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Independent Repair Shops vs. Car Dealerships

Automobile mechanic repairman hands repairing a car engine automotive workshop with a wrench, car service and maintenance

When your car needs a little TLC, you have two basic options for help: a brand-name dealership, or an independent repair shop. Many car owners aren't quite sure which to trust or where they'll get the best service. That's why we're breaking down the difference and helping you make the best decision for you, your wallet, and of course, your car!

Making The Right Choice

Vehicle repair and maintenance is no joke. It's not just about saving money; it's also about keeping your car safe and reliable under any conditions--especially when it comes to driving in tricky weather. That's why you want to take your time and do plenty of research on any mechanic, dealership, or repair shop before making a final decision.

First, though, here are the basics of car dealerships versus independent repair shops!


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

Which is Better?

Deciding where to have your car repaired or serviced is ultimately up to you. Neither option is bad, and both will get you to your end goal: getting your car fixed or serviced. However, though dealerships might sometimes seem like the safe choice, there are actually lots of appealing perks of working with an independent mechanic. Plus, many indie shops have technicians that started in dealerships, so they have the kind of initial training and expertise -- plus more years of experience going above and beyond what a dealership offers -- so there is a good chance you're working with one of the best. 

At Naylor's, we have the experience, training, and knowledge you can trust, plus prices you can afford. Let us tell you more: get in touch with us today!