We’ve all heard the saying, “Shop Local”, and we’re all aware of the designated small business Saturday, and grassroots community-focused efforts to help mom-and-pop shops in your neighborhood. We know that the benefits of patronage to locally owned businesses are vast and making a difference can feel good. When it comes to car maintenance, however, some of us have been conditioned to see only the dealership as a service option. Who does that really benefit? How does that strengthen our local communities? What are the benefits to exclusively choosing the dealership versus a smaller, family-owned repair shop?
Dealerships and Warranty
For the period your car has a warranty, it is indeed cheaper to take it to a dealership as it will be repaired for free. But afterwards, it will be cheaper to shift to an auto repair shop.
Pros and Cons
Dealerships have factory-trained technicians and work exclusively with OEM parts. This is great if you have a new vehicle and are under warranty, or if you plan to trade in the vehicle as a certified pre-owned vehicle. However, after the warranty expires, you are responsible for the full price of vehicle maintenance, except for factory recalls. Dealership service carries a hefty price tag considering their business model, overhead, and supply and demand of OEM parts.
Independent auto shops can offer lower prices because they have less overhead. Independent repair facilities are also not limited to using only OEM parts. They can use aftermarket parts, which are usually more affordable. Their ability to shop around means they get parts faster, and they don’t have to wait for their parts to come from a single factory assembly line. Overall, independent auto shops can be quicker, more economical, and offer a more flexible schedule – you get your car back sooner, and a local mechanic is more likely to work with your specific pick up and drop off schedule.
Why is auto repair so expensive to begin with?
Something important to remember with auto repair is that regardless of your decision to get work done, independently or through a dealership, you should still expect to pay the appropriate amount for quality work. Labor and equipment are the two drivers of auto repair costs in any shop, large or small.
If you think about it, you expect this with every service you encounter, not just automotive repair. It is no different from other skilled trade professions. Your pipes leak in your home, you would need to pay a plumber for his time and effort, as well as for his tools and plumbing parts. If your roof was damaged in a storm, you would pay the roofer for time, labor, and supplies also. Car repair and servicing is no different.
What if you don’t know exactly what’s wrong with your vehicle?
Just like in some plumbing and roofing situations, sometimes you are paying more for diagnostic Labor within your automotive repair – This requires significantly more training than a general repair laborer, as well as different tools, both of which require training and come at a higher fee. However, repair laborers also have a significant amount of training and experience. Whether trained independently or through a factory program, Master Technicians take many years to acquire their skills. Skills don’t come cheap, no matter where you go. Although less expensive than industry giants, don’t expect the small shop owner to take less money than what the work demands.
Why factoring in these things matters.
Dealerships have fixed pricing for these specialty services, stemming from a meticulously thought out and followed equation for making a profit from their service department. Everyone needs to make a dollar, that’s obvious, however independent repair shops have more wiggle room, and less people to answer to up the chain when negotiating a fair price for your repair. A major customer advantage when every penny counts!
It is your right as a consumer to have your vehicle inspected, diagnosed, and repaired at the facility of your choice. There are benefits abound in choosing a qualified, independent auto shop to do your non-warranty repairs. Preowned vehicle owners especially can take advantage of lower repair costs to their vehicles through local repair shops.
Don’t forget about the parts!
As a customer, you can ask your repair shop where they source their parts, to make sure you are getting top quality installed in your vehicle. Enginetech loves our repair shop customers, and we work hard to provide the best quality parts available to them. Enginetech backs up our products with multiple quality inspections and factory audits. Enginetech’s team of on-site engineers are available for our customers every day, and our customer service team answers calls quickly, making sure repair shops have the parts they need to get your vehicle back on the road quickly.