When it comes to servicing your car, van, or light truck, you have two basic options - head back to the dealership where you purchased the vehicle, or go to your local, independent garage. Both options have distinct advantages, and depending on your situation, disadvantages.
Deciding the best place to service and repair your vehicle comes down to a few key factors, such as:
- The age (and odometer reading) of your vehicle
- The make and model of your automobile
- Whether or not your vehicle is still covered under the factory warranty
- The skills, equipment, and experience represented by your local independent shop
Here's what you need to know about the differences between dealership service and independent service shops:
Dealer Technicians Are Factory-Certified Specialists
One of the biggest advantages of dealership service vs independent repair shops is the fact that dealership technicians are all factory-certified specialists who have advanced-level training in servicing all vehicles sold at that dealership.
For example, here at Miller Auto & Marine, our service department is staffed by techs who have been certified by Nissan, Lincoln, Buick, and GMC; they know these vehicles inside and out, and they receive regular testing and re-certification on the latest models and technologies. Their skills and knowledge are always up-to-date, so they can quickly diagnose and repair any problems with your vehicles.
By contrast, ASE certified technicians at independent service shops aren't required to take any ongoing training or educational programs; they only need to take the ASE Certification test once every five years to maintain their qualifications, and technicians can retake their ASE Certifications long after their credentials have expired, even if it's been years since they've worked in a repair shop.
In most cases, technicians at independent service shops are all-makes technicians, meaning they know the basics of how to repair cars, but they lack specialized training in specific makes and models.
At Your Dealership, Warranty Coverage is Guaranteed
Another big advantage of dealership service vs independent shops is when you utilize your dealer for routine maintenance and repairs, you'll never have to worry about warranty issues, or wonder if service has been completed to the standards set by the manufacturer.
Of course, vehicle owners are free to go anywhere to have work done on their vehicles; they can even do work themselves and preserve their factory warranty. This consumer right is protected under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, however, if your vehicle has been improperly serviced by a facility other than a certified dealership, the ensuing damage will not be covered under the automakers' warranty.
It's also important to note that safety recalls and work completed free of charge under a manufacturers' warranty must be completed at a dealership.