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Halfords Service Advice

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Hi, I'm a new member here.

I am also a new car owner (as in this is my first car) so wondered if you could give me some advice.

I bought a Mk1 Focus in July '14. This and driving lessons, insurance etc has skint me. I finally took it for a service yesterday and decided to go for a major for piece of mind, plus it hasn't always started first time since the winter and a major included testing starter motor and replacing spark plugs if needed. I spent the last of my money on it.

When I picked it up I was presented with a list of £1200 worth of 'urgent' work that needed to be done (I had already explained I couldn't afford to get anything done now), so last night I was literally on the verge of getting rid of the car before next MOT. I only paid £750 for the car and already had to replace the alternator for £250.

They listed all brakes front and back need replacing (at the MOT in July they only noted slight lip on one front disc, I've probably only done 2K miles since then), cam belt due to be changed, both rear bearings worn - all listed as 'red' meaning urgent attention needed.

Also listed two front tyres need replacing - listed as 'amber'.

Having bought a tyre tread gizmo today I've discovered that they consistently have no less than 5mm tread depth all round, and no wear or damage anywhere including side wall. Haven't noticed any noises etc to suggest bearing problems, though I realise they may still need doing - just not sure whether to trust their judgement that it's 'urgent'.

I've also realised that the rear windscreen washer jet still doesn't work (it didn't before I went in) but according to Halfords this is checked during a major service. Also the car struggled to start today. Sadly they haven't specifically given me a list of what has been done, they just put a star in biro above the pre-printed list of what's included in a major service. I regret now not asking to speak to the mechanic as I've no idea what has/hasn't been done, any spark plugs replaced, whether starter motor was checked etc.

I'm a bit annoyed that they are scare mongering with the whole 'red/amber' thing, and now I don't trust a thing they say. Is this a fairly normal experience after a service? In future will speak to the mechanic. Lesson learned.

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Thank you. Yes I'm happy to do what I can myself (already replaced cracked thermostat housing thanks to here and youtube, but it took hours!) but tricky with no driveway and zero experience, but one job at a time.

Really I think I'll have to concentrate on brakes before MOT, not entirely confident about changing those myself though. Considered getting a free brake check at Kwik Fit to see if it tallies with what Halfords say but I'm sure they'll "exaggerate" just as much! There's presumably a reason the checks are free. So I'm getting the impression the only way you can know for sure is by checking yourself. Shame.

I did use a local independent for the alternator but I'm pretty sure they ripped me off with that and the thermo housing quote, which is why I went to Halfords



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Yeah as you say, these 'free' checks will always find something to charge you for.  It's a shame but I don't trust any of them after some bad situations myself.  I have since learned to do pretty much everything on them, obviously that doesn't happen overnight though and can be awkward without a driveway.  Best bet is to have a mate with experience on cars - even better if they work at a garage and can do you trade price MOTs. :wink: 

If you trust the MOT garage, put the car in for MOT a bit early (can be up to a month early to keep the same date) and see if it fails on brakes, if it does get them sorted obviously, but you might find they still pass the brake test fine and are just an advisory for a slight lip or something, giving you time to get the money together to do them.  You should be able to visually see if they're knackered though - or upload a few pics of the discs front and back and the pad thickness and we'll be able to advise if they're likely to pass MOT or not. :smile: 

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Don't ever let Halfords anywhere near your car, is the advice I give to everybody. Quick fit are just as bad, out to make money & nothing more

Better using an independant garage or DIY

www.yorkshiredetailing.co.uk - approved resellers of the Highest quality detailing & Valeting supplies

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21 minutes ago, GingerFlame said:

Don't ever let halfords anywhere near your car, is the advice I give to everybody. Quick fit are just as bad, out to make money & nothing more

Better using an independant garage or DIY

www.yorkshiredetailing.co.uk - approved resellers of the Highest quality Detailing & Valeting supplies

Took the Mondeo in for a oil and fuel filter change a few month before Christmas, they could not get the car started for over an hour, they must of used several cans on easy start to try get it to fire up, they flattened the battery and has to recharge it, eventually they got it started by rolling it in the garage a suggestion by my self lol. Won't be going again that's for sure.

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You're lucky then!  Towing them to get them started after a filter change isn't uncommon...  Wish they'd fit electric lift pumps to modern diesels, so much easier back when you could prime the system by flicking the ignition on. :lol:   Not sure why but even with a hand primer the Mondeos still don't like to fire, not had that much trouble with a DV6 yet, still a pain though.

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Diesel Mondeos are a bugger to start after a fuel filter change, even worse than our 1.6TDCIs!!  :lol:

Never had an issue in over 10 years of diesel Mondeo ownership

Easy when you know how, on all ford diesels. With the right knowledge and primer.

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Lol, it's not just filter changes, but running out of fuel as well.  With the old 2.0 HDi/1.9PD I could run out of fuel, chuck some in and start straight away.  On the Focus you cant get the fuel in without that funnel that's buried under the crap in the boot, then can't start it without the hand primer that's in the toolbox at home...  Brilliant haha.

Don't think I've worked on anything new enough to have a vapouriser pump yet.

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