Have you been taking your car or truck to a dealership but are wondering what to do now that the new-car or dealership-extended warranty has expired? There are plenty of differing opinions in the ongoing independent repair shops vs. dealership debate. Your friend may have had such a great experience with dealership mechanics that he'll never switch, but another swears by independent repair shops.
Pros and Cons
Many car owners assume that a dealership must be the final word in vehicle expertise. This is only partially true. Dealerships specialize in one or two brands and don't tend to work on anything else, which means they know what they're doing, but may only offer a limited array of services. Their brand name also means they generally charge more for the same amount of work.
Pros: Specialize in specific brands, typically easy to get in quickly, solid record of service to show when you sell your car
Cons: More expensive, less personalized service, limitations in what they will work on (ex. older cars, aftermarket parts)
Independent repair shops
Independent mechanics can do everything a big brand-name dealership can do, and they often offer those services at a much better price. Of course, it's always important to make sure a repair shop is certified before leaving your car in their hands--but for the most part, independent mechanics offer unrivaled customer service, reliable repairs, and high-quality work. Independent shops have much more motivation to keep their customers happy, and there are far fewer employees, meaning you have a chance to establish a long-term relationship with your mechanic and the folks working in the shop.
Pros: Better customer service, better prices, more flexibility
Cons: Don't always have the latest in diagnostic tools, may have fewer trainings and certifications, probably don't have the same fancy waiting area a dealership may offer
Why People Prefer Independent Shops Over Dealerships
Where you take your car or truck has a lot to do with experience and the choices available in your local area. If you're undecided, here are four reasons why so many people are loyal to independent repair shops.
- You'll get to know your mechanic. There's something to be said for a mechanic who not only gets to know you but gets to know your vehicle as well. You can take your car to a dealership for years without ever speaking directly to a mechanic.
- Their technicians are trained and experienced. Many small shop mechanics were formerly dealership employees, bringing their industry-experience to local repair shops. Independent repair shops make sure their employees receive ongoing training, including for newly-released models and specialized vehicles like hybrid cars.
- Access to a wide variety of services. Independent repair shops are free to work on any vehicle they choose. They can provide a wide range of services, parts and labor warranties and OEM parts, but they can also offer less expensive or even rebuilt parts to save their customers money.
- Their local reputation is important to them. Independent repair shops are on their own and are dependent upon local goodwill to keep their business open. They'll often go the extra mile to provide superior customer service including fair prices, quality service, on-time repairs, and professional courtesy.
Where do you stand in independent repair shops vs. dealership debate? Call or stop by Naylor's Auto Repair to discover the difference a full-service, independent repair shop can offer!