It's the great debate of the Independent Repair Shop Vs Dealership! David Vs Goliath! But what do studies actually say about this heated topic?
We hear it all the time, "I'm a dealer guy, I always bring my car to the dealer for repairs." So we've wondered, are dealers a better value than your local mechanic? We may have a slight bias on this topic but who better to ask for a fair and balanced view than Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports 2015 Repair Satisfaction Survey found that when your car is ailing, odds are that you’ll be more satisfied with an independent repair shop than with a new-car dealership. The annual survey of Consumer Reports subscribers found that independents outscored dealership service once again for overall satisfaction, price, quality, courteousness of the staff, and work being completed when promised. With few exceptions, the entire list of independent shops got high marks, the same couldn’t be said for new car dealers.
The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, was based on subscriber satisfaction with repairs on more than 121,000 vehicles—80,000 of which were repaired at dealers and more than 41,000 at independent shops. Mercedes-Benz drivers, in particular, were much more satisfied with the price they paid at independent shops. Also dinged for high prices were Jaguar dealerships as well as Mini dealerships that often share a service drive (and high prices) with an affiliated BMW dealership.
FYI: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says that it's illegal for a car dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by an independent repair facility. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections. Maintenance schedules vary by vehicle make, model and year; the best source of information about routine scheduled maintenance is your owner's manual.