Dealer or Independent Shop?

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The conventional wisdom that I've always heard is that taking your car to the dealer for repair work will cost lots more than an independent shop. My thoughts recently are, that because of the computerized
technology used in cars today, you may come off cheaper and get a better repair job by taking it to the dealer. Am I right about this or am I just setting myself up to pay lots more than necessary? Would appreciate your thoughts on this as I"m getting ready to have my Tempo towed into a shop .
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Donnie Shortpants wrote:

90% of the time avoid the dealer. They are great if something special comes up (computers, recalls, waranty stuff, expert on special cars like diesels, rotaries, etc) For everything else: oil changes, body work, radios,tires rotation, most engine or trans work the other guys will do.
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That is not necessarily the case today. Most large dealerships have quick lub, tire mounting services etc. that can easily compete with the independent shops in price and they have better trained people doing the work.
mike hunt
Tiger wrote:

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This is true of some dealers. Other dealers offer lousy service.
Buyer beware, whether going to a dealer or private mechanic.
Jeff

better
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Donnie Shortpants wrote:

I let the dealer do the diagnosis, and I'll give them the first shot at an estimate on the repair. For any repair that makes my checkbook feel pain (more than a couple hundred bucks), I put the repair out for bids. I've found that usually they're not too much higher for labor than a chain shop, but their parts are more expensive. Their parts are also higher quality. Once the problem has been diagnosed, don't be afraid to call around and get a line by line comparison.
I also let the dealer do all of the regular maint items. That way I have someone with real training and/or experience checking in on my car every 5k miles.
I would rather have a dealer technician do the work, but if having them do the work isn't "value added", I'll let someone else do it. You have to evaluate each job.
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Not always.

You mean the minimum wage worker who does the actual work?

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On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 11:35:47 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Donnie Shortpants) wrote:

Here in Flint, MI, the best known indy repair shop get $100.00 per hour for labor! Plus, they'd rather not work on Ford products (this is a GM town). The local Ford dealer gets $74.00 per hour for labor. In addition, they have the best service department I've ever been in. When I still had my 93 T-Bird, they showed me sone front suspension work that needed doing & told me I could do it myself a lot cheaper than they could. Can't beat that with a stick.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Professional Shop Rat: 14,267 days in a GM plant. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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1. Any shop, dealer or independent, can be good or bad, honest or dishonest. Find one you trust 2. The dealership technicians work on Fords all day, every day. They have access to a network of information from Ford Motor Company and other Ford technicians. The independents work on whatever comes through the door. Who is better equipped to work on your Ford? 3. When the really tough problems occur, where does everyone go? The dealer. Now why is that?
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Agree 100%. Develop a relationship and stick to it.

Odds are that they don't work on ten year old Fords all day, every day. Odds are that they have long forgotten what the typical problems are on a Tempo because they haven't seen many since they went out of warranty seven years ago. Odds are that the technician working on the OPs vehicle was still in grade school when the OPs vehicle was built and has recieved little if any training on it.

Independents have access to the same thing.

Yup. Who would want a one trick pony?

The shop with the best equipment, which isn't always necessarily the dealership. Typically, the dealership is only going to have what the OEM rams down their throat which often excludes better, more sophisticated test and diagnostic methods.

And many times the vehicle leaves un diagnosed and un fixed, as evidenced by a phone call I had just 20 minutes ago from my neighbors daughter-in-law regarding a problem with a 2003 Ranger which has so far had 9 visits to two separate Ford dealerships for a clicking noise in the front end and 14 visits to the selling dealership for a leaking factory tonneau cover, The selling dealership is no longer returning their phone calls when queried about factory technical assistance on both problems and since CSI will not matter one iota to the second dealership, there is no incentive to resolve the problem. Both dealership service departments are staffed 90% by pimple faced ASSEP students who couldn't find their asses with a road map -because- all the seasoned technicians long ago quit in disgust over ridiculous warranty labor policys.

Blind desperation.
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wrote:

dishonest.
Not every day, but at one time they did.

Not likely.

Ford
Not the same thing. You don't know what you are talking about. AllData is not exactly what Ford publishes to dealerships.

I'll take the guy that works on nothing but my vehicle. If I could find a guy that only worked on Rangers, I'd go to him all the time.

