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should i take my car to the dealer for repairs?

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Should I take my car to a dealership or local mechanic shop for maintenance and repairs?
Need rack and pinion steering replacement (i guess). I’ve always heard dealers overcharge and over-diagnose, but if it’s better work and parts then isn't it worth it?

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asked Aug 2, 2017 in Cars and Transportation by michaela

2 Answers

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My answer may be unpopular. To be fair, I have worked for both independents and dealerships.

Let me use this analogy to illustrate why dealerships are better in most cases. Which would you prefer, a general practitioner to do an anterior cervical discectomy lower back surgery or someone who has trained to be a specialist in his field of study?

Yes, dealerships charge more. “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Warren Buffett’s favorite old admonition reveals that price and value are not always the same.

Dealership technicians train on the latest factory technology instead of the training that trickles down to the aftermarket a few years later. Dealership technicians are specifically focused on the intricacy of a brand of vehicle, not attempting to learn enough general knowledge about cars to have the ability to work on anything that comes in the door.

Dealership technicians are held to a higher standard of training. My ASE certifications, which are generally held as the the gold standard of automobile technicians, were a breeze to attain compared to my Ford certifications.

I am going to make a bold prediction. Because of the rapid growth in technology, the gap separating independent repair facilities versus manufacturer specific dealerships will grow exponentially. Local mechanics just can’t keep up with the required equipment, training and technology. I would not invest money in independent repair franchise stock shares. I fear that in years to come, they will be relegated only be able to doing basic repairs including tires, wiper blades and oil changes.

Lastly, to answer your question, there is times I recommend bringing your vehicle to independent repair facilities. I do. But certainly modern electronic rack and pinions that require computer and parameter calibrations, I would never head down to the local mechanic.
answered Aug 2, 2017 by Bulldog Drummond
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First, don’t guess! If you take the car in and say it needs something, they will go and replace that something, even though they probably know it’s much more likely you need the $3 thingy hooked up to it. Best to say “The steering is wobbly”, then they might just give you a $59 front-end alignment instead of a $600 rack and pinion (plus the adjustment).

The dealers sometimes have a better idea of exactly what is wrong with a particular model, but then again a large independent shop will figure that out too. Only you can decide whether paying 50 to 100% more at a dealership os worthwhile.
answered Aug 2, 2017 by Katherine

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