When people buy car under warranty they get into the habit of bringing their car to the dealership for service. It a pleasant experience as everything is covered under warranty and there isn’t any real out of pocket expense except for your time. Once the warranty period runs out and the car goes to dealership for service the owners get shocked when they realize the dealer is really expensive. Then the dealership will tell them that whatever is wrong with the car has to be repaired urgently. Some people that don’t have any mechanical knowledge then get pressured into authorizing the repairs. Others will refuse the service and will bring their car to an independent mechanic shop like Tolima’s Auto Center for a second opinion.
Dealership Scare Tactics
Tolima’s Auto Center has had many customers come into our shop telling us that a dealership told them they needed repairs done urgently. We take a look at their car and see that the problems were greatly exaggerated. Recently we had a customer tell us the dealership said she needed rear brakes on her Honda, because they were metal to metal and making noise. We checked, and she had plenty of brake pad left and the rotors were good too. The reason they were making noise was because there was no lubricant between her brake pad and brake shims. We lubricated them and the noise went away. The dealership was quoting her hundreds of dollars for brakes when all they needed was a little brake grease.
It is also common to hear from first time customers that the dealership told them they have severe leaks. The leak is so bad that they could get stranded. Then we then put the car up on the lift and inspect it. All we find is a little seepage from the oil pan or valve covers which is common as cars get older. We show it to them and tell them it is nothing to worry about. Keep an eye on it and if it gets worse then it would be time to have the leak fixed.
The dealership is motivated to get you to buy or lease a new car. If they can scare you into thinking your out of warranty car is unreliable then you might trade it in and get a new car. The dealership will profit twice from this transaction. They will sell you a new car and then take your current car, fix it up, and resell it. Dealership mechanics get paid on a flat rate system. That means that they don’t get paid a normal salary. They get paid a percentage of what the dealership charges their customers for each repair they perform. That gives dealership mechanics incentives to find problems in cars that don’t need repairs.
On the other hand reputable independent repair shops are motivated by return customers. We depend on building relationships with our customers so they come to us when they need auto repair, auto body work, or maintenance. Relationship building is highly dependent on trust. If we see something that needs immediate attention we show our customers the problem and explain why it needs repair. Also if we find a small issue that is okay for now, but will need attention in the future we let our customers know so they avoid surprises. A good independent mechanic shop’s business model revolves around fixing cars so our motivation revolves around satisfied customers who will return to do more business with us in the future. Unlike dealerships whose main motivation is to sell you a newer car.
How to find a good Independent shop?
The internet is a very powerful tool to help you find reputable mechanic shops. That is why at Tolima’s Auto, we are prompt to respond to any criticism we may get from review sites such as Yelp. And we are very appreciative when a customer takes the time to leave a great review. That is also why on our main webpage we are proud to show that we are highly rated by our customers. There are also plenty of shady repair shops out there, but a quick google search will show when a mechanic shop is poorly rated. So word of mouth is important and online reviews are important as well.