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metal beat

Dealer or Private Mechanic for Modern Cars

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Given the level of technology, computerisation, turbo charging etc in most modern cars,  is it worth not taking your car to the dealer and taking it to private mechanics for servicing etc given the complexity of cars these days?

 

   The dealer has all the computerised diagnostic tools for modern cars, whereas the private mechanics have ??

 

  Interested in peoples experiences and thoughts. 

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A common complaint from private mechanics is a lack of access to the full set of codes and diagnostic software from car manufacturers.

 

Most decent mechanics have full computer diagnostics tools available or will buy in a specialist with the tools for particular problems.

 

The problem is that during warranty periods, dealers have the upper hand and often offer incentives to owners to use their services. Unfortunately, many are not incentivised to find faults and repair them by the manufacturer who offer slim margins on the work.

 

Out of warranty, a private mechanic or brand specialist will often provide excellent service at better prices than dealer service centres who will suddenly find a lot of problems to fix.

Edited by Telecine

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Out of warranty, I do it myself.

I used to use private guys because they would do it on Saturdays or when convenient to me.

Since I moved and my other blokes have retired, I use the dealer...................................they are hopeless.

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4 hours ago, Telecine said:

A common complaint from private mechanics is a lack of access to the full set of codes and diagnostic software from car manufacturers.

 

Most decent mechanics have full computer diagnostics tools available or will buy in a specialist with the tools for particular problems.

 

The problem is that during warranty periods, dealers have the upper hand and often offer incentives to owners to use their services. Unfortunately, many are not incentivised to find faults and repair them by the manufacturer who offer slim margins on the work.

 

Out of warranty, a private mechanic or brand specialist will often provide excellent service at better prices than dealer service centres who will suddenly find a lot of problems to fix.

+1 on this, 

 

the other issue with private mechanics is that they do not use factory issued parts..  my dad had his car serviced by a  private mechanic and when my brother got hold of it he pointed out what was used and it wasn’t good...

Another experience was when my son took his skyline to a private auto transmission specialist who  used the wrong or what they believe was the equivalent auto transmission oil only to have blown the autotransmission up not once but 3 times until I told him to buy the the original oil that was over $300 to top up from a Nissan dealership and that stopped the transmission from damaging itself on the 3rd replacement...

 

On a brand new vehicle I think it’s unwise to use a private mechanic where scheduled service are a must for warranty to apply...  if they say service that vehicle 12mths or 10,000km which ever comes 1st then do that to ensure the warranty valid.

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depends on car and what car maker offers. eg with bmw, i had 5 years sercvicing thrown in the deal when buying the car. hasn't cost me a cent so far...why on earth would I look at a 3rd party service agent ? similarly i ended up extending the servicing for another 5 years at only $160 a year a no brainer... again why would i consider looking any 3rd party when servicing at dealer is so cheap ? 

 

if there are any out of ordinary items though i'll certainly look at an independent for another opinion. eg with bmw there is southern bmw and many others completely independant and do full deal with all the correct parts, and all facilities and trained mechanics and such ....

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To clarify, the question is more when your car is out of factory warranty. 

 

  

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3 hours ago, betty boop said:

depends on car and what car maker offers. eg with bmw, i had 5 years sercvicing thrown in the deal when buying the car. hasn't cost me a cent so far...why on earth would I look at a 3rd party service agent ? similarly i ended up extending the servicing for another 5 years at only $160 a year a no brainer... again why would i consider looking any 3rd party when servicing at dealer is so cheap ? 

 

if there are any out of ordinary items though i'll certainly look at an independent for another opinion. eg with bmw there is southern bmw and many others completely independant and do full deal with all the correct parts, and all facilities and trained mechanics and such ....

 

Yes, but according to VW, my van is now 6 years old, even though I've only had it for 13 months.

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10 hours ago, metal beat said:

To clarify, the question is more when your car is out of factory warranty. 

 

  

I’d still go back to a dealership,  no questions asked!  As per my previous post.   The boss has a Camry that’s 2003.   The 135k service cost $320 that included new spark plugs and engine oil and associated filters... this was last week.  It’s now booked in to have arm bushes replaced, a transmission fluid flush and a few other items replace next week for $570 which we will do as we are keeping the car.   

For better or worst I’d rather use genuine Factory issued parts than someone down the road offering a cheaper alternative where parts are questionable... it’s your vehicle and you are responsible for that vehicle in getting you safely from point A-B...    I’d hate to hand over a vehicle to my daughter known that it has the possibility of leaving her stranded.

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am certainly planning on sticking with the dealership out of warranty ...at $160 a year already paid up nothing more for next 8.5 years why the heck wouldnt I ? 

