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  • Independent Garage or Franchised Dealership?
  • 24 January 2017
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    Independent Garage or Franchised Dealership?

    So you think something has gone wrong with your car, it’s making a strange noise or there’s a dread...
So you think something has gone wrong with your car, it’s making a strange noise or there’s a dreaded warning light showing on the dashboard. You want an expert to take a look and get it checked out before the situation worsens. You’d consider visiting your nearest local mechanic/garage or dealership but who would offer you the best value for money? Independent garage or franchised dealership? According to the Guardian “each year millions of motorists – particularly those whose cars are more than three years old and out of warranty – shun their local main dealers, assuming they will pay a lot less by getting the work done elsewhere. However, a study of quotes provided by more than 5,000 garages suggests that for certain jobs, particularly routine servicing, your main dealer may be just as competitive as the small local garage.”

Independent pros and cons

CaptureSmaller businesses may be cheaper as they have fewer costs to cover than larger businesses. CaptureIndependents may offer a more personalised service, usually relying on word of mouth to grow its customer base. You can often speak directly to the mechanic working on your car. CaptureLower costs can sometimes result from using non-genuine parts and cheaper labour, which can end up causing more damage than it’s worth. CaptureMost local garages cannot perform warranty work at all – because they are not authorised to provide repairs by the manufacturer. CaptureThey also do not have the same access to service information and manufacturer-specific technical support as franchise dealerships do, they may not even have access to your vehicle history records.

Dealership pros and cons

Greater security and reassurance that your warranty will be preserved, A franchise can guarantee this, which goes a long way to protecting your car’s value. CaptureFranchises will have manufacturer’s genuine parts and components. Capture Dealerships have access to the most up-to-date diagnostic and monitoring equipment, which independents are less likely to have in their workshop. CaptureSince you are paying for genuine parts and equipment, work to be carried out by manufacturer certified technicians, prices may be higher than an independent. CaptureAccording to an analysis by, main dealer’s prices aren’t as high as you’d expect in comparison to an independent. yukhjkCaptureWhen buying a pre-owned car, a franchise dealership will provide a warranty certificate and evidence. If you are looking at financing options for the vehicle, main dealerships will usually offer a lower interest rate due to their closer relationship with the manufacturer. Capture According to an analysis by, franchised dealerships offer faster response rate than independents. fffCaptureDealers have access to registered information on new vehicles they sell and service. This means that no one else can access this information, which is often necessary for diagnosis and repair. CaptureDealership service departments mainly work on the makes and models that they sell. Since they are very familiar with the particular car line, they can usually spot the problem a lot faster and more accurately. CaptureBecause of their direct link with the manufacturer, dealers can also provide extra benefits while servicing your car, at no additional cost. CaptureEasier to sell your car and can even boost its value or at least ensure you get the full asking price, helping the servicing almost pay for itself. Dealerships offer longer nationwide warranties and buyers are reassured the car has been maintained to the highest standards with official replacement parts and that you’re a careful owner who hasn’t cut corners.

Overall Verdict

We can see that independent garages have the upper hand on lower costs and customer service, whilst franchise dealerships can give you greater peace of mind overall. Next time your car needs a service don’t automatically assume that your trusted independent garage or local “fast-fit” outlet is the cheapest option. Often the main dealer can offer better value and better peace of mind. Sources:
The Car Expert
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