out on the vehicle. In this case, the mechanic using the vehicle to get to/from work could be classed as a deviation from this, which becomes unpermitted use, and therefore unlawful.
anon. - 18-May-12 @ 4:59 PM
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