Getting your car serviced can be a pain in the neck. For such a necessary and regular job, why is it that we dread bringing our cars in for a service?
Apart from not having access to your vehicle for a few days (or even a week), how can you be sure you’re not getting ripped off by the mechanic, or losing your warranty with fake or non-legitimate parts?
Here we discuss the tricky question of where to serve your car.
What have I got to lose with a regular repair shop?
Consider this: you’ve owned your Subaru Impreza for a couple of years now, and had no problems whatsoever. Your manufacturer warranty expired last month so there’s no real pressure to keep bringing it back to your dealer every so often for that ‘premium’ service.
Or is there?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of sending your car off to some cheap repair shop down the road in search of a cheaper quote. But is it really that much better? And what might you be forgoing by choosing to go with an independent garage?
Let’s take a closer look.
You could compromise your car’s integrity
It’s true. Not all repair garages are made equal and chances are they’re not stocking the exact parts you need to keep your car’s integrity intact. While that’s not the worst thing in the world, it can impact how much you’ll get if you wanted to re-sell your car on the second-hand market.
For example, if you took your car to a dealership and wanted to trade it in for the latest model, the mechanic would look over the car (and indeed the service records) to check which parts have been used (if any) to replace existing originals. You might find that you’re losing out if your car has been tampered with and original parts replaced with – pretty much anything else by your brand.
You could lose your manufacturer’s warranty
If you’re still in that sweet spot where you’re covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s well-advised not to jeopardise that by sending your vehicle to a mechanic down the road with little experience let alone parts to match your car’s needs. Once you’ve stepped over that line, there’s no going back to your original manufacturer or dealership and asking for a free job if something else happens. Food for thought.
So are there any benefits to choosing an independent garage?
Yes, as you can imagine there might be some benefits that are worth considering. It may be cheaper for you in the short term to get it done this way. Also, you might find that it’s closer and that you have a great relationship with your mechanic which could be worth more than any manufacturer’s warranty.
This is especially true if you’re running an older model which isn’t usually seen by the mechanics at the dealership. They might do a good job with the essentials, but you may find that an independent mechanic will have more fun and actually do a fantastic job repairing anything that may have gone wrong.
Benefits of choosing a dealership
There are many. But the main ones include:
- Have factory-trained mechanics familiar with your make and model work on your car
- Peace of mind knowing that your warranty is safe and sound with a qualified dealership taking care of your car
- All the right parts are being used to replace old or broken ones
- A luxury car that requires specific expertise would be better serviced at whatever dealership you got it from. Those guys know best.
- Dealerships often have promotions that you can take advantage of. Just check their website, or give them a call.
Which one is cheaper?
At the end of the day, cash is king. But don’t rush in thinking that an independent mechanic will do it for less. That may not be true.
If you know your car is due for a service, it is worth finding out how much a local mechanic will do it beforehand, then check in with your dealership and see if there’s a big difference. Chances are the mechanic will want your money more, and the dealership will be more concerned with doing a satisfactory job while maintaining industry standards.
Whatever you do, do it regularly.
It can’t be stated enough. No matter who you choose to service your car, make sure you’re not missing services and prolonging time in between scheduled maintenance appointments. You’ll find that this harms your car’s health and performance, and can also void a warranty if certain schedules aren’t kept.
If you are due for a service, don’t let it wait. Get the car in and get it over with. Your car is thanking you already.