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Can a Mechanic Drive My Car While in For Repair?

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 11 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Can A Mechanic Drive My Car While In For Repair?

Q.

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)

A.

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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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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