Do I Have to get My Vehicle Serviced at the Dealership?

A Parts and Service Department direction sign at Vallery Ford, Waverly, Ohio

This way for Parts and Service! Vallery Ford, Waverly, OH

When a vehicle is under a manufacturer’s warranty, the dealership service department is the “go-to” destination! Afterall, the service work is typically performed at no cost to the vehicle owner. But warranties eventually expire and vehicles still need maintenance and repair work from time to time. What’s an owner to do? While independent garages and repair centers are tempting propositions, knowing your options can ensure that you recieve the best quality work at the best possible price.

Do I have to get my vehicle serviced at the dealership? Short answer: No. However, this is not the end of the story. Let’s say you bought a new Ford a few years back, the warranty has expired, and all of the service work up to this point was performed by your certified service team at the dealership. Over the years, you’ve got to know the service manager. And of course, he or she has come to know you as well as your vehicle. The whole service team understands that you are not simply a “service appointment” but a valued vehicle purchaser who trusts them to get your vehicle back on the road as soon as possible. They only use original manufacturer’s replacement parts that are guaranteed to work on your model every time. You also know that dealership service departments are required to undergo contining education and training to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, methods, and procedures. You’ve dealt with them for years, have come to trust them, and you know that their work is guaranteed by the same dealership that assisted you with your vehicle purchase. In short: you have a time-tested relationship that will take months maybe years to duplicate with an independent garage or service center.

What about price? Aren’t dealer service departments more expensive than the “other guys?” This may suprise you, but “common knowledge” doesn’t always make for common sense! Reputable dealerships ensure that their service prices are competitive. As a matter of fact, many folks are surprised to learn that their local dealership can service their vehicle at a price comparable to the independent garage. And with service special coupons regularly sent to customers, the dealership service department may actually be cheaper than the competition. Once you take into account that the dealership service department has technicians who are factory certified to work on your specific vehicle using official replacement parts and components, dealership service departments start to sound like the unspoken value they really can be.

So, if you are considering service work, know that your local dealership has a team of trained technicians ready and willing to assist you even after your warranty expires. While you don’t necessarily have to have your vehicle serviced at the dealership, remember that you have built a relationship with them. They know you and they know your car. And of course, they will do everything in their power to ensure your repeat business!

Jason Boothe, M.Ed. is the Social Media Coordinator for Vallery Ford in Waverly, Ohio. He blogs about the consumer car buying experience from the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio.

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