/ Money

The small charges that get on your nerves

Tyre pressure

The old saying goes that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, I don’t know about free lunches but it seems free air is rapidly becoming a thing of the past…

I refer, of course, not to the air we breathe but the air machines at petrol stations that check the air pressure on your car tyres.

It seems increasingly common for garages to charge 20p, 50p or even £1 to operate the air machine. Irritating as that may be, it’s even more irritating when they run out of air before you’ve checked all four wheels on your car and have to pay another fee to finish the job.

Even worse is to find, despite the fee being justified by the garage to pay for the machine to be there, the machine is out of order. This is surprisingly common in my experience, whether it’s a free one or not.

Air today, gone tomorrow

Do you think that charging for air is part of the trend to charge for extras, like low-cost airlines do? Or do you think the price is reasonable and justified? Perhaps it won’t be long before garages start to charge you to fill up your windscreen washer bottle with water… or to use their loos?

Charging for air is only a tiny example and it’s obviously a very small charge in the grand scheme of things, but surely there’s a benefit to providing services like these for free? That’s what good customer service should be about.

I’ll go out of my way for good customer service and, if I know a local petrol station provides free air, I would use it over one that does not. It’s why you’ll often find me in a supermarket petrol station – they generally do have free air and I think they know a thing or two about good customer service.

Are there any niggling charges like this that get on your wick?

Funkymonkey says:
17 January 2014

Charging for air is disgusting. I have mobility problems and find it really hard to use a foot pump so I have to use an air machine. Its difficult enough getting around for me but my local garage charges 50p for 4minutes air time and I can never get more than 3 tyre pressures checked before the time runs out. Its damned annoying as I then have to pay another 50p just to check the fourth tyre.
Are these garages and petrol suppliers really that hard up that they can’t offer free air as part of the ‘service’?. Isn’t it better to encourage/enable people to have the correct tyre pressures which can only contribute to road safety??

These ‘extra’ charges need to be stopped as they penalise people such as me.


The air machines do cost the forecourts a lot to install and maintenance and calibration must be accounted for so the charge really is quite reasonable. For the record there is very little profit in petrol for the forecourts, most of the cost is made up of fuel duty, VAT and the actual cost of the petrol. There is only a few pence a litre in it for the forecourt.

g hare says:
3 February 2014

BT Telephone bill payment

What rip off pay by cash or cheques and e charge ever increasing amounts for the priviledge of paying a bill IN FLL and on time.

How ? by BT opening another company t collect their bill payments and cynically saying its not us it is anothe rcompy that collect on our behalf
Well san fair reian im off to the post office atleast i will save £24 per year