The cost of repairing a car is on the rise again, according to the annual Warranty Direct labour rates survey.

With some motorists still being charged up to GBP190 an hour, the national average cost of garage labour (franchised dealers and independent workshops combined) has risen by 5.81% to GBP74.82 over the past 12 months. 

Warranty Direct found franchised dealers were nearly 40% more expensive than their independent competitors. 

Despite the national rise, some regions have seen marked falls with Greater London down 2.5%. However, the biggest drops were saved for the north, with Northumberland and Lanarkshire mechanics reducing their hourly charges by 12.7% and 12.6% respectively.

The average labour rate for franchised dealers is now GBP90.59 (up from GBP87.19 last year) with independents standing at GBP55.90 (GBP52.69 in 2009).

The survey found Surrey to be the most expensive place to get a car repaired in the UK, with an average cost per hour of GBP87.59. The highest hourly rate found was a franchised dealer in Hertfordshire charging GBP190.35.

“The once relentless upward march of labour rates appears to have started again after a slight dip last year,” said Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “To avoid paying above inflationary rises, motorists need to shop around, and not be afraid to push their preferred repairer to charge them less.”