Should you use an independent repair shop?

Have you been taking your car or truck to a dealership but are wondering what to do now that the warranty has expired? There are plenty of differing opinions in the ongoing independent repair shops vs. dealership debate. Your friend may have had such a great experience with dealership mechanics that he’ll never switch, but another swears by independent repair shops.

Pros and Cons of Dealerships and Independent shops

Here’s an overview of these two options.

Dealerships Pros & Cons

Many car owners assume that a dealership must be the final word in vehicle expertise. This is only partially true. Dealerships specialize in one or two brands and don’t tend to work on anything else, which means they know what they’re doing, but may only offer a limited array of services. Their brand name also means they generally charge more for the same amount of work.

Pros: Specialize in specific brands, typically easy to get in quickly, solid record of service to show when you sell your car

Cons: More expensive, less personalized service, limitations in what they will work on (ex. older cars, aftermarket parts)

Independent repair shops Pros & Cons

Independent mechanics can do everything a big brand-name dealership can do, and they often offer those services at a much better price. Of course, it’s always important to make sure a repair shop is certified before leaving your car in their hands but for the most part, independent mechanics offer unrivaled customer service, reliable repairs, and high-quality work. Independent shops have much more motivation to keep their customers happy, and there are far fewer employees, meaning you have a chance to establish a long-term relationship with your mechanic and the folks working in the shop.

Pros: Better customer service, better prices, more flexibility

Cons: Don’t always have the latest in diagnostic tools, may have fewer trainings and certifications, probably don’t have the same fancy waiting area a dealership may offer

Why People Prefer Independent Shops Over Dealerships

Where you take your car or truck has a lot to do with experience and the choices available in your local area. If you’re undecided, here are a few compelling reasons why so many people are loyal to independent repair shops.

Lower Cost of Repairs & Services 

Dealerships are notorious for charging high prices for repairs. If you want a better deal on your car repairs, choose one of your local independent repair shops. We don’t have the same steep overhead of dealerships, so we can do repairs for a better price. We can source auto parts from a variety of reputable resources besides the vehicle manufacturer and in some cases, even use rebuilt parts to keep the price even lower. At Two Guys and a Car, we will still do our due diligence to determine if any of your repairs might be eligible for replacement under a recall or warranty and direct you to a dealer when it makes the most sense for your pocketbook.

You also get access to a wider variety of services. Independent repair shops are free to work on any vehicle they choose. They can provide a wide range of services, parts and labor warranties and OEM or OEM-comparable parts, but they can also offer less expensive or even rebuilt parts to save their customers money.

Better Customer Service & Experience

If you go to a dealership, there are designated people who talk to customers. You will likely talk to one or two of the middlemen who are there to discuss vehicles. If you want advice directly from your mechanic, you need an independent shop like Two Guys and a Car. These shops generally have a mechanic who you can talk to about your car. You can then find out any tips they have for keeping your car running and any other issues that were noticed during your repairs. The mechanic can even show you exactly what he did with your car and how the parts got that way.

Many small shop mechanics were formerly dealership employees, bringing their industry-experience to local repair shops. Independent repair shops make sure their employees receive ongoing training, including for newly-released models and specialized vehicles like hybrid cars.

Independent repair shops are on their own and are dependent upon local goodwill to keep their business open. They’ll often go the extra mile to provide superior customer service including fair prices, quality service, on-time repairs, and professional courtesy.

Long-Term Relationships

There’s something to be said for a mechanic who not only gets to know you but gets to know your vehicle as well. You can take your car to a dealership for years without ever speaking directly to a mechanic. Generally, dealerships have much higher employee turnover that independent repair shops that are more like a family (and in the case of Two Guys and a Car, many ARE family or friends). 

When you go to an independent repair shop, you have the opportunity to get to know the service advisor and even the mechanic who works on your car. You can form a positive working relationship with them and they’ll get to know your car. This is a good way for your car to be quickly assessed by someone who is familiar with your car and remembers the repairs that it’s already had. Personalized repair service is always a plus, as it’s an easier process when you know who is working on your car and just what they are going to do.

Where do you stand in independent repair shops vs. dealership debate? Call or stop by Two Guys and a Car to discover the difference an independent repair shop can offer!


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