Choice Of Service - Which Workshop Do I Choose?

Krado Low
1 Mar 2019
 

Maintenance choice: Authorized workshops or independent workshops?

The elephant in the room is ultimately, the cost.

Keeping your car on the road is as easy as keeping it well-maintained by a dealer you trust. In 2017, car dealers beganto remove warranty restrictions on use of independent workshops, after a review by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS).

With this change, authorized car dealers may void car warranties or reject claims - only if they establish that the damage or defect to be claimed under the warranty is in fact caused by the independent workshops.

So, should you go to an authorized dealer or to an independent workshop for car servicing? Read this simple guide to help you decide where is best...

“I only need preventive maintenance”.

If your car is stock, or you only require basic maintenance, both options will suit you equally well. Authorized distributors are affiliated with a car manufacturer, and operate workshops which have to adhere to the car manufacturer’s standards of service, equipment and technical knowledge.

Independent workshops have the same access to similar information via third-party suppliers. In fact, “shop manuals”, the official manufacturer’s technical handbook, can be purchased by independent workshops to deliver the same level of service competency as authorized workshops.

From basic to major maintenance, it’s a tie between authorized workshops and independent workshops. However, authorized workshops tend to charge more for the same jobs, and there independent workshops might fit the wrong or non-genuine components, which can potentially cause issues.

Verdict: Tie

“I have specific requirements.”

This is where the line starts to blur. If you seek a specialist, there is no equal when it comes to independent workshops - many of them have spent a lifetime dealing in one specific area of maintenance. Some examples are: Radiator shops, alignment shops, even vehicle air-conditioning speciality shops. It pays to do a research of the workshop which you intend to visit for other customer reviews.

However, authorized workshops are offering a comprehensive suite of services as well, and some of them are complementary if you sign up for their long term service packages - which can narrow the gap between both types of workshops.

We start with the most common modification, wheels and tyres. Plenty of owners got for a set of aftermarket wheels for a visual, or performance upgrade. In this case, independent speciality tyre shops will be better equipped to serve the needs, as well as provide better advise with different wheel and tyre specifications.

Verdict: Independent Workshops

“My car is extensively modified”

In definition, as long as your car is running aftermarket engine components, it is advisable to have it serviced by the workshop which installed your custom components. If your future car plans includes adding performance parts such as a custom engine tune, larger fuel injectors, a hybrid turbo, a giant intercooler, a limited slip differential, a methanol injection kit or an extreme motorsports-grade braking system, the choice is clear.

An independent workshop which is proficient in performance upgrades will be in a better position to advise you of the the parts selection and maintenance requirements of the aftermarket components, down to the nitty gritty details such as oil grades.

Of course, while an oil change can be performed by anyone, asking a authorized dealer to replace an oil filter on a custom engine dry sump system is like asking a dentist to perform an open-heart surgery.

Verdict: Independent Workshops

“I don’t like being stressed about something as basic as car maintenance.”

With vehicles coming with more advanced technology, such as start-stop engines, hybrid powertrains and driver assistance systems like lane assistance, independent shops may not have the advanced tools needed to repair or diagnose such systems.

Unless you enjoy a treasure hunt to seek replacement parts, authorized distributors have their own part supplies to support the cars which they sell. This also means that only genuine parts are used. These factors help to boost the resale value of the car, since people are more like to be assured of a car’s condition if it has a full service record from the authorized workshop.

Those with a busy schedule will be better served by authorized workshops, as most of them offer an portal to book service appointments, with some offering longer operating hours into the night.

The elephant in the room is ultimately, the cost. The cost might add up in the long run, but you do save on the headaches and will be spending more time driving a well maintained car.

Verdict: Authorized Workshops


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