Pros and Cons of Taking Your Car to a Dealership vs a Local Repair Shop
Where you should take your car for maintenance work and repairs has been a question that drivers have always asked, and it’s difficult to find a clear answer to this question.Stated by 12 Volt Solutions, there is a great debate among drivers whether a local repair shop or a dealership offers the better quality of service or the lowest costs. What kind of repair shop is best for your wallet and your car? It’s up to you to decide. Here are the pros and cons of taking your car to a dealership versus a local repair shop.
Dealerships are the big giant of the automotive repair world. When you buy a new car, they’ll tell you to always bring your vehicle to the dealership for repairs and service maintenance work. At the dealership, the parking lot is lined with cars and large crews of mechanic are on hand to tend to your car. But is it all worth your money?
- Dealerships typically have longer nationwide vehicle warranties that require work to be done by shops with certified technicians, as well as original equipment.
- Dealerships also give you access to proprietary vehicle information on new cars that is needed for diagnosis and repair. This information usually isn’t available to smaller, independent repair shop until one year after the release of the model of the car.
- Payment for repairs and car maintenance are often charged at a “flat rate,” meaning the rate of labor is pre-assigned for the type of job. This works in your favor if the technician tending to your car goes over the allotted time for the work.
- If you have a problem with the repair or service at a dealership, you can always take it up with the car company itself.
- Flat rates, however, can be a con if the technician is done with the work earlier. You will pay the same amount for the work regardless of how long it takes the technician to finish servicing your vehicle.
- Flat rate may also cause some technicians at dealerships to shy away from some more difficult repair jobs or encourage them cut corners since they aren’t getting paid for spending more time working on your car.
- Dealerships also tend to charge higher hourly rates for servicing costs due to having more required equipment and trainings for their technicians.
- Dealerships are often missing a more personal touch. You generally hand your keys to the service manager, not a mechanic or technician. Usually you never see the technician who is tending to your vehicle. It’s likely that even if you ask to talk to the tech who will be working on your car, it will be a different person each time.
- Basic maintenance work, such as oil changes and tire rotations, as well as repairs, tend to cost more than they would at a local repair shop.
- Once your car’s warranty is up, there’s really not much tying you down to a dealership.
Local Repair Shops
As the home of the local, independent mechanic, local repair shops hold a special space in the minds of Americans. Taking your car to a local shop allows drivers to take pride in supporting local businesses, although there are now nationwide chains of repair shops available. Many people feel like they get a better deal by taking their car to a local repair shop over a dealership, whether its a local small business shop or a chain. But is the quality of work you get one of these shops as good as they work done by a dealership’s certified technicians?
- While local repair shops and dealerships often cost the same amount for a the repair or maintenance job itself, technicians at local repair shops are paid a salary or hourly rate. This means that there is no incentive for them to rush the work, and repair jobs often get more attention than they would at a dealership.
- Local repair shops are often owned by seasoned technicians who possess extensive repair experience on a wide variety of makes and models. These technicians are generally capable of handling particularly difficult vehicle repair jobs.
- There’s also the benefit of supporting a local business, which is always good to do. By taking your car to a local repair shop, you’re keeping your money within your local community, rather than giving it to some large corporation.
- Local repair shops are also smaller, and tend to be the less expensive option for repairs as compared to dealerships. Due to the lower costs of services, local repair shops can be a better option for basic maintenance work and repair jobs that aren’t covered by your car’s warranty. Everything from basic oil changes and up will certainly cost more at the service department of a dealership.
- Local shops also generally have better customer service. Independent repair shops often rely on customer referrals and word-of-mouth to bring them customers. This causes local repair shops to place a lot of value on customer satisfaction and service.
- Since local shops are smaller, you might even be able to get to know the owner of the shop and other technicians who work there, offering a more personable experience, as well as a chance to ask the people actually working on your car any questions you may have.
- Thanks to new software, local repair shops often have the same repair and technical information as dealerships. A good local shop today may know just as much as a dealership.
- Depending on the local repair shop, they may not have the necessary diagnostic tools or equipment to repair some newer vehicles.
- Local repair shops may also not always use certified parts for repair jobs, which could void some vehicle warranties if your car is still within its warranty period.
- Some repairs that may need to be done to your vehicle could be covered by your car’s warranty, if it’s still under one. If a repair is covered by the warranty, it could be done for free at a dealership.