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Pros and Cons of Visiting the Car Dealer for Service

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How do you feel about visiting a dealership for vehicle service? Some people believe that this is the best idea. Others believe that it is the biggest mistake one can make when it comes to maintaining their vehicle. If you are on the fence it is essential that you are aware of both the pros and cons of visiting a dealer for service.

Pros

1. The technicians that work on your vehicle at the dealership are trained by the manufacturer, and have targeted experience on your make and model. With this, they are able to pinpoint problems that others may not find. It goes without saying that some makes and models have the same problems across the board. A dealer technician is aware of this and can often fix your problem for you fairly quickly without having to do much investigative work.

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2. In most cases, dealerships have the best equipment. Not only do they get help from the manufacturer when starting up the service department, but they also get first crack at any new equipment that hits the market.

Additionally, most dealerships are larger than independent shops. This means they can hire more help, and of course, work on your car sooner rather than later. Who wants to wait around several hours just to have their oil changed?

3. Dealership work is guaranteed. This may be the number one benefit of heading to a dealer when you need service. Above all else, if your car is under warranty there is a good chance that you will not be charged. Also, all repairs and basic maintenance are backed by the dealer. If your car goes into the shop and the work is not completed to your specifications or has problems down the line, the dealer will take it back, free of cost, to address the issue.

Cons

1. You are just a number. Let’s face it: dealerships service thousands of vehicles every year and come face to face with just as many customers. In most cases, you are just going to be another name in the crowd. On the contrary, if you strike up a relationship with a local mechanic you may be able to get more personal service every time you need it.

2. It will cost more to get service at a dealership. This is true in most cases. When you compare the cost of dealership work to that of an independent mechanic or chain store, you will probably find that you are paying more. If you can do the work on your own, you will definitely save money because you are only paying for parts not labor. This also goes along with the previous point. If you can form a strong relationship with a local mechanic, often you’ll find that you can get much better deals than with an impersonal car dealer.

Other Options

If heading to the dealership for service is not right for you, consider these options:

1. Independent mechanic. Finding a local shop was easier in the past, but if you keep your eyes open and also ask around for referrals, you may find exactly what you are looking for.

2. Chain stores. Some of the most popular include Midas, Meineke, and Pennzoil.

3. Do it yourself. If you know a thing or two about car maintenance and repair, skip the dealership and do the work yourself. This can save you tons of money! Maybe you can even learn a few tips from a mechanic friend who would love to teach you about cars.

Where do you turn when your car is in need of service? Any mechanic or dealer horror stories?

(photo credit: Scott Robinson Honda)

Chris Bibey
Chris Bibey is a freelance writer who over the years has honed his personal finance experience by writing more than 100 feature articles on the subject. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports - West Virginia football in particular!

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