It’s a common question when it comes time for car repairs: do you take your Nissan to the dealership or to an independent mechanic like New Way Auto Repair? If taking your vehicle to an independent shop will void your warranty, you may be stuck with the dealer. Otherwise, there are two areas where independent automotive repair services have a distinct advantage. Here’s why you should choose auto repair and service with an independent Nissan mechanic instead of the dealership.
If your budget is tight, you’re going to do better with an independent mechanic every time. Dealerships have extra overhead costs to cover support personnel, highly paid technicians, and larger facilities. Dealership technicians can make up to $50,000 a year, and these costs lead to a higher price for customers. An independent shop doesn’t need these bells and whistles and can pass the savings on to their customers. They also offer less expensive parts (used, generic, refurbished, or rebuilt) while the dealer uses only expensive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. Parts used by independent mechanics are usually just as good or better quality than OEM parts.
Because independent shops are not required to follow manufacturer repair guidelines, their mechanics can get more creative. Independent mechanics often save on labor hours by using fewer steps. They’re also more likely to discuss which repairs are necessary and which can wait, unlike your dealer who will expect to fix everything. While fixing everything that’s wrong is good in theory, if you have an older vehicle that you’d like to keep on the road without spending a fortune, it’s important to know what must be fixed and what can be delayed.
If you want first-hand information from your mechanic about what needs to be fixed and how it will be done, independent automotive repair services are your best bet. Dealerships will pass you off to a service advisor who may know a lot about Nissans, but they’re not a technician. Instead, they are more of a salesperson or administrator. Your vehicle will disappear into a large service bay to be worked on before coming back to you hours later. While it will be fixed, you may never know who the mechanic was or if they’ll work on it again next time.
An independent shop, on the other hand, lets you speak directly to the mechanic. If you ask, they may even give you their analysis while you peek under the hood with them. You’ll learn more about your Nissan and develop a relationship with the person who repairs it. If you’re mechanically inclined and the independent mechanic notices a simple job that needs to be completed soon, you may even be able to tackle it yourself.
Independent auto repair and service mechanics are more likely to put their best foot forward with customer service from the moment you enter the shop because they know you can take your business somewhere else if you’re not pleased. Dealerships are less motivated to strive for the best because they know their customers under warranty must come back.
While deciding between the dealership or an independent shop is a personal choice, you’re more likely to find the cheapest possible fix, personalized service, and a good working relationship with your independent mechanic. No matter which choice you make, be sure to ask for recommendations, shop around for the best deal and don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better one.