*MCT Photo
More difficult: Computer technology is making it harder for small repair shops to fix vehicles as easily as dealerships.
*MCT Photo More difficult: Computer technology is making it harder for small repair shops to fix vehicles as easily as dealerships.
A few months ago, we discussed the importance of taking your car in for regular servicing.

While some car owners are loyal to their dealer, others prefer to take their vehicle to the corner garage, possibly for a cheaper price.

Taking your car to your local may save you money in the short-term; however, it’s likely not the best option for your vehicle over the long term. This month, we will discuss why it’s important to take your car to the dealer for services and repairs.

Some of the reasons to bring your car back to the dealer are the access to certified mechanics, factory replacement parts, warranty coverage and state-of-the art diagnostic tools designed for your car’s brand.

Bermuda Motors was once asked to repair a car after the owner took the vehicle to an independent mechanic to replace the car’s locks, after which the car would not start.

Despite conscientious work by the mechanic, who replaced the car locks, he didn’t have access to the proper equipment to re-programme the onboard computer.

Sensing that the locks had been tampered with, the car’s anti-theft devices prevented the engine from being started and the car had to be towed to the dealership’s mechanic to reset the computers.

The mechanics at the dealer are specialists and they are manufacturer-trained, meaning they typically only work on your make of vehicle. Most dealers also have ongoing training programmes for their service staff, so they are up-to-date with the latest technology, which is incorporated in newer cars.

The manufacturer offers training programmes only to their network of dealers and the dealers typically pay for these programmes to keep up with the latest vehicle enhancements and repair techniques.

Basically, the technician knows your car inside out. You can ask your dealer about the qualifications of the mechanics repairing your vehicle.

With the National Certification programme at the National Training Board, all mechanics are required to be “Nationally Certified”.

Certifications from City & Guild (UK), American Service Excellence (U.S.) and the Inter-provincial Red Seal (Canada) are accepted equivalents.

When it comes to parts, the dealer will only offer original equipment parts when working on your car, which represent a standard of quality and engineering that only the manufacturer can authorize.

Many manufacturers offer some of the best warranties on not only the parts, but also the dealer’s labour to install those parts.

And while dealers will only offer original equipment parts, small repair shops may offer parts or aftermarket parts, which are meant to substitute the original part.

The advantage is that the parts are like generic prescription drugs and are supposed to perform the same function for less money. You should take your car to the same dealer on an ongoing basis.

An authorized dealer will have a complete history of the car and know everything about it. Often times, the dealer will look at discounts on services and parts for repeat customers, thus helping you to save a bit of money.

Also, the dealer will have all the warranty information available for your car, in case you need to use it.

An authorized dealer will repair your car for free if it’s still under warranty.

Dealers are paid by the manufacturers to perform the service by a certified mechanic if the car if under warranty.

Even though there are many reasons why car owners take their vehicles to their local repair shop, it makes sense in the long run to bring your car back to the dealer.

At the end of the day, our mechanics are trained to help make your car perform at its optimum.