Is it better to get your car serviced from an authorized dealership or from a local mechanic?

The million-dollar question that has given sleepless nights to many. To ditch the dealer, for regular service or not? For an average joe, dealership services get the preference as it is much convenient and you get all the solutions for your problems in one place. But did you know that you can save a good amount of money by shifting to the local mechanic? While of course the dealer service and the local mechanic have their advantages and disadvantages, it is very essential to understand them to take the plunge. Let us try to understand whether you should take your vehicle for car service to an authorized dealer or a local mechanic.

Car Service

“Car Service” by alexanderferdinand is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When should you go to a local mechanic?

The golden rule is that, when your vehicle has exhausted the factory warranty or is older than 10 years, then you should consider going to a local mechanic. As the car gets older, it starts to build up fixed expenses, and the service from the dealership will not be economical anymore. For example, you do not want to take your Honda, from the ’90s that has a total value of less than 700$, to a dealership, only to receive a bill of 500$ for a major service. The local mechanic will do that for you at a fraction of the cost. Similarly, when you have a very common vehicle such as Ford F150, you will find tons of cheaper options, outside the car dealer, offering a decent service.

When should you go to a car dealership?

If your vehicle is new and is still carrying the factory warranty, then you should go to the car dealer for the car service. There are no two doubts about it. The factory warranty always comes with a condition that it will only be honored if the vehicle is regularly serviced at a dealership. Also, many brands offer waived service charges for the first few years, so economically speaking, the dealership makes sense. If you have high-end European cars such as Audi, which have 10+ years of warranty on the delicate components such as a DSG gearbox, in that case, you are kind of stuck with the dealer for a long time.

Things to look for while getting your car serviced

Whether you go to a local mechanic or a car dealership for service, you must make sure that the place which you are going to use has a good reputation. Bad apples are present in all sectors and car servicing is no exception. Stories are not unheard of that the dealer or the mechanics taking their customers for a ride. As a consumer, you also must be a little vigilant and knowledgeable to keep a check on the car bills. With the huge resources available such as social media these days, it is not difficult to do a little investigation before selecting a source of the service. Also if you are getting your car serviced from a mechanic, then you can save further by buying your own parts.

Alternate to both the options

DIY car maintenance has started to gain popularity in the car world after the spread of social media and internet platforms. These days, you can easily buy stuff such as workshop manuals and car parts and perform the job yourself. You won’t believe how much you can save with this route. But before taking the plunge, be aware that you have to have a certain mechanical inclination to repair your cars yourself, otherwise, things can go south pretty quickly.


In simpler terms, if your car is a brand spanking new or is still under warranty, then stick to the car dealer for the car service. However, if your car has crossed the decade mark, then it isn’t wise to keep on spending money on a car dealership for servicing. In that case, a local mechanic makes much sense.