It’s a question nearly everyone will ask when their car needs a repair: Should I take my vehicle to the dealership or go to an independent mechanic? The answer to this question will vary based on your situation. If your car is still under warranty, the dealership is typically the right answer. But after your warranty expires, things get a bit murkier.
What’s the difference between taking your car to a dealer or an independent mechanic? Here’s how they stack up:
Auto dealerships have a lot of overhead to deal with. They typically have more extensive facilities, highly trained personnel, and plenty of warranty repairs they have to do for free. Their high operating costs are spread over a relatively small number of paying customers.
Independent mechanics rarely perform a warranty repair and don’t have any other operations to support. Independent mechanics usually win on cost.
Auto dealerships usually use original parts for every repair. These parts typically cost more than their aftermarket equivalents. When you go to an independent mechanic, you could ask them to use OEM parts, but you can also choose less expensive aftermarket parts.
If you want to speak directly to your mechanic, you will want to go to an independent mechanic. When you talk to a dealership service department, you’ll usually speak to a receptionist or a service advisor.
At an independent auto shop, you can typically speak directly to the mechanic who works on your car. Over time, you may develop a relationship with your mechanic.
Auto dealerships have one make of cars to deal with. They are the first ones to receive technical service bulletins and recalls. If you have a particular make of car made within the last 10 years or so, the odds are high that your auto dealership has seen your problem and fixed it many times.
An independent mechanic must be knowledgeable about many makes and models of cars. While they may not have the same level of expertise about a particular vehicle, their general skill is much higher.
Your local dealership keeps a file on every customer. Even years later, they can get copies of maintenance records and recalls. This information helps them make an informed decision if you bring your car as a trade-in.
When you work with an independent mechanic, it’s usually up to you to keep track of your own records.
If you want to eat a fancy pastry, have some gourmet coffee, and watch TV while you wait for your auto repair, you want to have for the dealership. Just remember, the extra amenities come at a cost.
Choosing where to take your car for repair is a personal decision. Whether you take your vehicle to the dealership or to an independent mechanic, it’s up to you to find a mechanic you trust. When it comes to transmission repair, we think that Transworks Transmissions has the edge.