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Car Maintenance: Dealerships Versus Independent Shops

Expertise

Here, the dealer service department has the edge. Independent shops typically work with a wide variety of makes and models, while dealership service departments are highly specialized in one particular brand. Even independent shops who advertise specialities will see a high number of vehicles that fall outside of that specialty. A Hyundai dealer, in contrast, will work with Hyundais 95 to 100 percent of the time, and will often have access to sophisticated diagnostic equipment that are unavailable to independent shops. Very few technicians will know your car better than those employed at your local dealership.

Customer Convenience and Experience

Independent auto shops are everywhere, they may be more likely to be within a convenient driving range. However, depending on staff availability, you may have long wait times, and may even have to schedule out simple car maintenance services such as oil changes weeks in advance. There are some very good independent shops, but it may be a hit or miss process of finding one which will fit your convenience needs while also delivering on quality.

The typical experience of visiting a mechanics shop is not typically a pleasant one. It usually involves a cramped, oily waiting room, and if you are lucky a pot of stale coffee. A dealership strives to create an open, relaxing environment for you to wait while your car is being serviced. This usually involves at a minimum, comfortable seating, free refreshments, and high speed wifi. Other perks offered are loaner cars, full service cafes, and for some higher end dealerships, even on site spa treatments and massages.

Making Your Choice

Whoever you choose to service your car, make sure they are trained in the latest technology and equipment. One way to check for high quality repair shops is to look for mechanics that are blue seal certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Make sure you receive and and keep documentation of all services provided, and follow manufacturer recommendations for scheduled car maintenance.

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