Last post on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:09 PM
You are in the Maintenance & Repair
#1 of 294 Dealer vs. independent shop?
Nov 10, 2003 (12:48 pm)
I've always heard that taking your car back to the dealer to do routine maintenance and repairs is a rip-off---that you're better off going to an independent service shop. Now that I finally have a car that's under 10 years old and that I'm willing to baby, I wanted to see what all you experts thought? Do you always take your cars back to the dealership or would you rather trust your local guy?
Nov 10, 2003 (2:32 pm)
That is a loaded question.
It all depends on the dealer and independant shop.
The independant shops tend to spend more time on diagnosis than the dealer shops and therefore you may find the problem taken care of without having to go back time and time again.
But then again, dealer shops usually have access to the newest information and can often deal with updates on the information.
That being said, if the vehicle isn't under warranty, I prefer the independant shops.
#3 of 294 it really depends on the individual shops
Nov 10, 2003 (9:05 pm)
a good mechanic is a find, no matter where you find them. I have been having good luck with my ford dealer the past two cars. before that, on one new and a half-dozen or so old cars, dealers were iffy and I did much better with specialist mechanics on things like brakes and suspension, and one or two independents on the rest. found one or two stinkers both at dealerships and independently, and never went back.
I've done a little of my own light wrenching outside the two major sealed assemblies with mixed results there, as well.
ask around locally, and if you find a good one, stay with 'em.
#4 of 294 Agree with # 3 post
Nov 11, 2003 (6:41 am)
I go to dealer only on issues that I feel need specific manufacturer expertise, if you can find a independent that you can trust then all routine maintenance, oil changes, coolant, belts, brakes etc are better via them then a dealer however, I like OEM parts and my independent will put them on for me if I purchase them locally or on line he doesn't care, especially brakes on foreign makes.
Dealers are an assembly line when it comes to repairs, in and out ASAP and sell as much additional service as you can whether it needs it or not.
Nov 11, 2003 (7:37 am)
Around Atlanta decent quality independents are only $10-$15 per billable [shop.book] hour less than dealers.
The good ones specialize in 1 or 2 makes only as the REQUIRED expertise level gets higher each year.
The problem is oem parts as the discount [from dealers] is a function of volume. We get 20-25-30% off list and resell at list [so parts costs to customer are equal].
Low volume independents must use aftermarket copies/knockoffs to compete [generate enough profit to stay in business].
#6 of 294 Results can vary...
Nov 11, 2003 (8:00 am)
Anymore it is real hard for even the best independant to keep up with the changing technology.
As a result, they may spend a lot of time guessing when a dealer is more familiar with specific problems.
It's not easy being an independant today.
#7 of 294 good question
Nov 11, 2003 (12:09 pm)
I use a good local indy shop. They always break down my repair using either cheap aftermarket, or going with oem / more & most expensive part.
that gives me choice, although I usually always pick the most expensive part. learned the hardway about el cheapo parts.
#8 of 294 I vote independent
Nov 12, 2003 (3:22 pm)
My experiences with our cars over the last 10 years have involved both dealers and independents in San Diego servicing Mercedes and Lexus/Toyota. Hands down, the cost of routine service and unscheduled repairs on our cars, when I have had the work quoted at both dealer and independent has been a savings of 40-50% at the independent. This includes routine interval service, brakes, shocks/struts, radiator, electrical gremlins, etc. The only reason I'll go to the dealer is warrantee work. Of course, at the independent I don't get a luxury loaner car or a car wash, or fresh baked cookies in the wait room, or snobby service reps. I can talk to the actual mechanic that worked on my car, go for test drives with him, meet and chat with the owner of the shop, etc.
I have been using the same independents for quite a few years. Ones who specialize in the specific manufacturer of cars we own. And on a couple very rare occations they have sent me to the dealer for some specific work they did not feel they were qualified to do.
#9 of 294 Thanks everyone
Nov 12, 2003 (5:28 pm)
We've had an independent place we've been going to for years, but I wanted to see if we should go to a dealer now that we have a newish car. Nice to hear that we can stick with our old guys!
#10 of 294 the best way to tell you're at the right indie
Nov 12, 2003 (5:45 pm)
is that he'll tell you up front how much of some job he can do on a car where the manufacturer won't release the service data to outside mechanics... and how much the dealer will have to do, and estimate both pieces of a deep-delving job.