car repair jar of money

Dealership or Local Mechanic: What’s In a Car Repair Price?

What would you do if your car needed major repairs? With car maintenance costing the average owner over $1,000, many car owners struggle to come up with the cash.

Maintenance is an expensive necessity. Left unattended to, small issues could turn in large safety hazards. Some could be deadly.

Trying to decide between a dealership and local mechanic for your maintenance work? Keep reading below to learn more about the pros and cons and car repair price for each.

Car Brands

What type of car do you drive? It’s an important consideration when deciding where to take your business.

Most local garages and shops will work on a wide variety of brands. Especially the big players like Chevy, Ford, etc.

Dealerships, on the other hand, will be much more specialized. Meaning you must take your Toyota to a Toyota dealer and your Ford to a Ford dealer.

Car Repair Price and Labor

As mentioned above, a dealer will be able to provide much more specialized service. The technicians working there are intimately familiar with their brand of cars.

This ensures quality staff and work but also can lead to higher prices. Be sure to be familiar with your owner’s and repair/maintenance manuals. This will help you know exactly what is needed.

A local garage usually can offer lower prices than a dealership. This is due to smaller facilities and often less overhead.

Research if your local garages honor warranties on their work. It’s also important not to have any work done that would void warranties you got when purchasing the car.

Related Reading:  Car maintenance

Customer Satisfaction

Dealerships can foster relationships while offering customers free service. It is easy to learn more about how dealers offer warranties and service to customers.

Smaller garages do not have this luxury. You will work directly with the mechanic, who will answer directly to you.

Smaller garages will work very hard early on to ensure you are satisfied in order to retain your business. They may give you discounts or offer free services.


Heading to a dealer for service usually means there will be a comfortable waiting room with televisions, coffee, snacks, etc. They also tend to have loaner cars readily available if you don’t want to wait around.

Many dealers will also have shuttle service available. This means if you work within a set radius of your dealer, they will take you to work.

Local garages tend to be smaller, so they may not have a large waiting area. Some don’t have one at all. While they may also have loaner vehicles, it’s likely they don’t have many. So unless you reserve one, you may not be able to get one easily.

Car Maintenance Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

There are reasons to choose a local garage and reasons to choose a dealership. Depending on your exact situation, you may be able to visit both. Your car repair price doesn’t have to suck!

Looking for more information on keeping your car running smoothly? Check out seven tire maintenance tips you definitely need to know!