Before you decide where to take your vehicle to be maintained or repaired, it is important to know the differences between them. Routine maintenance items will be listed in the owner’s manual. These items are designed to maintain your vehicle’s top operating condition. When a problem is encountered, repairs are performed. Depending on the work required, where you take your vehicle will vary.
You don’t need to visit the dealership where the vehicle was purchased to schedule maintenance. You can also take your vehicle to an independent shop or franchise for an auto repair, which is usually less expensive than dealers. You have the right to service your vehicle anywhere you want as long as your warranty coverage does not change. Depending on their contract, lessees may need to have all services performed at a dealership. Your dealership’s service department is equipped with all the diagnostic equipment and technicians trained in every aspect of your vehicle’s maintenance needs. Although maintenance items are relatively simple, professional auto shops should be capable of performing the required tasks.
Make sure you have the latest technical service bulletins from your manufacturer. These are instructions on how to fix common problems that may be found with a specific model. TSB repairs are often free of charge by automakers, but you will need to visit a dealer to have the work done.
Get more car maintenance and repair tips at Consumer Reports.
You can repair your car as simple as a brake job, auto-body repair, or a transmission problem. If your vehicle is still under warranty, you should take it to a dealer. If your vehicle has been subject to a recall or is being repaired under a “service campaign”, a dealer can assist you. You will need to review the terms of your extended warranty to determine who is responsible for performing covered repairs.
The problem you have with your vehicle may affect where you take it to be repaired. A reputable independent shop can handle the most common repairs. Specialized shops with your vehicle’s brand will have more experience, the right equipment and current information. When a problem is serious enough to warrant a visit to the dealership, or a speciality shop, a good technician will inform you.
If you’re experiencing a problem with a system exclusive to your model or automaker–especially electronics, such as a navigation or multi-function control system–consider taking the vehicle to a dealership. To have safety recall work done on your vehicle, you must also take it to a dealer.
How to find the best car mechanic
According to annual surveys, consumers are more satisfied with independent shops than car dealerships.
It takes more than just a little luck to find a car mechanic in sydney you can trust with your car. It takes some good old-fashioned research. Although there is no one way to determine what makes a repair shop a good one, here are some things you can look for.
- Shop for your car brand
- Many garages are specialists in certain makes. Garages specializing in your make and model are more likely to have the best training and equipment to fix it.
- Talk to your family and friends.
- Ask for recommendations from others who own a similar vehicle to yours.
- Search the Internet
- You can find information about local mechanics at Angie’s List, and the Consumer Reports car-repair estimator. These services are free. Angie’s List subscriptions are required. The car repair estimator is free for Consumer Reports’ online subscribers.
- Search for certification
- The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) should certify your mechanic and shop.
- The Better Business Bureau
- The bureau ranks auto repair shops 12th in its list of most common complaints. Visit www.bbb.org to find out more about which shops you should avoid.
- Try in the shop
- You might consider visiting a local shop for small repairs and maintenance items before your car requires major repair.
- Get information about warranties.
- What guarantees do the shops offer on repairs? Many warranties are available, so make sure to ask ahead of time. As a guide, use a standard repair such as brake work.
- Make sure your shop is accessible.
- It might not be worth your time if the shop’s hours are inconvenient or you don’t have other transportation options.