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Local Auto Shops or Dealerships? Where to Go to Fix Your Volvo

Cars are expensive and it’s not merely the purchase price that makes them so. The cost of gas, auto insurance, tires, depreciation, and maintenance can all add up faster than mileage on a cross country road trip. In fact, when it comes to upkeep, USA Today reports that Americans spend an average of 4.97 cents per mile on repairs alone.

Of course, as most car owners know, not all auto repair or maintenance procedures are truly needed. Depending on where the car is taken, a business may try to upsell certain products. This inevitably leaves the auto owner wary of mechanics, ultimately left asking themselves an important question: should they patronize a local shop or go to a dealership?

The Cons of a the Dealership

Overall, most American drivers choose to avoid dealerships for aftermarket care: per the New York Times, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence states that 70 percent of car owners go to independent auto shops. Perhaps the most important reason for this is cost: statistics gathered by the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association found that car owners who went to dealerships for repairs spent an average of $1,209 a year while those who went to local shops spent $903 a year.

The Cons of a the Dealership

Dealerships often get away with charging these higher prices by selling unnecessary procedures and inflating the costs of shop supplies. According to Time magazine, fluid flushes and part replacement are two procedures often unnecessarily recommended (while these may be needed in cars that undergo “severe use,” only 5 percent of cars fit that category). Time also reports that shop supplies – things like rags and lubricants – are usually marked 30 percent higher than the ones sold at home improvement or auto stores.

In addition to being aware of unneeded maintenance and inflated costs, car owners should also be aware of the validity of their car’s warranty. While a dealership would like car owners to believe that their warranty is only legit if they solely solicit the dealership for repairs, this is not the case. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that dealerships – except in very rare cases – must honor the warranty even if the car has been repaired or altered elsewhere. Even so, some warranties may be voided if specific cosmetic work is performed; thus it’s important to read the car’s warranty carefully.

The Benefits of Local Automotive

The Benefits of Local Automotive

Local auto shops – like Collins Automotive – offer many advantages that dealerships cannot (or will not) offer. As demonstrated above, local shops are often cheaper than their larger counterparts: they are also far less likely to offer customers repairs or procedures that are not needed. But, the benefits of going local don’t stop there. Other benefits include individualized attention; a focus on customer service; thorough explanation of the car’s problem and how it needs to be remedied; location (dealerships are more likely to be far from the home); and honest, trust-worthy service.

Local auto shops are also more qualified to deal with difficult procedures than in the past. While it used to be that dealerships were the only places with sophisticate diagnostic equipment, independent shops have also begun to invest in this type of technology. This gives them the ability to service a greater variety of cars, with more efficient results.

Collins Automotive

Family Owned Auto Shop, Serving Abbotsford, BC and surrounding area since 1993

Does your car need service? Click here for a free quote!


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