A quality auto technician is your first line of defense against major vehicle breakdowns, and you need to know that the company in charge of the repairs prioritizes your safety. When it comes to finding a place to perform auto maintenance and repairs, you may find yourself wondering what is the difference between a service center and a dealership. Although both places work on cars and trucks, understanding these differences helps you make the right choice for your auto care needs.
Training and Experience
You should always expect that the person who works on your car has achieved certification in the field of auto repair. However, the training and experience technicians receive varies according to their employment history, as well as the company’s standards. Dealerships are known for staffing mechanics that specialize in a specific make of car. While their expertise does have a few benefits, you can also expect higher labor costs to help cover their specialized training. At your local service center, technicians often have similar training and experience that comes with working with a variety of different vehicles, and some technicians start their own shops after gaining experience at a dealer.
Communication and Trust
When you take your car to a dealer, you are typically guided through the process of your auto repair by a service advisor who never actually works on your car. Having a go-between often makes it harder to understand exactly what type of work needs to be done, and some service advisors work on commission, which lowers your level of trust when they recommend a part. Auto service centers encourage direct communication with the technicians who work on your car that allows you to develop a personal relationship so that you always know exactly what your car needs.
Location and Hours
Car maintenance and repair needs often arise with little warning, which means that you may not want to drive to another city just to get the work done. Alternatively, you may not be able to get to the shop until the weekend. Dealers are known for only being open Monday through Friday, and you’ll often find that there are only a few in a large area. Your local service center, however, may offer weekend hours and be right up the road so that you can save time on your repairs.
Part Options and Prices
A dealership is required to offer only Original Equipment (OE) parts that adhere to the manufacturer’s standards for quality. Service centers are able to offer aftermarket parts that meet similar quality standards, yet these parts are usually less expensive compared to OE parts. Although some car enthusiasts or owners of specialty makes may need OE parts, you may prefer the cost savings offered by using aftermarket partson your car.
Once you understand the difference between a service center and a dealership, it becomes much easier to make the right choice for your car repairs. As you schedule your first repair, keep in mind that consistency allows you to develop the personal relationship that helps you get the most out of every auto service.