Should Car Owners Rely On the Dealership For Maintenance Needs?

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Take a look at the cars driving around right now, and you’ll find that the average car out there is at least 11 years old. Cars need maintenance, especially to keep running smoothly for over a decade. While regular check ups are an undisputed component of owning a car, where to take the car for service is disputed.

Say you own a Chevrolet. Do you take the car to a Chevy dealer or an independently owned auto body shop? Theoretically, both locations should provide the same inspection, give the same advice, and do the same service. Yet, car owners have very different opinions on which choice gives their customers the best service at the best price.

To really figure out which service department comes out on top, it is necessary to examine the long-term effects of one choice over another. You need to look at the initial price, the quality of the service, and the benefits of establishing a rapport with the mechanics.

Let’s take a look at the Chevy dealer. Clearly, their whole operation centers around the operation of Chevy cars. This means that each mechanic is an expert on the unique problems these cars can face at different points in the lifespan of the vehicle. The mechanics know how a brand new Chevy engine should run, and how an 11 year old Chevy engine should run.

The Chevy dealer mechanic will work on cars very similar to yours all day everyday. They won’t need to question the brand, level, or weight of the oil being replaced. The mechanics will know the recommended mileage at which certain maintenance procedures should be completed, even if you’ve forgotten. Essentially, the Chevy dealer takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation, because they are operating in accordance with the maker of the vehicle’s recommendation for optimal performance.

Now compare that service to an independent auto shop. They work on a wide variety of cars each day. There might be a bit more time spent figuring out what problem your vehicle is experiencing, simply because the shop is unfamiliar with your particular model from that particular year. This isn’t to say the independent mechanic will do a poor job of fixing the vehicle. It means that the mechanics do not focus on one make of vehicle as a dealership does.

About 43% of dealership customers view the experience as a learning opportunity. When you specialize, people tend to think of you as a specialist in that area. They usually trust your opinion on the subject. In terms of car maintenance, this translates to more trust.

A big consideration when deciding between the Chevy dealer and the independent shop is price. Initially, the price between the two might be considerable. This is what causes much of the dispute between the two. The same job should cost the same wherever it is performed. The implication then is that the job might be slightly different when performed at one location versus another.

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