Under Australian law, a vehicle manufacturer can’t compel you to have your car serviced through and authorised dealership. This means you can take it to a suitably qualified, registered mechanic of your choice – including your local garage, a national chain or mobile mechanic – as long as the service is carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
The advantages of using independent mechanics includes being able to choose someone you can trust. Then there’s the convenience of taking your car somewhere close to home or work. The mechanic is also allowed to use approved ‘non-genuine’ generic-brand parts which could save you money. Bear in mind though that the warranty can be voided by poor workmanship or if non-standard parts result in damage to the vehicle, so best avoid backyard mechanics.
A safe bet is to use a mechanic who specialises in your make of vehicle, particularly if it’s a luxury brand.
Car dealers rely on people to take their cars to dealerships to capitalise on the profit from each car they sell, which is why they provide incentives such as capped-price scheduled servicing and loan cars.
Dealerships service departments are also more likely to be more familiar with new models and latest technology, have all the correct diagnostic equipment and direct access to the spare parts network.
In the end the choice is ours, but it’s interesting that 90 per cent of people who responded to the above-mentioned Choice survey said they take their new car to an authorised dealership.