Automotive service and repair is something we all have to do or have done. But just like the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” the same goes for a lot of independent repair facilities and dealerships. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other, but that there is good and bad in both. Finding the right one should keep your vehicle in excellent mechanical condition without breaking the bank.
So which one would you choose? Dealership service or local repair shops? Keep in mind that all dealerships are not the same, and that goes for local shops as well. You should be able to find quality service at both locations; however, some things to consider :
Who is working on my car? Get to know the person or people that service and repair your automobile. This usually isn’t a problem at most local shops, but a lot of dealerships have a service writer to greet you and you may not get the chance to talk with the mechanic. That’s almost like going to the doctor and being treated by the nurse without seeing or speaking to the doctor.
Reputation Ask around while your out shopping or at the post office. See what others say about an establishment and how long they have been serving the community. This may not be necessary if your are not new to the area or from near by, but it still may be some interesting info.
Shop Resources and Cleanliness Ask questions to find out if updated equipment and resources are available to your specific repair needs. It’s not a crime to not know everything, but it’s not good if you don’t have the resources to find the correct answer. Shop cleanliness should not be the main deciding factor, but if the time is taken to be neat and tidy, then the extra time may be taken not to overlook simple items while your intake is laying on the bench.
Overhauls and High Mileage Autos Some dealerships and other shops don’t work on vehicles with high mileage. So make sure you find a well rounded shop that can meet all your needs, regardless of what you drive.
Parts and Labor Ask for an estimate for the repairs that you may need and check for O.E.M. (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts to be installed. Labor rates can vary from $60.00 to $120.00 per labor hour and on up depending on geographic location and vehicle. You can research local rates and repair costs, but hopefully that gut feeling was right when you thought you found the place to trust with your vehicle, and all passengers within it.