• Surrey has most expensive independent garages
• Powys has the lowest hourly charges
• Independent garages 48.6 per cent cheaper than franchise on average

The cost of having your car repaired has gone up due to rising labour rates, according to a Warranty Direct report out today.

Labour rates were found to have risen most sharply at small, independent workshops, from an average of £60.68 in 2011 to £64.58 in 2012, an increase of 6.4 per cent.

At main dealers labour rates rose only fractionally, and are now 48.6 per cent more expensive on average than independent garages

National differences for independent garages are pronounced, so it could be worth travelling for routine maintenance. Surrey is the most expensive region, with an hour of work costing £98.27 on average, while owners in Powys, Wales should expect to pay £58.46.

The biggest increases were seen in Cornwall and County Durham, where rates shot up by 12.9 and 11.9 per cent respectively.

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct said: “Price hikes continue apace in 2012 and we are now at the point that a simple breakdown could cost an eye watering sum to put right. Some older cars could even be written off by a relatively straightforward mechanical hiccup.”

By Andy Goodwin, senior road tester