Should I go to the dealer or my local garage for repairs?

budds service

Let’s face it—when something’s not right with your car, you want it fixed. Fast.

It can be tempting to head to the local garage when your vehicle isn’t performing at its best. After all, it’s right around the corner—and the dealership is “all the way” across town.

Besides, the dealer’s service department is just for warranty work, right?


There are several reasons it makes sense to take even routine maintenance work to your dealership. Here are just a few.

Highly skilled techs

There’s no doubt that repairing cars takes a level of skill not everyone has. But did you know that even within the industry there are differing skill levels?

Budds’ technicians are trained and certified by Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC—and are therefore more likely to be familiar with your car. While local repair shops get specific training on basic repairs, they may not get that training from the manufacturer… Which means they’ll be relying on diagnostic equipment to identify problems, and not necessarily on “day-in, day-out” experience.

More access to bulletins and recall notices

If you’ve driven for any length of time, you may have at one point or another received a recall notice.

No choice when you get one of those—the manufacturer requires you to go to the dealership.

But have you ever heard of a technical service bulletin, or TSB? A TSB is similar to a recall notice; a manufacturer sends one to dealers to advise them of a common problem with a particular car. There are no safety risks involved, so there’s no urgency to them—but they definitely provide instructions to dealers about how to fix a problem and why.

The key part of that last sentence is the word “dealers.” Odds are, unless a local garage goes out of its way to keep up with TSBs, your dealership will simply be more familiar with problems and solutions covered in these bulletins.

Not every small shop takes on the expense of having this software in-house for all the different car manufacturers, meaning you might end up spending much more money on diagnostics than you needed to… Just to get a problem fixed that your tech could have already known about.

happy customer at Budds'Better parts, stronger warranties

In the quest for more profit in a competitive industry, small repair shops might find themselves tempted to cut corners on the parts used to repair your car. When you have your auto dealer do repairs, on the other hand, you can always be assured that the techs will use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

This is important from a warranty standpoint—typically your warranty requires the use of OEM parts.

Speaking of warranties… Another challenge you face after car repairs, especially major ones, is whether or not the work is guaranteed to be done properly.

A local repair shop may warranty the parts you have purchased as part of the repair, but might not always guarantee the work they performed. This could be costly to you in the long run.

A reputable dealership like Budds’, on the other hand, guarantees both.

Time might be a factor

One of the challenges with going to a local repair shop is the time it can take to get the work done. After all, the corner garage typically has fewer service bays—and sometimes getting an appointment for a repair can take days.

Most dealerships have numerous bays and can work on far more cars per day than a smaller garage.

Extraordinary service

While your car is being repaired, you can sit and wait, of course. But you might need to get back home or to work.

With the little guys, that might mean you need to bring someone with you to take you home—and later, bring you back to pick up your vehicle. Worse, you might have to resort to a taxi or an Uber.

Most dealerships, however, have one or more shuttles that will take you where you need to go. (Not to mention pick you up, too.) This can be a big selling point

Convinced yet?

There are those who’ll tell you that taking your vehicle to a dealer for repairs will only cost you more money. But when you consider skill levels and knowledgeability, parts quality, and the other factors, there’s only one real question… How can you afford not to brind your car to the dealership?

How about you? If you need repairs on your Chev, Caddy, Buick or Jimmy, come and see us at Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC.

We’ll get you… Ahem… Fixed up.