 

38 minutes ago, Addicted to music said:

I’d still go back to a dealership,  no questions asked!  As per my previous post.   The boss has a Camry that’s 2003.   The 135k service cost $320 that included new spark plugs and engine oil and associated filters... this was last week.  It’s now booked in to have arm bushes replaced, a transmission fluid flush and a few other items replace next week for $570 which we will do as we are keeping the car.   

For better or worst I’d rather use genuine Factory issued parts than someone down the road offering a cheaper alternative where parts are questionable... it’s your vehicle and you are responsible for that vehicle in getting you safely from point A-B...    I’d hate to hand over a vehicle to my daughter known that it has the possibility of leaving her stranded.

a car well maintained is devil you know... buying 2nd hand without a clue whether thing has been very used and abused can be a real gamble... ive seen 2nd hand dealer cars with whole book stamped by some little garage... all look like been stamped and signed yesterday :D leaves no confidence....

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Like many things I think the answer is “ it depends”.

 

My 1995 Peugeot 306 was serviced at the dealers until they lied to avoid a tricky repair and I moved to an independent Inner city brand specialist for the next 14 years. The replacement 308 went back to my old mechanic once out of warranty but he did not have full access to the cars computer.  So basically my luck going forward was a big unknown.

 

Moving into 2020 with a new Tesla I can still get suspension, brakes and other similar mechanicals done by any specialist in those areas.  It still has some fluids that will eventually need replacement but its 90% via a ranger service or remote diagnostics, like your home laptop or business PC.  

 

I am happier with the current arrangement than where I was with the Peugeot 308, mostly due to drastically reduced scheduled maintenance. This would not be the case with a hybrid where you would be more and not less tied to a dealer.

 

 Time will tell if a pure EV is actually better.  Happy to be the guinea pig.

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I've used both dealers and independents. The independents have always been specialists in that particular brand or even the specific models (Mazda rotaries).

 

Some dealers are great, some are useless. Ask around, and then use your own experience as a guide.

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The problem with some of the big dealers is the KPI.

A friend of mine was a mechanic for a big dealer in Perth.

To reach work shop targets short cuts where taken all the time.

Spark plugs where not replaced but charged to the customer, on 4WD fresh greas was smeared on the hob cover to make it look like the bearings were greased on so on. My mate only lasted a year and he left for an intependend workshop where it was incurraged to do the work properly.

Vehicle warranty has to be honered whether the service is carried out by a dealer or an independent workshop, that is the law in Australia.

At the end of the day, use who you trust.

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Quote

To clarify, the question is more when your car is out of factory warranty. 

 

If it's out of warranty get a good obd2 scanner e.g https://www.mycarly.com/product/obd/ specific to your car type and look after it yourself, it will give you access to all error codes specific to your brand/vehicle

 

Also depends on the car type, there's a ton of information out there for some cars, some are easier to work on than others - as long as it's not core engine or transmission work i would go for it. 

 

Does depend somewhat on the car and how much research/time you are willing to invest.. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ihearmusic said:

The problem with some of the big dealers is the KPI.

A friend of mine was a mechanic for a big dealer in Perth.

To reach work shop targets short cuts where taken all the time.

Spark plugs where not replaced but charged to the customer, on 4WD fresh greas was smeared on the hob cover to make it look like the bearings were greased on so on. My mate only lasted a year and he left for an intependend workshop where it was incurraged to do the work properly.

Vehicle warranty has to be honered whether the service is carried out by a dealer or an independent workshop, that is the law in Australia.

At the end of the day, use who you trust.

 

Yes, but only dealers can do warranty work.

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4 hours ago, Ihearmusic said:

The problem with some of the big dealers is the KPI.

 

That’s everywhere you go even I’m subjected to KPI, it’s all BS so some bean counter can justified the headcount vs quantity of vehicles/day.

 

4 hours ago, Ihearmusic said:

.

A friend of mine was a mechanic for a big dealer in Perth.

To reach work shop targets short cuts where taken all the time.

Spark plugs where not replaced but charged to the customer, on 4WD fresh greas was smeared on the hob cover to make it look like the bearings were greased on so on. My mate only lasted a year and he left for an intependend workshop where it was incurraged to do the work properly.

.

That’s deceptive and unlawful on every level,  when vehicles or any product  are well maintained there are less likely to fail.  That’s a proven fact in every industry even with the  the industry I’m in.  Glad your friend left and moved on to somewhere decent and honest.

4 hours ago, Ihearmusic said:

.

Vehicle warranty has to be honered whether the service is carried out by a dealer or an independent workshop, that is the law in Australia.

