Although I have the privilege of driving many and various cars I still enjoy my own wheels and ensure that my vehicle is always in tip-top working order and, crucially, clean and waxed. This is how it should be. I bought the car new from a main dealership that was poor from the off. Rightly, it no longer exists. Nevertheless, for the first three warranty years, I dutifully took my car along for its annual service at the garage for which I was billed at main dealer prices. I know I could have had it maintained elsewhere but I was idle and could not be bothered to do my research.
Is That Work Really Necessary?
As can be imagined, my car has a very low mileage and, although I was billed by the garage for the correct service interval, I wondered if all the work was actually necessary. In fact, it occurred to me to wonder if it had been done at all but of course other things take precedence and I never got around to checking it.
This is what we do. We are complacent. We let things slide because it’s just easier that way.
If you do some local research and really put a bit of time into it, your local independent garage will rise to the top like the cream in a bottle of milk. When properly investigated I found the majority of local motorists reported a higher level of satisfaction when visiting their independent garage compared to the main dealer for their brand. Although the internet is a valuable tool, most areas have local free magazines and the like. I found my short list of two independents in the small ads. If they are willing to fork out for paper ads….
This Is What I Found
Whenever my car required dealer service I usually had to make my own way home or be ripped off for a ‘courtesy’ car. When my brakes needed fettling, my chosen independent garage, by prior arrangement, left his car at my gaff and took mine away. He brought it back that evening and I was able to pay him by card in the comfort of my own home. The job had been done to my entire satisfaction. It doesn’t get better than that and crucially –
It was half the price I expected to pay.
The Time Factor
An independent garage will often have more time to work on your car. Main dealers, with their intense throughput of warranty vehicles often have to spread their trained mechanics thin, like rationed butter on wartime bread. Plus, instead of dealing with some harassed receptionist with a grumbling queue, the independent garage proprietor knows the real meaning of customer service, not some trite ‘how are you today’ BS out of a training manual.
It Always Comes Down To Money In The End
Probably the biggest reason for using an independent garage is of course the final reckoning. That tally of financial doom. Everyone wants to be sure they are getting the best deal when it comes to their car and, using my garage as an example, the best indicator is that they only do the work that needs doing.
The last time my motor was at the main dealers I was told that new front discs were needed (£260 was the quote I believe). Fortunately I know better. It was simply a ploy to extract more cash and that signed their death-knell. With a good local independent of repute that won’t happen. It just isn’t worth their while.
If you can’t do it yourself then there’s sure to be a local bloke who can do it for you. Geoff Maxted