Be Prepared to Pay the Price at Your Local Dealership

Mar 24, 2009

If you’ve ever had to take your car into the shop, chances are someone’s told you “don’t take it to the dealership.” That may be solid advice as a new study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association discovered that vehicle repairs cost, on average, 34% more at new car dealerships then at independent repair shops.

According to the study, repair and labor costs varied from city to city and from manufacturer to manufacturer, but one thing was constant: the price at the dealership was considerably higher. In Los Angeles, consumers will pay as much as 46.8% more at dealership then at independent repair shops. Averaging all six cities from the study together resulted in consumers paying 34.3% more at new car dealers then at independent shops.

Does this mean you should never take your vehicle to the dealership for repairs? Not necessarily, as dealerships are often experts on a particular car manufacturer. You should, however, be well-informed before you take your vehicle anywhere for repairs.

Make sure you:

  • Get multiple estimates in writing, from both a dealership and an independent shop. Your dealership may match the lower price in order to win your business.
  • Get referrals from colleagues and co-workers.

Read the entire AAIA study here, and let us know: have you found that dealerships charge more then independent shops for the same kinds of repairs?