Should you go to an independent garage or a dealership?

Are you looking for an automobile repair shop but aren’t sure whether you should opt for an independent mechanic or the dealership? Naturally, everyone’s objective is to get high-quality repairs on their vehicles—and to get them at the best price.

However, the field of mechanics is complex, and it can be difficult to know where to turn when problems arise. Here’s some information that might prove useful for steering you in the right direction.

Advantages and disadvantages of having your vehicle serviced at the dealership

Obviously, there are certain advantages to having your car repaired at the same place where you bought it. Your dealership specializes in the model of vehicle you drive. As a result, it’s easy for them to pinpoint the nature of the problem in the event of a breakdown. Furthermore, dealerships are well equipped to diagnose and repair problems related to vehicle electronics. Today’s cars are veritable gems of electronic engineering—a detail that you shouldn’t overlook.

Another key advantage of using the services of a dealership is that the manufacturer is responsible for covering the cost of repairs in the event of a factory recall, and the dealership is responsible for doing those repairs. Consequently, the dealership will already have the necessary parts in inventory, and you won’t have to pay for them!

What about the disadvantages?

There are also disadvantages to using the dealership’s services:

  • The mechanics often work at a hurried pace, which can lead to errors
  • Dealerships generally charge much higher prices for repairs and service than independent automobile repair shops do

Meticulous work and personalized service at an independently owned garage

Finding a good independent auto mechanic services shop can require a little research, as you must evaluate several criteria in order to verify the skill and reliability of the mechanic or mechanics. However, if you’re up to the challenge, it may be well worth the effort.

One of the main factors that distinguish independent automobile repair shops from auto dealerships is the personalized service they offer. Independent mechanics generally enjoy warm, personal relationships with their clients. As a result, they tend to be very familiar with the history of their clients’ vehicles. Furthermore, since the pace is less frantic than it is at a dealership, the work is usually more detailed.

Other advantages of going to an independent automobile repair shop

  • Some mechanics specialize in particular areas, such as transmissions, suspension, brakes, tires, etc.
  • Independently owned garages are often in close contact with the dealerships, which supply them with the parts they need.
  • An auto repair shop is more open to negotiating and more inclined to offer economical solutions to accommodate its clients.

If you choose an auto repair shop, what happens to the warranty?

Many people wonder if going to an independent mechanic for service or repairs on their cars could void the warranty once they go back to the dealership. You’ll be happy to know that, according to Section 151 of the Consumer Protection Act, dealerships do not have the authority to demand that you only go to them to have your vehicle serviced in order for the manufacturer warranty to apply. Therefore, you can have your car serviced wherever you wish, as long as they do the work properly.

Diligence in observing the manufacturer’s service schedule

Properly caring for your vehicle involves sticking to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. It’s important to follow the recommendations that appear in the owner’s manual. In this regard, don’t forget to keep your records up to date and hang on to your invoices. They should always include the date of service, the odometer reading and the relevant details regarding the work performed. For example, they might indicate the type of motor oil or the brand of filter used, just to name a couple of possibilities.

In the event that you need to visit your dealership for any problem, by having this documentation on hand, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you’ve taken adequate care of your vehicle.

How to hunt for a good independent automobile repair shop

To find a reputable mechanic’s shop, it’s advisable to do some preliminary research. For example, you can begin by finding out what training the employees have received, what their specialty is and what equipment they use. Looking for client testimonials and reviews on the internet can also give you a good idea of the mechanic’s reliability.

Here are some other selection criteria to help you identify a good repair shop:

  • Do they hold the required certifications?
  • Do they offer an attractive warranty?
  • Do they display their prices clearly and precisely?
  • Do they offer high-quality customer service?

Choosing a recommended garage

If you want to ensure that you’re doing business with a reliable automobile repair shop, you can look at the garages recommended by the CAA-Quebec. There, you’ll find a vast network of independently owned garages, body shops, specialized repair shops and even dealerships. CAA-Quebec has evaluated all of the listed members in accordance with strict criteria. One of the major advantages of turning to a recommended garage is that the association’s arbitration service will protect you in the event of a dispute.

Entrust your car to a reputable mechanic

Are you looking for a mechanic that’s reliable, experienced and skilled at servicing or repairing automobiles? Trans-Mico Automotive offers a vast selection of vehicle repair, diagnostic and maintenance services to meet your needs.

The on-site team of professionals benefit from state-of-the-art equipment, enabling them to repair your transmission or resolve any general mechanical problem you may have. Contact us to get more information, ask for an estimate or make an appointment at our automobile repair shop in Montreal.


RADIO-CANADA. Êtes-vous obligés de faire l’entretien de votre voiture chez le concessionnaire? [Are you obligated to have your car serviced at the dealership?]
AUTO-MOTO. Concessionnaire ou garage indépendant? [Dealership or independent garage?]
MOTEUR MAG. Entretien véhicule : concessionnaire, centre auto, ou garage indépendant? [Vehicle maintenance: dealership, auto center or independent garage?]