There is a lot of debate about who the right resource is for auto repair. Some swear by the service at the local mechanic shop. Others refuse to have anything at all done anywhere but the dealer. Both have valid claims. So, how does one decide what to do? Fortunately, there are some basic guidelines to consider.
For one thing, if a vehicle is still under warranty and part of that requires that a dealer perform all service, then do not, under any circumstance, void the warranty. The amount of money that one stands to lose by not allowing the manufacturer to pick up the tab for parts and labor is staggering. As long as the work is complimentary or inexpensive, keep it up. There is no reason to start paying out-of-pocket when it is not necessary.
On the other hand, sometimes a dealer is not the most knowledgeable. Yes, they may have all the manufacturer tools and parts, but the person turning the wrench could be on their first day on the job. Whereas, a local mechanic might specialize in one make of car and the employees there could have been working on these vehicles exclusively for thirty years. Obviously, the experience and the knowledge regarding how this type of engine and this car runs are invaluable.
That being said, the local guys often use whatever parts are fastest and least expensive from their distributor. This may work fine for some things, but not having exactly the right part can mean that things get rigged to work. Parts that maybe are not the best choice or exactly right for the engine or job may be used instead. Most of the time, this will not be a problem, but it is unlikely that a person wants to be on the receiving end one of the times that an auto repair is an issue.
Because of this debate, many feel it is best to go to an authorized service station that brings the knowledge and friendliness of a local mechanic to the professionalism and quality of a dealer experience. Here, one will find reasonably priced auto repair that is of a higher level of quality. In some cases, going to these places does not even void the warranty.