Dealership or independent mechanic?

Car trouble is a headache nobody wants to encounter. So when your vehicle demands immediate attention, which number should be on your speed dial: the dealership's or an independent mechanic's?

Often, choosing a dealership mechanic can result in a more expensive repair bill. This is because dealership technicians are factory trained, receive higher salaries and frequently work only on one make of vehicle.

On the other hand, independent mechanics may have just as much training and may work on more than one make. They may offer you, the consumer, the same skill level as what you would find at the dealership, but at a lower cost.

So, how can you make the best decision?

If you are considering the services of an independent garage mechanic, it is important to know whether the mechanic stays current with the latest repair advancements.

  • Ask neighbors and friends for feedback about where their family vehicles are serviced.
  • Check Angie's List for highly rated mechanics in your area.
  • Ask if the technicians have Automotive Service Excellence certifications.        
  • Compare prices between the dealership and the independent mechanic. If there is a significant difference, be sure to take into consideration if the repair is highly specialized. 
  • Decide if you require certain services, such as the availability of a loaner car while yours is in the shop, or pick-up and drop-off services. Dealerships are generally more likely to offer these services.

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