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Car Repair Dealership or Independent Mechanic?

Car Repair Dealership or Independent Mechanic?

Choosing between a car repair dealership or independent mechanics differs on a case-by-case basis. For example, if your car is under warranty, going to a dealership would be the best option for you. However, if your car is not under warranty and you would like to save on costs, independant mechanics might be a better option. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Vehicles are not designed to last forever, and there will be a point of time where you deal with some minor or major repairs. When anything goes wrong with the car, many of us wonder whether to go to a car repair dealership or an independent mechanic.

Deciding between the two depends heavily on your circumstances and a lot of factors. Each option has its pros and cons that you must be aware of before making a final decision.

This article highlights the main pros and cons of both car repair dealerships and independent mechanics. It also highlights the main factors you need to keep in mind when selecting between the two. 

Car repair dealerships or independent mechanics? 

To choose between a car repair dealership and an independent mechanic, you need to evaluate your situation and see what is most important for you. Here are some of the factors that you must consider before getting your car repairs time at any of the two

  • Level of experience 

One of the first benefits that you will get when selecting a dealership versus an independent shop is the level of experience. Most dealerships continue training their staff with the most advanced technology to stay up to date with any problems facing a certain model or year.

Dealerships pay for these training continuously, focus on junior training staff, and have experienced advisors who are on top of everything to ensure that the services are delivered the way they should.

This does not necessarily mean that independent shops did not have the best level of experience because most independent shops start with people who used to work at a dealership and decided to start their own business.

You can easily find an independent shop focused on a certain model or make where mechanics are ASE certified, which means that you can also trust them on your vehicle.

Keep in mind that the level of training provides at a dealership is much more advanced than any small repair shop so before deciding on choosing between a car repair dealership or an independent mechanic, consider the type of work you're looking for and whether it's an advanced repair or a simple issue that you can rely on an independent shop for it. 

  • Relationship and communication

Choosing an independent mechanic might be a great option for one who's looking for a one-to-one relationship with the mechanic. For example, if you decided to get your car repaired at a small independent shop, you will get the chance to talk to the mechanic face to face and choose a mechanic by name.

On the other hand, dealerships and the very large ones do not allow you to talk to the mechanic directly. Instead, you will be simply a number printed out on paper among a list of hundreds of other people who are looking to fix their cars.

Although the dealerships might have the best level of experience in car repairs, your vehicle's problems might be lost while transferring information from 1 mechanic to another.

The big advantage of dealing with your mechanic and a one-to-one basis is that the mechanic will expect what type of problems you'll deal with because he knows your vehicle in detail and knows exactly what he's done before. Thus, independent shops provide you with the best personal experience, especially when building personal relationships. 

  • Convenience

One of the biggest limitations about dealerships is that you are limited to the facilities' locations. On the other hand, choosing an independent shop allow you to find many small garages around the corner of your neighborhood. Thus, if your repair problem is not very major, it might make sense for you to go to the independent shop versus driving miles to the dealership.

Keep in mind that this might not be the best option if you're getting your car repaired under a certain warranty that forces you to get their car fixed at the automaker's dealership. 

  • Warranties

Of course, if your car is under manufacturer warranty or an extended warranty, your best option would be to go to the dealership versus an independent mechanic.

Dealerships will cover all repairs under warranty, so you don't have to worry about paying anything. However, dealerships might require an additional inspection to confirm that the problem exists in the 1st place. By confirming the problem, you ensure that dealerships or mechanics don't do unnecessary jobs just for the money. 

Some independent shops might convince you to replace a certain component just for the money, even if this component is not in bad condition. 

  • Satisfactions

Customer satisfaction plays a different role between repair dealerships and independent mechanics. For a dealership, they represent the manufacturer, and they need to make the manufacturer happy all the time. Therefore, as part of the deal, dealerships must measure customer satisfaction by performing certain surveys after repairs.

Therefore, dealerships want to make sure that customers are happy all the time, so they don't lose their cooperation with certain automakers.

On the other hand, small repair shops do not report till automakers, and you're there only one direct report. However, it does not mean that they don't care about customer satisfaction because their business is limited to you and a couple of other people around you. Thus, small independent shops also care about making sure that you're happy with their job because when you're happy with the job, there's a high chance that you will bring one of your friends. 

