The service manager at Al Otaiba Group believes that repairing your car at the roadside garages is more expensive in the long run.

"The repair itself is cheaper as these garages use cheap labour, but it comes at a cost," said Samir Barsoum the service manager.

"When an engine misfires, the customer who goes to private garages will only pay between Dh300 to Dh400 for a tune-up."

He said since most of the mechanics are inexperienced, they might damage something else such as the computer chips, in the process.

"The customers will end up paying more than Dh4, 000 to repair it," he said.

Barsoum said motorists need to keep their cars regularly maintained. He recommends a regular service at the dealer's workshop as instructed in the car manual.

Charbel Naoum who drives a European car, had been getting his car regularly serviced at the dealership but is now considering going to a private garage instead because it is cheaper.

"The dealer charged me Dh480 for servicing. Then I had to pay Dh820 to change the disc brake."

Upset with the high price, Naoum said the next time he will definitely be going to a private garage, which has been recommended by his friend.

Nineteen-year-old Yousuf Mohammad drives a German car, and said he always takes his car to a private garage in Al Awir.

He said he bought some parts from the dealer and gave them to the local mechanic to fix. "It's much cheaper. I never had any problems with my car," he said.

Imma Cerdan who also owns a German car said finds her dealer's service centre prices are high. She was recently involved in an accident and she had get some bodywork done.

"The service centre at the dealership said the charges would be Dh30,000, but I got it done for Dh10, 000 at a private garage. It was the first time I've ever been to a roadside garage and I am satisfied with the job done."

But she said she it is unlikely that she will go back to the private garage for mechanical work, scared that they will use fake parts.

Mohammad Sajed owns four cars and takes all of them to the main dealership. He feels that he is not being overcharged.

He was in an accident with his four-wheel drive and had to change the battery.

"I feel safer that I got it done with the main dealer. It cost me Dh600 more than what I would have paid in a private garage," he said.