Ensuring that your car does not miss its scheduled service is key to your car’s health.
The question, though, is who is best suited to handle the servicing of your car: a nearby repair garage or factory-trained technicians from a local car dealership? Looking at the services each offers should give a clear picture and help you make an informed choice.
Guarantees on Labor & Vehicle Parts
When your vehicle has a valid warranty, it goes without saying that dealerships are your best bet. Warranties give a customer a discounted or no-cost service.
In the event the vehicle is not covered under a warranty, the dealership may negotiate for a separate warranty that covers the vehicle parts and services offered.
When it comes to the know-how, dealerships may have an upper-hand. Their position gives them easy contact with the manufacturer. Such relationships lead to mechanic training programs by the manufacturers aimed at developing a better understanding of their vehicle’s mechanical structure.
However, not all dealerships have such engagements with vehicle makers.
Local mechanics receive government-initiated training courtesy of the National Institute charged with the task of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Whether you go to a dealership or hole-in-the-wall repair shop, ensure that your local mechanic is ASE-certified before work on your vehicle starts.
Manufacturers only associate with dealers who have good customer reviews. The customer evaluation is mostly centered on fair pricing, quality parts and overall satisfaction with mechanic work.
Local mechanics may also try to prove their high quality of customer service; however, the degree of accountability often cannot be compared with that of the dealerships. What mechanics lack in accountability though, they make up for with a more personal relationship with their clientele.
Tools of Trade
Dealerships are required to use factory-made equipment in servicing vehicles. They are also required to stock authentic manufacturer vehicle parts only. This is a plus to customers as they are guaranteed quality products and services on their vehicles.
Independent mechanics offer both manufacturer parts as well as generic alternatives that are often less costly. A client, therefore, gets a range of choices when deciding on vehicle parts.
Dealerships are known to create a comprehensive environment for any car-related inquiries, repairs or services. Customers are commonly treated to comfortable seats and free refreshments, among other services, while they wait for their vehicle to be serviced. Some dealers even go the extra mile to offer free loaner cars or shuttles to get you to your destination as your vehicle gets serviced.
This full-service capability is often in great contrast to most local mechanic shops, which may not offer exclusive services to their clients. However, this has a positive impact on their prices—the cost is sometimes lower.
The Brand Factor
Most dealers are brand-specific. Vehicles of different brands can get turned down for service. In most cases, this encourages personalized and customized attention to one’s vehicle.
Independent mechanics work with several car brands. This means that their client list is larger. However, local mechanics also sometimes turn down specific brands that they do not have the technical know-how to handle.
Non-Regular Service Needs
Some independent mechanics would agree that for some car issues, they are not qualified – and may even suggest going to the dealership. Some of these services include damaged covers for convertible vehicles and traction control systems for SUVs.
When it comes to convenience and value for the customer, dealerships thrive. Consider a situation in which you have a breakdown far from any local merchants. A simple call to the dealers will send someone to get you sorted out.
The debate between dealerships and local mechanics may never come to a conclusive end. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which suits your needs best. In general, though, dealerships tend to provide more reliable and comprehensive services, whereas some local mechanics are more affordable.