  • Service bulletins and recalls

Dealerships are more up-to-date with any released recalls or certain service bulletins. So when you're connected with a certain dealership, they will most likely let you know whether there is any recall targeting your vehicle.

On the other hand, independent shops might also have updated information if they are enrolled in a paid membership. However, this does not guarantee that every single garage has information about certain releases or specific service bulletins sent by the manufacturer. Thus, if you have a relatively newer car, you might need to keep your connection with the dealership to maintain adventures of these service bulletins and any released recalls. 

  • Price and quality

Parts quality and prices are another major components of deciding between an independent mechanic versus a repair dealership. Dealerships are only allowed to offer the old E parts, which means the original equipment parts. These parts usually have a certain warranty, and even the automaker provides another warranty to make sure that these parts are installed properly.

On the other hand, if you decided to go with an independent shop, you'll get the advantage of selecting between aftermarket parts or original equipment parts. However, keep in mind that independent shops cannot install an aftermarket part if you asked to install an original one. It is enforced by law, and they can't do that. 

  • Modifications

If you were into vehicle customization and certain modifications for performance upgrades, you'd better go with an independent mechanic. Unfortunately, most dealerships and automakers do not offer this type of customization, although some dealerships might soon.

Many customers request some upgrade kits to enhance the performance of their vehicles, and it is something they can find in independent shops, not in dealerships. So, if you're not dealing with a mechanical problem and all you need is a certain upgrade, you might need to stay with the independent mechanic and not the dealership. 

  • Dealership facilities

Dealerships are known for their amazing facilities that sometimes turn into a quicker turnaround time. By choosing the dealership, you can enjoy a larger facility that has more organized equipment and cleaner bathrooms in addition to some places to purchase accessories.

Most dealerships are supported by larger automakers for startup funds and preparing the necessary equipment along with the other toolsets to take care of any major repairs.

On the other hand, independent shops are usually smaller and are not as organized as dealerships. When visiting the small independent shop, don't be surprised not to find the perfect waiting area and clean our bathrooms., smaller independent shops cannot stay up to date with the dealership facilities.

Sometimes you'll see a slight difference between the amount of money you have to pay and an independent shop versus a dealership simply because they don't provide high standards in their facilities. 

  • Prices 

Although price is one of the most important factors when selecting a repair dealership versus an independent mechanic, we decided to leave it to the end. 

 

Since labor cost is a big component in any dealership, it is not surprising to hear that you don't have to worry about high repair costs when choosing an independent mechanic versus a dealership.

Dealerships have many expenses starting with the facilities services, be high hourly rates for experienced mechanics, and others. Therefore, the overall cost for dealership repairs is significantly higher than any independent shop mechanic. 

Therefore, if your car is not under warranty and you're looking for a better affordable deal, you are recommended to go to in small independent shop and not the dealership. 

Who should work on your car? 

Although under ideal situations, you can rely on the mentioned factors to choose between an independent mechanic versus a repair dealership, there are certain specific situations where you might need to go with one choice over the other just because of your circumstances:

  • Tight schedule

When you are on a tight schedule, you'd better not lean towards a dealership because you can get the problem resolved within a couple of days, if not the same day. Thus, for faster service, dealerships might be the best option. This, however, does not necessarily mean that you don't want to cold leadership and confirm that they have availability that fits your tight schedule. 

  • Electronic problems in a late model car 

If you own a late model vehicle and have some electronic problems requiring software updates, choosing between a repair dealership or an independent mechanic should not be a problem because nothing is better than the other. So, whatever works best for you, go for it.

Conclusion

Whether your car is brand new or used, you'll have to deal with repair costs, and you will get to a situation wondering should I choose a car repair dealership or an independent mechanic?

Deciding between the two depends heavily on your circumstances. For example, if your car is still under warranty, you'd better go with the dealership because, in most scenarios, all repairs are covered under warranty. However, if your car does not have a warranty, you might need to go to an independent shop to save on costs. 

This article highlighted more details about the main pros and cons of both repair dealerships and independent mechanics to help you make an informed decision.

If you realize that your car spends more time at the dealership or the independent shop more than your garage, it might be the right time now to sell this car to the Cash Cars Buyer instead and use the money towards a better vehicle that doesn't need a lot of frequent repairs. 

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