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Who Should Work on Your Car: The Dealership or a Local Mechanic?

Who Should Work on Your Car: The Dealership or a Local Mechanic?

Who Should Work on Your Car: The Dealership or a Local Mechanic?

Dealer vs mechanic, does it matter who services your car?

That depends on what your priorities are. Many people prefer going to a dealership to have their vehicle worked on because they trust that the job will be done the right way. While it's true that a dealership will almost certainly do a thorough job, a reputable local garage that hires certified technicians should offer a comparable level of expertise.

The biggest difference between a dealership and a local mechanic often comes down to the cost. A dealership is almost always more expensive for any type of auto repair or maintenance than a local mechanic is. This makes sense because dealerships have a lot more overhead and expenses to deal with. Those expenses are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher rates for services. Since a reputable mechanic and a dealership will likely provide a similar level of quality work for your car, why would you ever choose the more expensive option?

Think Ahead

Actually, there are a few good reasons. First, do you plan on selling your car in the future? That's something you may not be thinking of at the moment, but it's something that should definitely be on your radar. If you are trading your car in and buying a new one then who provided the service for your car probably won't make that much of a difference. But, if you are planning to sell your car yourself and not involve a dealership, then having service records from a dealership could fetch you a higher price for your car. The simple fact is that dealerships are often considered to be more trustworthy than independent mechanics. This results in a potential buyer being more comfortable buying a car that has been serviced by a dealership in many cases.

Vehicle Warranty

Another common reason that people go to the dealership is due to the warranty that their vehicle comes with. New cars and even many used cars come with some type of warranty. Warranties are important because they protect your investment. A car is a big expense, so the last thing you want is for your car to start having mechanical issues shortly after you buy it. There's not much worse than having a car payment and having to pay a mechanic's bill at the same time. The catch with many warranties is that you have to take your car to the dealership for servicing.

Dealerships are also a better choice in most cases when you have a newer car that is having an unusual issue. A qualified mechanic may have had some experience dealing with your car. A mechanic that works at a dealership specializes in working on your type of car. Do you see the difference? While a licensed and experienced mechanic can probably figure out how to repair most issues on most cars, a mechanic working at a dealership will have a higher level of expertise. That means that the chances of them diagnosing and repairing a strange issue should happen more quickly than it would if you took your car to a local mechanic.

So, obviously, the dealership is the best option, right? Not necessarily. While dealerships have a lot going for them, don't count your local mechanic out just yet. What if you have a car that has had its warranty expire? Or your car has an issue that isn't covered by a warranty? Could you still take it to the dealership to have it worked on? Of course, but you had better be prepared to pay more for their services. Local mechanics are almost always less expensive than a dealership is when it comes to car maintenance and repairs.

When Speed Matters

What if you're in a hurry and you need your car fixed right away? Once again, a local mechanic gets the nod here. Dealerships are often very busy, as anyone that has spent an entire Saturday waiting for an oil change can tell you. Not only do dealerships take longer, but you also usually have to schedule an appointment well in advance. On the other hand, you can often find a local mechanic that can have your car in and out on the same day.


Dealer vs mechanic, does it matter who services your car? The bottom line is that it depends. It depends on what your priorities are on the day that your car needs to be worked on. If you value the reputation of a dealership and want to be able to resell your car for top dollar later on, then having repair and maintenance receipts from a dealership will go a long way toward helping you to do that. If you have a warranty with a dealership, then that's probably your best option as well. But, if you're in a hurry, or want to save some money, then a local mechanic is where you should be taking your car.

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