Motorists should use the month of November to ensure that their vehicle is ‘fit for purpose’ before the December holiday season starts.

That’s the recommendation from Steve Fischer of SAC Holdings, the company behind Steves Auto Clinic, the leading non-franchised repair and maintenance chain.

“Late November and early December is when people invariably realise that it is time to get their car checked over for a holiday journey,” says Fischer. “Our nationwide chain of stores is well-placed geographically and in terms of skills to cater for motorists who are looking for a high-quality experience, but without the costs associated with going to the vehicle’s branded workshops.”

“We are one of very few networks that can supply a one-stop repair, maintenance or even conversion service, at a price point which is far more affordable than what franchised dealers charge. At the same time, we are far more realistic price-wise than what some other aftermarket service providers are advertising they can service cars for: many of the claims being made are totally unrealistic and unfortunately it is only once the motorist reads the small print on the account that it becomes apparent that the price is for one specific model and invariably excludes certain items.”

SAC is also an Automobile Association Quality Assured company, and this is the consumer’s guarantee of peace of mind: SAC has to maintain a consistently high standard to retain this accreditation and it also means the motorist has recourse if there is any dispute regarding quality of work that can’t be resolved at the point of sale.

“There are a number of issues that motorists need to consider when going on holiday, and this makes that year-end service or check-up even more important,” explains Fischer. “The vehicle may be heavily laden, and in addition it may be towing a trailer, boat or caravan. These possibilities make it extra important to pay attention to issues like the cooling and lubrication systems, as well as the brakes and suspension.”

“You may be travelling at night, so it is important to have the lights checked out, and set up accordingly. This is one of the areas which tends to be overlooked in the normal course of events.”

Over the last two-and-a-half decades SAC has also built up an enviable reputation for aftermarket tuning and conversions, and even a small degree of optimisation can make the business of towing a more efficient and safer one. A wide range of upgrades – from enlarged intercoolers, to replacement turbochargers, to ‘plug and play’ engine management enhancements to modified cylinder heads – is offered. Consumers can also have accessories and add-ons supplied and fitted at an SAC workshop, whether it be a roof rack for a 4×4 or an aftermarket exhaust for a ‘hot hatch’.

“SAC has grown into a unique player in the marketplace,” says Fischer. “We offer all the perks and benefits of a franchised dealer – including courtesy cars, collection and delivery service, comprehensive insurance of a client’s car while it is in our possession, and a host of other value-added services not normally associated with the aftermarket – coupled to well-trained and highly-skilled staff in all strata of our business. It really is a win-win situation for consumers who are no longer obliged in terms of their warranty to have their car serviced at a franchised dealer.”