Should you bring your car to the dealership or a local car mechanic’s shop when you need repairs or routine maintenance done?
Most of us simply don’t have enough experience with car repairs to know the difference.
While your dad may have been mechanically-savvy, it can be hard to figure out the best route to take when you’re a little less in-the-know.
Fortunately, today’s guide can help you make more informed decisions.
We’ll be diving into 5 specific car repair lessons about dealerships you need to know so you’ll have a better idea of where to bring your chariot when it’s due for service.
Let’s start with one of the biggest life lessons you’re better off knowing beforehand than dealing with later.
Dealerships Can’t Give You the Same Attention to Detail
If you’ve been to a dealership recently, you’ve probably experienced the sheer volume of cars being worked on in a single day.
Hundreds of customers pass through those doors and both advisors and techs struggle to keep up with the growing demand.
You may have noticed your advisor usually only has less than 10-15 minutes to spend understanding your problem before your car is shipped out to diagnostics and you’re left to wait around on your own.
Once the problem is assessed — which could be a full eight hours later — then you’re given another brief five-minute update.
You’ll be lucky if you touch base with your service advisor again because, chances are, they’ve already moved on to their next repair for the day.
Like a revolving door, most dealerships are too focused on getting customers in and out quickly and hitting sales targets so they forget about the real person behind the wheel.
This means you’ll forgo the personalized experience that comes with choosing a local mechanic whenever you opt to visit a dealership.
You’ll also experience this next issue when you do that.
Dealerships Aren’t Fighting for Your Business
Thanks to warranty work and recalls, dealerships are constantly flooded with customers (see lesson #1). And in most cases, dealerships don’t even need to work hard to acquire them.
Because of that, dealerships have no reason to fight for your business.
If you decide to leave, it’s no sweat off their back because there will be another customer right behind you taking your place. So unless your repair or replacement part is covered under a warranty by the dealership, consumers are encouraged to consider small independent mechanics who want to earn your business.
This just gives dealerships another excuse not to provide exceptional customer service since they know customers are easily replaceable.
Just the opposite happens when you partner with a local mechanic.
Since their customer bandwidth is much smaller, they value their drivers more and aren’t looking to lose them anytime soon.
This means you’ll have the attention to detail you deserve, and as you’ll see next, you won’t pay through the nose to get this level of service.
High Prices at Dealerships Are Due to High Overhead, Not Parts or Labor Costs
Most people are incorrectly taught that the high dealership rates are due to costly repair parts and high labor costs.
While that may be true in small part, the bigger picture is often overlooked: dealerships have higher overhead than a smaller shop.
So part of your skyrocketing repair costs at the dealership has to cover the cost of keeping the lights on in the showroom and team members employed with benefits.
But just because you’re paying off their overheard doesn’t mean the quality of your repairs is any better.
It just ensures the dealership can still operate each year.
Dealerships also fork over higher salaries for their manufacturer-trained technicians. But instead of incurring the cost on their own, it’s passed down to you via high service fees.
Local car repair shops don’t operate like this.
Low overhead and lean operations mean you’ll pay a fair price for car repairs without sacrificing quality.
Not only that, many mechanics have just as much training as a manufacturer-taught technician — and maybe even more due to understanding and working on multiple car brands.
So you’ll still be able to receive the exact same car help you need without having to pay more for doing so.
Recent surveys also show:
Dealerships Rank Lower In 5 Key Areas
A recent Consumer Report survey showed you’ll be “more satisfied with an independent repair shop than with a franchised new-car dealership.”
The report highlights the fact that independent car mechanics rank higher than dealerships when it comes to:
There’s also one more problem that comes up whenever you choose a dealership over a local car repair shop:
Independent Mechanics Work for You, Not Manufacturers
Dealerships have to report to their parent company, the car manufacturers themselves.
This means their sales targets, repair procedures, and other processes are out of their control. If corporate sets certain standards and measures, dealerships must follow them.
Oftentimes, this leaves customers and service advisors stuck on how to handle certain repair situations.
Since dealerships have loyalty to their manufacturers, the outcome may not always be in your favor as the consumer.
Again, you won’t see this practice happening at a local repair shop.
Neighborhood mechanics are more concerned with keeping their customers happy, which means they’re more likely to go to bat for you when it comes to fixing your vehicle.
Instead of having to deal with corporate policies and loopholes, you can trust your mechanic has your best interests in mind, not corporate’s.
Time To Find a Local Car Repair Shop You Can Trust
Though you may never visit a dealership for repair work or maintenance again, you don’t want to go to just any local repair shop either.
You should find a repair shop backed by over 20+ years of experience so you can avoid the headaches and hassles that come with inexperienced shops.
It’s also a good idea to ask about the experience and training the technicians bring to the table.
At The Palm Beach Garage, our highly trained techs have over 100 years of combined diagnostic skills.
And our philosophy hasn’t changed since we opened in 1998: Our goal is to make your vehicle experience unique and pleasant.
We do this by providing customer service that goes far beyond what any dealership can offer.
To see for yourself, schedule a vehicle consultation today.
Call 561-223-3984 or visit us online.
Now that you know these car repair lessons about dealerships your dad probably should have taught you, there’s no reason to keep making the same mistake.