Somewhere I remember (maybe I dreamed it), that while my car was under warranty, I needed to take it to the dealer or the warranty would be voided. So, I’ve been taking it to the dealer. I’m now under extended warranty (45,000+ miles on the car) and still taking it to the dealer. It seems like they are charging me a huge amount for a brake job (after doing something else to the brakes last spring). Do dealers typically charge more? Can I find a different mechanic? This is my first “new” car in about 30 years, so I feel like I have to treat it differently.
Yes, dealers definitely charge more for a number of reasons; much higher overhead, only use new factory parts, do ore work than necessary, etc.
You only need to take your car to the dealer for warranty-related tiems. A brake job is normal wear and tear, as is changing the coolant, and all the other tasks listed in your owners manual, and those are not covered.
However, if your brakes failed prematurely, or seized up, it would likely be warranty. I bought a new car recently, and will go to the dealer for routine oil changes, since they are competively priced, and the dealershop is just up the road.
For all other repair work that is non-warranty I will go to my own mechanic. It is very important to keep all your receipts of work done neatly in a binder, so that if there is a problem you can demonstrate you took good care of the car.
Somewhere I remember (maybe I dreamed it), that while my car was under warranty, I needed to take it to the dealer or the warranty would be voided.
You dreamed it. The dealer can NOT void your warranty because you did NOT take the car there for service.
Dealers typically do charge more. Their hourly rate is usually a LOT higher…and their parts are higher.
Find a good local mechanic to do ALL your work…even warranty work.
Find a good local mechanic to do ALL your work…even warranty work.
You’d have a very hard time getting reimbursement from the car maker if warranty work is not done at a dealership. Therefore, go there for warranty work. I take my '05 to the dealership for oil changes too, but only because the price is competitive, it’s reasonably convenient, and there would be no question of oil changes being done at the proper intervals should an oil-related engine failure occur before my power train warranty expires. Once the warranty expires, I’ll be taking it to a trusted shop around the corner from my office for all work I don’t do myself.
I think a lot of people misunderstand what I think is good advice. I recommend taking a car to a dealer when it is under full warranty, not because you have to, but because it might be easier if you can find a dealer with reasonable prices. The full bumper-to-bumper warranty for most cars is 3 years or 36,000 miles. If your dealer has competitive prices, going there for service means you don’t have to keep track of the maintenance and repair orders if you have a warranty claim. With a warranty claim it will save you the burden of having to prove that the car has been properly maintained. However, if you go to a non-dealer mechanic and you have a warranty claim, you might have to prove that the car has been properly maintained by showing someone the receipts. If you use a non-dealer mechanic and misplace a single receipt, your warranty might be useless.
You always have a choice if you keep meticulous records. If you frequently misplace things like receipts for repairs and maintenance, my opinion is that you are better going to the dealer for service until all of your warranties expire. Get comparative prices from competitors for basic services like oil changes and timing belt replacements. If your dealer is reasonable, keep going there. You should also get price comparisons from competing dealers. Some are more reasonable than others.
The important question is, are you capable of saving every receipt from every oil change and every other maintenance visit and every repair? If the answer is yes, you can go anywhere you want for maintenance and repairs as long as you use an ASE certified mechanic.
I know it reaches a point when they start getting excessive profits. Most people get fed up with it and go ANYWHERE else for maintenance. If the dealers were any good, there wouldn’t be so many chain franchise joints around. They seem to charge a lot too and they also want to change every part under the hood and car too. That’s where independent shops come in. Guess you have to find one of those to deal with. A complete rear brake job can cost quite a bit. Prices vary. Without knowing what car you own, we can’t even begin to tell you any real info.
Dealer prices often bear no relatioship to the real world. Years ago I broke a rear leaf spring on my Ford Granada. The dealer quoated $600 for 2 springs; you need two to keep the car level. I ended up at Midas who did the job for exactly half the price. The springs worked well until I sold the car. This same car had problems with the power streering unit. The dealer quoted $350 for a new unit plus instalation, while my mechanic got a rebuild kit and did the job for just over $100. The dealer was not interested in rebuilding the unit.
You’d have a very hard time getting reimbursement from the car maker if warranty work is not done at a dealership. Therefore, go there for warranty work
You…you’re right…I meant to say EXCEPT warranty work. That MUST be done by the dealer.
Car dealers have dozens of expenses that a small independent shop does not. That is why they are generally higher.
Just one example might be a front end alignment rack. Price one of those!
You do NOT have to take your car to the dealer to maintain the warranty. You may have many things performed by an independent shop.
The Federal Magnuson-Moss Act says so.
However, if someone other than the dealer has been servicing something (like brakes for instance) and a potentially warrantable problem develops then it MAY get denied on a warranty claim if is related to the brake work that was performed; and legitimately so.
Warranty should be not covering anything that may have been botched by someone outside the warranty network.
All records done by an outside shop should be kept; from oil changes on up.
I can appreciate why most advice is to go to an independent mechanic, however, my local mechanic is backed up for two weeks and then you must leave the car for at least a day with no way of getting to work. Most of the time parts have to be ordered and sometimes the order turns out to be incomplete etc. etc… I have found over the years the ease of getting an appointment at the dealer and that they can remedy almost all problems while you wait and the option an available ride is worth the extra cost. The one time the ddealer couldn’t finish the job on time they gave me a free rental for the day. no local shop can do that.
Those are valid points, but they are also a function of the individual shop/dealer. I use an independent shop that is very good, and not really any cheaper than the dealer, but they do excellent work. They are very busy but will always make an effort to fit me in if I need something done quickly, I will also tell them when I’m not really in a hurry and they can take their time. I also think that dealers are usually better equipped to work on the latest models (because they are required to), but the independents (especially specialty shops) are more familiar with the older models that the dealers rarely even see once they are out of warrantee.
“The one time the ddealer couldn’t finish the job on time they gave me a free rental for the day. no local shop can do that.”
…not necessarily true. I have been to an independent shop that keeps a few old cars around to use as rentals/loaners. The one I got was an old police cruiser that was actually fun to drive. It is rare, but independent shops can rent and loan cars if they want to.
I have seen some instances where a dealer was the best choice for a repair. Most of these involved quirky, complicated, electrical, or otherwise hard to diagnose issues. You can’t compare taking a Taurus to a mechanic that works on everything that comes in the door to one at a dealer that works on Tauruses all day long every day. The dealer is more likely to get it right the first time.
Are you unhappy with the service department at the dealership? I’ve had dealers that I would never visit the service department except for warranty work. On the other hand, I’ve purchased cars from dealers and have been very satisfied with the service department, both in the quality of work and in the price. My usual mode of operation is as follows:
I have a good independent shop for engine servicing and general repairs.
I visit a good independent tire dealer for tires, alignment and brake work.
I go to a good independent transmission shop for servicing (fluid and filter changes) and all transmission work.
I go to an independently owned exhaust shop for pipes and mufflers.
One interesting thing is that the Chevrolet dealer from whom I bought my last vehicle (2006 Uplander) charges less for an oil and filter change than does my independent shop.