My experience is that it all depends on the repair. Replace a battery or a
serpentine belt and the dealer with soak you almost double what an indy
will. However, if it is a serious repair such as diagnosing a failure in the
airbag system or an electrical short, the dealer may be the better deal. For
AC repair, a good indy will, in my experience, beat the dealer by as much as
$300 every time. I've experienced this three times over the last 8 years. My
94 Aerostar, my 94 Ranger and a 98 Sable all developed AC problems after
warranty. In each case, the dealer wanted more than $300 more to replace the
compressor and recharge the system. My local Pep Boys did the work for less
and I had no problems for the remaining years I owned the vehicles. This was
my experience any way. However, on transmissions and cooling system repairs,
the dealer was cheaper. So, what does this all mean? Beats the hell out of
I have no idea what you intent is with this information, but....
a) in most places the shop is required to post their rates in plain
view. Generally, I have seen higher rates at dealer shops.
b) I have been to both dealer shops and independents and
1) there are dealer shops and independents who I would NEVER go
back to, but, for the most part, the independents head this list
2) it can depend on whether you are having a single item fixed, or
several items. One thing I have always objected to is the practice of
doing a couple of jobs at the same time (like draining the oil and
changing a light bulb) and being charged for 1 hour each (example)
when the mechanic had to wait for the oil to drain anyway. So bing
bang boom I already owe for 2 hours labor and it only took an hour to
3) if you bought your car from the dealer who does the work, you
are more apt to be treated fairly because they want you back the next
time you buy a car. If you just walk in to some other shop you are not
as important to them because everyone needs works sometime where not
everyone needs to buy a new vehicle.
4) depending on the independent shop, quite often the dealer shop
has the specialized tools to do certain kinds of repairs. I've had
independent shops use whatever is handy, and ended up having to get
other parts repaired that they damaged.
5) I avoid volume shops (Pep Boys, and NAPA kinds) for anything but
the most basic repairs. I avoid shops which claim to specialize (ie
those SMOG repair only type shops).
6) It makes a big difference whether you are male or female, and it
makes a big difference whether you appear to know what you need. If
you go in and say... 'it's making a weird sound under the hood' as
opposed to "I need the rockers on the left bank checked for a loose
retainer' they are less apt to say, 'hey, your universal joints need
to be replaced NOW or you're going to drop your drive shaft within the
next 100 miles'.
7) many dealer shops are quick to get their people certified on new
systems because they have the funding to cover the extra training,
where many independents are short on cash and can't spare the time
required for a mechanic to be gone for a week or whatever. Often, as
in other professions, the mechanic must pay for his/her own additional
training, and lose income while obtaining it, which they are less
likely to do.
All, in all.... there are too many variables to nail a dealer shop for
higher prices. You get what you pay for.... If you just want a good
shop, ask people you know where they go. If their car runs like
crap... don't go there!
On Sat, 26 Feb 2005 23:57:37 -0800, email@example.com (Donnie
Hey! Spikey Likes IT!
1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok
Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior
Vintage 40 Wheels 16X8"
w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A Radial 225/50ZR16
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