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When the Dealership Isn’t an Option: Why an Independent Auto Mechanic Shop Is a Great Alternative

Image by Jens P. Raak from Pixabay

There are times when your auto dealership in the Langley area may not be a choice for you when you need a vehicle repair. Don’t despair, though. An independent auto mechanic shop may be able to solve the problem for you.

Here’s a review of independent mechanic vs. dealership factors so you can make the best selection when it comes to the care of your car, van, or truck.

Reasons Why the Dealer May Not Be an Option for You

Your dealer can be a great go-to when you have a problem with your vehicle. After all, you probably bought the automobile from them, and they’re no doubt familiar with all of its intricacies.

But there are times when the dealer might not be an option, such as:

  • The vehicle is out of warranty, and repair cost is a factor.
  • The dealership has no appointments available that work for you.
  • The dealer is located too far from where you currently reside.
  • You have an older model for which they can no longer get OEM parts.
  • After an accident, your insurance will only cover aftermarket parts.
  • You want a second opinion about a particularly costly repair.

The difference between OEM and aftermarket parts

What are OEM parts? OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. These are parts that come from the vehicle maker and are sometimes preferred because they come standard with various vehicle models.

However, aftermarket parts are frequently an excellent option too. These come from sources other than the manufacturer but have been made to work in specific vehicles. They typically cost less than OEM parts, which makes them attractive to insurance companies when trying to save money on a claim.

Nowadays, aftermarket auto parts can rival OEM parts when it comes to quality. In fact, some aftermarket parts designers have improved on issues with original parts to produce items that are even better.

Advantages of an Independent Auto Mechanic Shop

When repairs at the dealership are off the table, it’s time to turn to an independent mechanic. You’ll find benefits with these shops that were perhaps unknown to you previously.

Wider selection of parts

As mentioned above, dealerships nearly always use OEM parts because that’s what is specified by the manufacturer. But if you have concerns about cost or insurance reimbursement restrictions, using aftermarket parts is a perfect compromise. Likewise if the original parts are no longer available for your older vehicle.

Independent mechanics usually have a huge menu of parts at their disposal and work with a range of sources. It’s rare to find that they can’t match a part with something from their network of suppliers.

Experienced technicians

In order to stay in business, an independent shop has to be on top of their game. They usually employ a small staff and have less turnover than dealerships do because they can run the business however they like to keep employees happy.

Of course, some dealerships have excellent long-term technicians too. It’s a smart idea to read reviews for wherever you’re considering taking your vehicle for repairs to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.

Creative solutions

Independent mechanics work on a long list of vehicle makes and models, unlike dealerships, which only work on a few makes at most. This exposes them to all sorts of mechanical problems.

You reap the benefit of this as a consumer. A solution your mechanic found for a completely different make of vehicle may come in handy when it comes to diagnosing and repairing your car or truck.

Reduced cost

Dealerships can often be a more expensive option for repairs once your vehicle is out of warranty. This is because they use the aforementioned OEM parts and typically have fixed pricing schedules.

Independent mechanics, on the other hand, can usually offer the same repairs for less, as they set their own prices and can choose less expensive parts that work as well as their OEM counterparts. They may even be able to be more flexible about payments, offering financing for large repair jobs.

If you’re accustomed to going to your dealership for auto repairs, you will certainly be pleasantly surprised should you need to visit an independent mechanic instead. Once your vehicle warranty is no longer dictating where you get repairs and service done, you may prefer to stick with an independent shop for the future.

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