Getting Your Car Serviced at a Main Dealer
It would be an easy mistake to make to think that getting your car serviced at a smaller, cheaper garage would be a sensible idea that would automatically save you money. However this is sometimes far from the truth. In this article we explain how tough competition has forced dealerships to make themselves more appealing and more competitive.
The classic image of the car dealership is a shiny place full of shiny things where vast amounts of money pass hands. This is true – to an extent. New and used cars are bought and sold every day in car dealerships across the country. But once these cars come out of their warranty period many drivers stop taking them for service at the dealership and instead choose to visit a smaller garage with a lower labour rate in order to save money.
In some cases it took a while, but many main dealers cottoned on to this and eventually started making tracks to win their customers back. Selling the car makes the dealerships a one off profit, but the longevity is in the regular service and maintenance of the vehicle, as well as maintaining a good relationship with their customer in the hope they return to buy their next car too.
So what has changed? Well not the labour rate. Main dealership labour rates are still generally more than your average ‘back street’ garage. Sadly many drivers only look at this factor and nothing else, convincing themselves they are getting a better deal from ‘Sammy’s Autos’ down the road.
But, Mr Driver, have you checked Sammy’s qualifications recently? When’s the last time he went on a course to keep up to date with the latest technology which governs your car? Is it likely that for AÃ¯Â¿Â½25 per hour Sammy can afford to buy the latest computer equipment designed and engineering specifically to diagnose your vehicle’s fault? And what if the part Sammy fits fails in 23 months time? Do you think he will replace it for free?
Now, I don’t mean to have a go at Sammy here. There are many, many fine and genuine mechanics around. But the simple fact is that manufacturers are producing such highly engineered vehicles these days, run to maximum efficiency by computers and chips, that the Sammys of the world can rarely afford the equipment necessary to take care of your car to the fullest extent. Mechanically, they can deal with many elements of the car, but the electronics require certain equipment which is produced at a very high price many mechanics cannot afford.
To further entice the customer back many main dealers offer a service above and beyond that of a smaller garage. Take a look at this list of extras available from a local Volkswagen chain on the South Coast:
Lifts to and from home
Free collection and delivery services
24 month part warranty
12 month labour warranty
Price match promise within 5 miles
Service plans to break down costs into monthly payments
Free MOT for the life of your service plan
Free exterior bulb and wiper blade fitment
Free visual health checks
Free car wash and vacuum
Can your local non franchise garage offer all, or even half of this?
If you have a much older car dealerships are probably not for you. If the franchise no longer stocks parts then they are not always the best bet for you, especially if your local independent garage has a knowledge of cars of that era. If you have a classic car you may be best off finding an expert, or a local garage who have experience of dealing with your specific car. Much has changed and it’s always best to find someone in the know.
But if your car is of servicable age through a main dealer you may well find the many benefits of allowing them to service your car vastly outweighs the slightly higher labour rate. If you can find a garage like the one near me, they’ll even price match the local garage you were considering.