If you have a car, you've likely heard the advice: Go to an independent mechanic to save money on repairs or to avoid being sold extra repairs. But this advice is not always the best, nor is it always accurate. Many times, the service center at a dealership is going to be a better choice when you need work done on your car, whether your car is new or used. Here are three reasons to head back to the dealership rather than the corner garage.
Same Brand, Expert (and Up-to-Date) Knowledge
Taking your car to a dealership that focuses on your make of car (for example, if you have a Ford, taking it to Ford dealers in your area) means the technicians in the service center will know how to work on cars from that manufacturer inside and out. In a 2011 interview with Popular Mechanics, an anonymous service manager noted that the techs at a dealership will have training from the manufacturer, equipment from the manufacturer, parts from the manufacturer, and so on. The majority of those techs' knowledge will be geared toward cars from that manufacturer. Autoblog notes that the techs will also have access to the latest specs and other information that is considered proprietary. An independent mechanic is not going to be able to find that information for at least a year, says Autoblog.
Potentially Lower Bills
As cars become more complicated, repair shops need more and more equipment. Independent shops may have to pass the cost of the equipment on to customers, but dealerships often have steady financial backing from the car manufacturer, meaning the equipment purchase costs don't have to be so painful to the service center. That can translate into lower bills for you.
If your car is under warranty and needs warranty work, the dealership will do it for free. Independent shops should do it for free, too, but you run into two issues here. One is that the shop, if it's not a good shop, could miss the fact that it's warranty work, and they could charge you. The other is that if the shop is not authorized to do warranty work on your car, you could void your warranty. Going to a dealership service center is a much better choice here.
If you still want to compare dealer service centers and independent shops, start calling around with a list of potential repairs to find out prices and repair times. You may be surprised at how the dealership compares.