Wrong again. A good dealer will have what Ford provides and what their technicians want.

dealer.
Good dealers and bad dealers. Maybe you got two bad one's. No such thing as a factory tonneau cover. I don't care if the dealer installed it, it's aftermarket.

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So, your above statement was made before you considered the vehicle in question, but my point remains.

Very likely.

Look, just because you are not -familiar- with what is available hardly means that it doesn't exist. Since I don't have AllData, I'll reserve comment on their product, but since I do have Mitchell On Demand, I will point out that virtually all information as provided is re-printed Ford-GM-Chrysler-Etc. service manual text, complete with copyright permissions. I'd also point out that service publications from the OEMs almost always come from an outside vendor, so errors DO occur regardless of which address it is shipped from.

Well, foolish as that might be, it's a free country. Then again, your above statement merely proves that you are on the consumer side of the discussion and are in no position to refute the 33 years of trade experience that I have.

No, not really.

What an absurd statement, first of all, good or bad dealer, Ford ships them all the same essential service equipment, second, Ford doesn't "provide" a damn thing, Ford buys it from the same company I and any other mechanic buy equipment from, they slap a Rotunda sticker on it, jack the price up and sell it at a profit. <sheesh>

Hang on...... I'm laughing so hard, I gotta piss.

Well, that pretty much blows the assurances that the dealership is the best place to go, doesn't it?

Really? Care to explain the fact that it was an "as ordered" option when the neighbors daughter and son-in-law and myself sat down and speced the vehicle at the sales droids desk, the fact that it has a big Ford oval moulded in it, and the fact that it was on the truck when it was rolled off the transporter at the dealership. What, you think that transporter made a stop somewhere to get a tonneau cover fitted?

Care however you like, it's a blow molded piece of shit from the factory.
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Neil, you and I have had different experiences, I've had 15 years of experience in the field. The original poster asked for an opinion, and I gave mine. If you want to give your yours, go right ahead. If you want a pissing contest, go somewhere else.
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"Go somewhere else?"
When the fuck did you assume ownership of this newsgroup?
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wrote:

I meant go debate with someone else, not go to another newsgroup. We could debate the pros and cons of indys and dealers all day, and still not agree, so what would be the point? Now why would you assume I intended the worst thing? Do you really need the language? You seem very upset. Are you like this every time some one disagrees with your opinion?
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It's real simple, don't reply to my posts then. If you don't want to be engaged in this forum, don't engage, much more graceful than telling someone to not talk to you.

"Debate?" You can't debate me on this subject.

Because if my posts irritate you, all you need to do is refrain from responding, and that action in and of itself does not require an announcement.

Are you a Baptist minister or merely clueless to the world?

Because I said "fuck?" <rolls eyes>

No, not when that person actually knows what they're talking about which is something that you've readily demonstrated that you don't.
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I've got to ask one question;
Back in July, in the newsgroup alt.hvac you made one claim that you weren't a mechanic, then in another post in the same thread, you claimed that you'd been a mechanic for ten years.
In the imortal words...
"Wus sup wid dat?"
Curious minds and bull-shit spotters want to know. 8^)
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wrote:

The 10 years was a typo, and I have left the industry (in 1998). I too, did some research. You have offered a lot of good advice to people in the past, but do seem a bit quick tempered, then again, I know a typed message can be misinterpreted. If I offended you, I apologize, but I make a habit of not arguing opinions. Hopefully, you have formed yours from valuable experience, and I would not expect you to change it because it differs from mine.
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wrote:

As with everything, buyer beware. You can't generalize about an entire industry.

Not Ford. When my Mercury Sable was having transmission problems, I took it to the dealership where I bought the car. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with it and I ended up blowing through four transmissions in about 3 months. So much for their 'network of information'. I finally told Ford what to go do with themselves, took it to a local tranny shop. They jumped online, found out how to solve the problem and fixed it right the first time at less than 1/2 of what Ford was charging.

I don't. I've learned my lesson, the dealer isn't any better than the indie guy and the indie guy charges less.
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Did you have to pay for the 4 transmissions or just one of them?

dealer.
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I didn't pay Ford for any of them, they couldn't fix the problem and they admitted it. I only paid for the one tranny that the indie shop put in.
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