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A Dealer May Be Best For Serious Problems
It is well known that service departments at auto dealers almost always charge more than small garages for most repairs. That's because in order to run a service department at a dealership, the dealer must pay a fee to the auto maker. Naturally, they pass that cost along to consumers. For basic maintenance and small repairs, going to a local garage will probably save you money. However, for more complex repairs, a dealer's service department may be your best option. Here's why.
The mechanics who work in dealership service departments are highly trained in working with specific makes of cars and some may even specialize by specific model. They are typically extensively trained by the manufacturer and frequently attend refresher training courses. If your car is experiencing a problem that's common to your make of car but not common in others, a service department mechanic trained in working with your specific make and model will have an easier time catching it than a local garage, whose limited training resources must be spent on keeping up to date with many different makes and models.
Also, almost without exception, service departments offer some form of warranty on their work. Obviously, if the car is still covered by the master warranty any repeat repairs will be covered. But most auto dealer service departments warrant their work on cars that are out of warranty. The warranties are usually specific to the repair and may cover parts, labor and rental car expenses. Small garages may also offer warranties, but the advantage of a service department warranty is that it is usually good at any dealer of that make of car.
If the problem you're experiencing is the subject of a manufacturer's recall, a service department mechanic will be more likely to know about it. Service departments at car dealers typically run a check each time you bring your vehicle in for service to determine whether a recall has been issued for that make and model. Also, many car manufacturers require that recall repairs be done by a service department.
Finally, if your car needs to be in the shop for an extended period of time a service department that's located on the same site as an auto dealer can offer you more convenient access to a rental car. Many service departments have their own fleet of rentals. Or, if your car only needs to be in the shop for a day or less, many service departments have a courtesy shuttle.
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