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What is Red Work? Why do I need to get Red Work done ASAP?

What is Red Work? Why do I need to get Red Work done ASAP?

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If your car or van goes in for a service and you receive a call from the garage telling you there are 'red work' issues, don't ignore them; doing so could cost you much more than just money.

SOME of us may not look forward to taking our car in for a service, getting a bill for something we can’t physically touch isn’t much fun and so we’re likely to be wary of extra costs for safety related problems identified in the workshop, often referred to as ‘red work’.

Brake disc uncovered


Faults including tyres and many more involving brakes, steering and safety critical components are called ‘red work’ for a reason, because, as we all know, red signifies danger.

But, a new report suggests that many tens of thousands of us are either (a) choosing to ignore the warning altogether when it’s flagged up by the Service team or (b) opting to drive off in search of getting it fixed somewhere else, cheaper.

Option A is potentially very dangerous and could leave you open to prosecution in the event of an accident and having a rather difficult conversation with your insurer, who may well be within their rights not to pay out. Option B is more understandable, but maybe not the most sensible.

The truth is that both boil down to one fundamental factor - trust.

Stoke AUdi workshop seen through the viewing window


How do you know you’re being told the truth? After all, few of us would be able to spot if the anti-lock brake control unit is faulty or if there’s a problem with the front nearside lower wishbone; so, how do you know if you are spending more than you need and just how do you trust a garage?

Most franchised dealers now video their work and will send you a link showing you the fault that’s been identified. If you don’t know your way round a car or van it may not mean too much to you, but these videos are typically explained clearly and concisely with no unnecessary jargon. The sharing of these videos demonstrates openness and transparency on the part of the garage and gives you the opportunity to show the footage to someone who knows more about cars or vans than you do.


If you give agreement to go ahead and work is carried out to replace a faulty component, the garage should be ready to show you the damaged one and point out the fault if it’s an easily identifiable mechanical one. If it’s say, a worn or damaged tyre or scored brake discs this shouldn’t be a problem.

This is a big issue, with drivers suddenly faced with an unexpected repair bill of, possibly, several hundred pounds they can’t afford; it’s a difficult one too.

The advice though is pretty clear, logical and in your best interests.

Red metallic Audi on ramp being worked on by Technician


If it’s safety-critical then you really need to get it fixed there and then or as soon as the car can be booked in; your safety and that of your passengers must come first.

To put this problem into perspective, a new report by Cheshire-based autoVHC, (a company which analyses dealers’ Service Departments), using data from 400 franchised dealerships, showed that in just one month, more than 28,000 tyres were found to have tread depth below the legal limit or to be damaged beyond repair. These were all found on vehicles which had just come in for a routine service.

Of those 28,000, just 9,000 were replaced before the vehicle was collected, meaning some 19,000 tyres were driven on illegally on the way home. If you were driving one of those vehicles and in an accident the law would take a very dim view, which is the least of your concerns when you consider how dangerous this could be.

Tyre tread read depth effect on braking


Yes, maybe you can find a cheaper tyre elsewhere or go to an independent garage which will do the remedial work for a little less; however, most franchised dealers will price match like-for-like tyres and parts; if you’re driving around, getting quotes on a car which has been inspected and found to be unsafe or possibly illegal, you have to ask yourself ‘is it worth it’?

Especially given that your franchise dealer may offer 0% finance on a number of service and repair jobs allowing you to spread the work over three monthly payments, breaking the bill up into more manageable payments.

Something to think about if the garage calls you and says they’ve identified some ‘red’ work; anything in this category and you really should be authorising a repair.

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