Lack of confidence in dealer vs. local mech!!!

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  #1  
Old 06-05-03, 06:15 AM
fatkid66's Avatar
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Question Lack of confidence in dealer vs. local mech!!!

i have a real problem w/ bringing my vehicles to the dealer for service(1999 ford/2002 nissan). i have no specific reason other than that i feel no bond of trust i have w/ my local mechanic. my last 3 vehicles have been new when purchased/leased, and so my local guy has been unable to do maint work on some of the newest models. the newer cars today require so much specialized equipment, and its hard for this guy to keep up. ive also known this guy since ive been driving, and trust him unquestioningly(is that a word?). is my lack of confidence ridiculous?? should i give these guys (dealer mechs.),the benefit of the doubt? no offense meant to any dealer mechs. out there, just looking for some feedback!
 
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Old 06-05-03, 06:32 AM
Joe_F
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If your local guy is not able to service newer stuff, he will be out of business in the near future. The newer stuff is lasting longer and becoming a bigger part of the fleet.

The car sales market is spread out more so than years ago---you have the likes of Hyundai and Subaru stealing market share from the big three.

This means that local mechanics have to be smarter and up-to-date on many more makes and models than in the past. The better guys keep up, the lesser of the ranks just think that working on old cars will keep them going until retirement. Perhaps it will .

Nothing wrong with the dealerships either. Like retailers, chain restaurants, doctors, or any service. There are good ones and bad ones. The trick is to educate yourself so that you pick only the good ones and avoid the bad ones.

A couple of things:

1) If your local guy lacks the equipment, again, he will be out of business shortly or forced to work on older and classic cars only---this is a limited market.

2) A quick check of complaints filed with the local Better Business Bureau will give you an idea of shop's or dealer's track record.

3) Neatness and cleanliness of a shop is a good sign they might be around for years to come. I visit shops along with company salesmen in my job from time-to-time and the difference among them is night and day.

4) Ask friends and relatives about shops they use, and also look up qualified shops on the ASE website. Chances are those shops that are ASE certified have the tools and training to handle newer vehicles.

You wouldn't go to a doctor who used 1972 technology to treat you---you shouldn't trust your wheels to someone with the same tools and technology.
 
  #3  
Old 06-05-03, 12:31 PM
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Survival of the fittest, FK66. I'm not a big fan of dealerships, either; fortunately we don't have any on our frequent-towing list (the huge multi-dealership conglomerate in the county also owns one of the two biggest towing companies). My biggest beef with dealerships is generally with the service writers who you're basically stuck with dealing with. Example: we got a call from a vehicle owner to tow his pickup truck with a tranny problem from a dealership about 15 miles away back here to one of our regular tranny shops. He said give them about an hour to get it back together (they had found problems as soon as they dropped the pan). In the mean time he would go by and pay off what he owed them. I pulled up about an hour and ten minutes later and checked with the cashier - no invoice or keys (oh-oh); sorry, check with the service writers. Called the customer - said he'd been there half hour ago and paid the bill; gave me name of service writer. Grabbed a service writer - un, yeah, that must be it on the lift at the far end of the shop (still in the air with pan off). Told him customer said one hour - uh, the writer who's on that went to lunch (probably bought with the truck owner's money since the cashier never got it!), he should be back in 20 minutes or so (wanna bet!). Wait a minute let me check my cell phone to see if I have his number programmed. Okay, he says we can let it go; let me go tell the mech to button it up now. Thirty minutes after arriveing I finally pull out with the vehicle. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. It's been my experience to always ask the customer the name of the service writer because only the person they talked to will be able to help you/tell you where to drop it (assuming he's actually on the premises when you get there and not on break/lunch/test drive/donut run). This is not to indict ALL dealerships, as Joe points out. There's a Caddy dealer in that same city that is a pleasure to drop at - they know exactly who you are, what you have, where they want it dropped, and how to run the paperwork to get a PO#.

With an independent garage there's rarely a middle-man between you and the guy in charge or the actual mechanic working on your car. You also don't have to pay premium prices to cover the overhead for the latte machine and cable tv in the waiting room of the dealership. The difference in labor rates in this area is about $20/hr and it's not because their mechanics are 30% better.

I would shop around for a new INDEPENDENT garage. Many of them keep up with all the latest technology. As Joe said, the ones who haven't will soon be gone.

My $.02 worth.
 
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