 

Where they get away with this is the fine print...

 

the fine print also covers vehicles that are used on a commercial basis where the warranty is reduced compared to a vehicle that’s privately owned.   Check the fine print not just one but on all manufacturers websites; there are terms and conditions, and the condition for a warranty claim saids that the vehicle must be maintained to a log book standard via an authorised dealership.   To save you the hassle some manufacturers are offering free service for 3-5 yrs or limited or unlimited kms travelled, why would you go to a independent?   And even if you had to pay, the 1st five years for a log book service such as for a RAV4 Hybrid is $210....  Not a hard decision to make when it’s that price...  but that’s excluding the hybrid battery check.  

 

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17 hours ago, LogicprObe said:

 

Yes, but according to VW, my van is now 6 years old, even though I've only had it for 13 months.

Have you clocked too many kms?

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8 hours ago, GregWormald said:

I've used both dealers and independents. The independents have always been specialists in that particular brand or even the specific models (Mazda rotaries).

 

Some dealers are great, some are useless. Ask around, and then use your own experience as a guide.

Quite so. There are privates and then there are privates. We have our Subarus serviced strictly by the book by a private business that is very well equipped and has turned out to be more knowledgeable than a Subaru dealer I once used. The servicing costs are substantially less than quoted by Subaru and only premium consumables and genuine parts are used. Such can be life. I suggest that if in doubt use a dealer. Peace of mind is important. In years gone by, when I decided to no longer do all the servicing myself, I tried a couple of independents that were very ordinary.

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120k coming up next month.

Like, they change the cabin filter every 3 months!

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My 5 year warranty on my VW GTI has now run out.    Unless I can find a private mechanic that specialises in VW locally, I will stick with the dealer - despite the slightly higher costs.

  

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When I bought my Mazda second hand (85k on the clock), the dealer offered a 5 year additional warranty if they serviced it. 

Even if it might cost a little more, their service (and servicing) has been fabulous, and I get a peace of mind.

 

 

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2 hours ago, metal beat said:

My 5 year warranty on my VW GTI has now run out.    Unless I can find a private mechanic that specialises in VW locally, I will stick with the dealer - despite the slightly higher costs.

  

 

You can still get a fixed price service from them.

They aren't much more expensive when you consider the price of the fluids that they change.

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8 minutes ago, ArthurDent said:

Dealer, although I once owned an Astra so needed to get to know a very good auto electrician.

 

Only ever had a problem with the key on mine.

Although, the dealer (Suttons) left the cap/stick for the windscreen washers floating around the engine bay which eventually found its way to the V belt creating panic on the road!

This is par for the course with dealers.

Southern VW neglected to replace the oil cap which probably ended up on the Southern Motorway on the way to Sydney.

Since I only check my oil once a week (I failed to check it straight after a service though) I didn't discover it and the splatter for over a week later.

Not only that, the oil filter was installed incorrectly and was leaking.

There are more stories but I hate typing..................

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6 hours ago, LogicprObe said:

 

Only ever had a problem with the key on mine.

Although, the dealer (Suttons) left the cap/stick for the windscreen washers floating around the engine bay which eventually found its way to the V belt creating panic on the road!

This is par for the course with dealers.

Southern VW neglected to replace the oil cap which probably ended up on the Southern Motorway on the way to Sydney.

Since I only check my oil once a week (I failed to check it straight after a service though) I didn't discover it and the splatter for over a week later.

Not only that, the oil filter was installed incorrectly and was leaking.

There are more stories but I hate typing..................

That’s very common LP,  good point to,  when you collect your vehicle after a service make sure you popped the bonnet and look for missing caps,  check oil levels on the spot and when you get home,,    A client of mine booked her Kia in for a service, drove out of the dealership to go home and the engine oil light came on, bu the time she stopped the engined had stalled and ceased.....  they took weeks to try and fix it, in the end they gave her a great trade in for a new Sedan and she was over the moon.  But some in this situation may not have the luxury to trade it in! 

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9 hours ago, Addicted to music said:

That’s very common LP,  good point to,  when you collect your vehicle after a service make sure you popped the bonnet and look for missing caps,  check oil levels on the spot and when you get home,,    A client of mine booked her Kia in for a service, drove out of the dealership to go home and the engine oil light came on, bu the time she stopped the engined had stalled and ceased.....  they took weeks to try and fix it, in the end they gave her a great trade in for a new Sedan and she was over the moon.  But some in this situation may not have the luxury to trade it in! 

 

I like how they 'tried' to fix it when a replacement engine is the only solution.

You shouldn't have to check the work of a 'qualified' mechanic...........I mean..........technician.

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