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Independent Or Dealer


pj8708
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Let the games begin!!

An article extolling the virtues of dealer or independent for repairs.

I have always used my dealer because of the excellent service and customer care, and the relationships I have built with the service advisor's. I suppose it may cost me more in some circumstances, but the quick diagnosis and resolutions of the problems has been worth it.

What are your opinions. Don't most of you use Indy's?

http://autos.aol.com/article/repair-shop-3-types/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl6%7Csec1_lnk3%7C205072

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It really comes down to a question of price. The only reason not to use the dealer with a new car is the cost. I always enjoyed using the dealer for service, the nice surroundings, good service, loaner cars, the way they treat their customers. However, the cost is so prohibitive that I came to the conclusion that I could use an independent mechanic that specializes in Lexus and Toyota vehicles, and have enough left over after each service to pay for the next service...and I just couldn't justify using the dealer any longer.

With an older car I've found the dealers have a "just replace stuff until the problem goes away" mentality that just costs a fortune, so overall with older cars I recommend a good independent shop.

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The post under "New Members Welcome" titled "Deader than a Doornail," is a perfect example of the issue of indy mechanic versus dealer. Call me crazy, but after 3 indys couldn't give her any idea of the problem, and the dealer at least gave her an 80% solution, I would have gone with the dealer. Now, there is the matter of price. If the independent cannot diagnose the problem without trial and error, is that a less expensive route over the dealer?

What are your thoughts.

Paul

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I've have far better service and prices at the two independent Lexus repair shops I've used over the past 20 years but both were owned by former Lexus dealer service writers and staffed with former Lexus dealer mechanics. If the indie shop I currently use didn't exist, I doubt that I would still own a Lexus. The service writers at the local Lexus dealers are extraordinarily clueless. Last time I was in, I mentioned to one that water was leaking into the trunk of my LS400 as is common when the trunk lid gasket gets older. The service writer told me that she had been at the dealership over 10 years and had never heard of that problem. Duh!

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I've have far better service and prices at the two independent Lexus repair shops I've used over the past 20 years but both were owned by former Lexus dealer service writers and staffed with former Lexus dealer mechanics. If the indie shop I currently use didn't exist, I doubt that I would still own a Lexus. The service writers at the local Lexus dealers are extraordinarily clueless. Last time I was in, I mentioned to one that water was leaking into the trunk of my LS400 as is common when the trunk lid gasket gets older. The service writer told me that she had been at the dealership over 10 years and had never heard of that problem. Duh!

Other than the usual Jiffy Lube, Midas, etc, there seems to be a scarcity of independent shops around here. When I had my 05 ES I tried a few indys for oil changes, but was concerned when they didn't know how to reset the codes. Regarding dealer service advisers, from what I have gathered on the forums it really seems to vary by dealer.

Does anyone, besides me, have a good dealer service adviser?

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I've have far better service and prices at the two independent Lexus repair shops I've used over the past 20 years but both were owned by former Lexus dealer service writers and staffed with former Lexus dealer mechanics. If the indie shop I currently use didn't exist, I doubt that I would still own a Lexus. The service writers at the local Lexus dealers are extraordinarily clueless. Last time I was in, I mentioned to one that water was leaking into the trunk of my LS400 as is common when the trunk lid gasket gets older. The service writer told me that she had been at the dealership over 10 years and had never heard of that problem. Duh!

Other than the usual Jiffy Lube, Midas, etc, there seems to be a scarcity of independent shops around here. When I had my 05 ES I tried a few indys for oil changes, but was concerned when they didn't know how to reset the codes. Regarding dealer service advisers, from what I have gathered on the forums it really seems to vary by dealer.

Does anyone, besides me, have a good dealer service adviser?

I use the dealer for regular services and such, but when the time comes for tires or brakes I will use the independent shop that services our BMW. The only thing that has me on thinking about using him for my GX is the drive which is a half a day of wasted time unless I let lexus pick it up...which I don't mind all that much either. I don't mind paying more and getting great service the loaner and all but my local guy will probably service my GX sometime in the future.

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I've had great service by my dealer so far, but I think for ongoing maintenance, I'm going with an independent. We have one here that is a former Toyota service manager. I'm going to see how good they are on my next service. The only downside is no loaner car. I've had my car at the dealer for a week now, but it's been ok because I'm in a new ES350. I wont' get that with an indy, for sure. I have a third car, so it's not an issue of having transportation, but it's nice to stay in a Lexus. I just can't justify the cost of service at Lexus if I can get the same work done elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

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I've had great service by my dealer so far, but I think for ongoing maintenance, I'm going with an independent. We have one here that is a former Toyota service manager. I'm going to see how good they are on my next service. The only downside is no loaner car. I've had my car at the dealer for a week now, but it's been ok because I'm in a new ES350. I wont' get that with an indy, for sure. I have a third car, so it's not an issue of having transportation, but it's nice to stay in a Lexus. I just can't justify the cost of service at Lexus if I can get the same work done elsewhere for a fraction of the price.

It looks like the majority of you use an independent shop for your oil changes and routine maintenance. And it also appears that the reason is not expertise per se, but price/cost savings. That started me thinking; How much is too much? How do you know when the cost of having the dealer do your oil change is too high and you should go to a indy instead.

My new ES350 only has 2311 miles on it so I haven't had it's 5k oil change yet. However, the last time I had an oil change the dealer charged around $75. Is that too much.

Paul

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depends on whether it is synthetic oil...to the basics 5 qts of oil will cost $24 and the filter around $5 to 7. figure the rest is labor....Takes me personally about 20 minutes to do a fluid check and oil change.

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I go to the dealer. It's convenient, service advisors are great, relaxing lounge to wait at or drive off in a loaner car if necessary, and they give some freebies once in awhile. For example, my door lock broke a couple months after my warranty expired and my Lexus dealer gave me a complimentary service on it, so I paid nothing to get it fixed!

Plus after being rear ended 3 times on my non-Lexus vehicle, I had that dealership fight alongside with me regarding my rear alignment being knocked out due to the accident and not from me running over every pot hole in the city. Eventually insurance was being a d*ck and ended up shouting at the service manager but it gives you peace of mind that someone is there to back you up in the most unexpected situations.

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Yeah the definite plus is building a relationship with the dealer helps when it comes time to get difficult things covered under warranty or out of warranty.

I had a great service writer but he moved from Lexus to Jaguar and thats when I met my independent mechanic. He was a Lexus master tech for 16 years and keeps up his trainings and accreditation. Most of the service writers have no background in mechanics or anything technical at all, they are merely customer service reps, and when it comes time to have a repair done, they just know what the techs are telling them and what the manual says it costs. When you start discussing the options with them its obvious you may as well be asking them about brain surgery...

Whereas my mechanic, being a tech himself, knows what the issue is and what options there are to fix it, and he knows the benefit of a long term relationship.

The other issue with older cars is the dealership really sees newer cars and does a lot of maintenance. A lot of issues with older cars they may not routinely see, as was the situation with Jim's trunk leak...

I'm not advocating using "any" independent shop, but a shop that specializes in Lexus and Toyota vehicles, with techs who were Lexus techs...should be able to diagnose anything a dealer can...

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