1. Not only are people more satisfied with independent repair shop’s customer service, they also tend to be less expensive than dealerships. Independent repair shops rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and customer referrals for much of their business. So it’s no surprise that many independent garages place a high premium on customer service and satisfaction.
  2. Because independent shops tend to be small, with maybe three to five technicians, you’ll get to know the owner and everyone that works there. You’ll be able to ask questions directly to the mechanic working on your car.
  3. Because of lower prices, a small independent shop is a great place to go for basic maintenance and repairs not covered by a car’s warranty. Everything from oil changes on up will cost more if you take your car to the service department at a dealership.
  4. A lot of people think you have to go to a dealer for maintenance to keep your warranty and that’s absolutely not true.
  5. Worried that a smaller garage won’t know how to fix your car’s problem? Don’t be. Thanks to new software programs, today’s independent garages are privy to the same technical and repair information as dealers. In the past five years, independent shops have caught up to dealers in terms of information. The independents these days have the same computer system, same records, same level of service as the dealer. A good independent garage knows just as much about a technical service bulletin on your car as a dealer does. Manufacturers publish technical service bulletins to assist technicians in diagnosing and repairing problems in cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Still, knowledge is one thing, skill is another. You’ll want to choose a repair shop with certified technicians. Look for mechanics that are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE certified mechanics must pass comprehensive exams and must be re-certified every five years.

One thing missing from a dealer shop is the personal touch. At a dealership you rarely see the tech, so you don’t know who’s working on the car. Now you could ask to speak to the mechanic each time you bring your car into a dealer service department. Just be prepared to meet someone new with each visit as a large dealership could have 20 or 30 technicians or more working at any given time. So a different technician could work on your car each time you bring it in.  At Joe’s you can always speak directly with the tech whenever you like.