Which is the better choice to service and repair your car, a recommended Independent Specialist or a Franchised Main Dealer?
It’s long been received wisdom that if you have a new car you make sure you take it to a main dealer for at least as long as it’s in warranty. And if you want to keep your car in the best condition possible you continue to use a main dealer long after the warranty has expired.
But, despite most car owners thinking that way, it’s long been the case that, as long as servicing is done to recommended standards, the EU block exemption of 2003 (now enshrined in the UK post-Brexit) means you can use an independent specialist and still maintain your car’s warranty.
But why would you choose as an independent specialist when all you need to do is rock up at the dealer you bought your car from and they’ll take care of everything for you?
Well, with interest rates rising, fuel bills rocketing and the spectre of troublesome inflation starting to rear its ugly head, even the most affluent are looking to keep a lid on outgoings and expenses, and perhaps the biggest reason for choosing a recommended independent car service and repair specialist is cost.
Unlike main dealers – with their huge overheads and flashy on-brand premises – independent specialists have much lower overheads, and that means lower costs for you.
However, as long as you choose carefully and seek out a recommended car specialist (you can use the Cars UK Directory for that), lower cost doesn’t mean a poorer service.
In fact, many of the best independent car service specialists are former technicians from the brand they specialise in, use exactly the same diagnostic equipment as main dealers and have access to the same information and training. And that applies to both mainstream and premium brands.
But it’s not just cost that’s a factor, it’s service generally too.
Use a main dealer and you’re unlikely to find a proper hands-on service and the opportunity to talk to the mechanic working on your car, but at good independents, you often can.
Not only that, but good independent garages will work with you to save money rather than upsell, advising you what work needs doing now, finding cheaper parts if your car’s out of warranty and that’s what you want, and advising what repairs have to be done and which can be put off for a while without causing issues.
Although there are many independent specialists up and down the country, it is often a minefield trying to find the right one. Many claim they specialize in the brand you are looking for, but it’s important to find out the background of these garages.
I spent many years learning my craft at a main dealer, but always felt uncomfortable with the way customers were treated and charged for the work carried out. That’s when I decided to set up my own garage to offer affordable dealer level service, treating every customer, and their car, as if they were personal friends. Taking the time to offer this level of face-to-face customer interaction, listen to their needs and discuss their options is paramount.
This is what makes the best independent specialists special, and we can do everything a main dealer does – servicing, repair, diagnostics and more – but with a smile, and a bill that won’t make you gulp!
So choose your independent specialist carefully and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s clear; you have everything to gain – especially financially – and nothing to lose by choosing an independent car specialist to care for your pride and joy.