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Author - JT Hughes
JT Hughes

Is it cheaper to service a car at an independent garage? NO!.

Car Service: Dealer Vs Independent Garage

If you're considering shunning your main dealers for 'fast-fit' outlets or small local garages when your vehicle is due a car service, keep on reading.

When your car is due a service, don't automatically assume that your friend's mechanic or local independent is the cheapest option. 

Before you say "yes" and close this tab, you might be surprised to find out that it's usually not any cheaper to service a car at an independent garage.

There are several hidden costs to circumventing a franchised dealer. We'll explain why dealer servicing is preferable in this 5-minute read.

Why does your car need a service?

First, you must understand that your car needs regular servicing. Many people are under the mistaken impression that an MOT is enough. But during your annual MOT, they're checking for roadworthiness only.

You'd be surprised what building problems those checks will overlook. From AC to electrical faults, regular servicing can catch issues before they become major costs. 

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Benefits of servicing your vehicle at a dealership


Certified Technicians -

According to Nimblefins, the average new car costs ranges from £12,000 to £28,000, meaning that when it comes to a car service, you should be seeking out top professionals to deliver quality results.

While the mechanics at your local garage can handle an array of problems, they might not have experience working with your specific make and model.

The technicians at the dealership are trained directly by the manufacturer and typically work only on your make of vehicle.

These technicians are aware of any recalls and will know how to take care of the problem the first time.

Professional Equipment-

We're not suggesting that local garages don't have good equipment, but the dealership usually has top-of-the-line equipment that's specifically intended for your car's make and model.

Some diagnostic equipment for today's modern vehicles can cost more than £100,000, and most dealerships are required by manufacturer franchise contract agreements to purchase this equipment.

Warranties -

Vehicle warranties are an essential part of owning a new car. They provide peace of mind in knowing that if something goes wrong, the repairs will be covered. 

While these services and repairs can be made at independent garages, car dealerships have specific requirements that must be met in order to keep the warranty valid. 

Plus, for even more value and added protection, extended service contracts can be purchased from your dealer, allowing you to save time and money on future repairs.

Complete History of Vehicle -

When you need a check-up, you go to see a doctor. You wouldn't go to just any medical centre; you would go to the doctor's surgery you're registered with.  Why? Because they have the complete history of your medical record. Your car should be treated the same way.

When you return to your dealer for service, it allows them to have a comprehensive record of your vehicle history, ensuring that the right work gets done every time.

Your dealer will also be aware of any recalls and will be trained by the manufacturer on how to address them accordingly.

Software upgrades

As Autoexpress  explains. Main dealers can also provide some behind-the-scenes services that you wouldn't get elsewhere.

You might find your car is given some software upgrades or even some non-essential recall work at no extra charge. 

You'll also have a relationship with a certified dealership mechanic. They can make sure you're educated about the best way to care for your car to keep it running well for years to come.

Service Pans -

Many dealerships (like JT Hughes) have attractive service plans and a price match guarantee. This can help you avoid costly problems and give you peace of mind if you ever do receive a cheaper quote elsewhere. 


Whether to service your car at a dealer or local garage is a heavily debated topic. While both offer benefits and drawbacks, car dealer services have a higher rate of delivering satisfaction each time and boil down to a host of core benefits, including: 

  • Access to factory parts
  • Expertise with your make and model
  • Brand standard diagnostic equipment
  • Extended warranties and inclusive service plans
  • Service networks and connections for your car model
  • Rush delivery of parts

Cons of local garage servicing

It's in this area that local garages just can't compete. While many independent garages have amazing mechanics, they're not experts in your car.  

They're qualified to work generally on all cars. And that means there are just some problems they can't solve effectively or at all.  

Where you might think you're getting savings on an hourly rate or aftermarket parts; in many cases, these choices can create or exacerbate problems, increasing the cost of the repair in the long run.

Lastly, since they're not required to meet any specific brand standard, the quality of service you get from one independent garage to another can vary wildly.




Len Jones 16-May-2024
First time ever bought a Hyundai Santa fe, a rot box, declined car in exchange for another Santa fe. Stud missing front under wheel arch replaced by myself, bolt missing rear bumper replaced by myself, DPF Light on sorted by myself, split rear gator, no relay on tow bar electrics, job done by Copthorn Services, alignment all over the place sorted by Kwik Fit, £260.00, rear wheels out of balance corrected by Kwik Fit, Valeting, a right mess, sorted by myself. All this within two weeks of ownership, no chance of me coming back, Love my local garage, professionals to the core, offer from J T Hughes bring the car back and we will give it a good clean,
kevin andrews 6-Feb-2024
Your prices are at least double that of a local garage. Despite you servicing it during the warranty period, when I first took it to a local garage, they found the spare wheel storage seized solid..! So much for a dealer, if I’d had a puncture, I would not have been able to gain access to the spare wheel. When my exhaust leaked, I went to you. £130 just to look at , never again.
Charles viner 6 months ago
All of this may well be true but I live 30 miles away,ie 60 miles and wouldn’t get much advantage of walking around Shrewsbury for, as last time about 4hrs, which does make my local garage more attractive
Graham Haycox More than one year ago
One point that I believe was not mentioned above is breakdown assistance covered when having a service at the dealership. When we bought our new Hyundai we took out the service plan and MOT at the same time. I believe this to be a wise move.
Tasheni More than one year ago
I want to be able to Have confidence in the dealership that they will ensure the right thing is done and no shortcuts are done for the cost of service they charge. I just want to have peace of mind knowing and believing the best is being done and what they have advised is done as they have diagnosed.
Stuart Whitehouse More than one year ago
Whoever you get to service /MOT your vehicle it all comes down to trust. If you have been ripped off by one garage you should NEVER go back business trust is very hard won but even easier to lose. If you trust what you have been advised and the cost reasonable then I would always go back, however there are always cost comparisons which are worth making, you don’t just accept the first quote if your having work done at home and your car should be the same.
Andrew Butt More than one year ago
All of the above makes perfect sense. I wouldn't go anywhere else.
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