Regardless of how well you take care of your car, you’re going to need to service it to keep it running smoothly for years to come. That being said, you have two options – you can take it to your local dealership, or you can find a mechanic to take a look at your vehicle. Which one is best suited to handle your used car? Are there any benefits to seeing one over the other? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons before you make a final decision.

Mechanics: Face-to-Face with the professionals

One of the most obvious benefits of working with an independent mechanic is that you can talk to the professional working on your used car. He or she can give you insight into any problems your vehicle may have, what caused them, and how to prevent them in the future.

If you don’t want to worry about finding a dealership that correlates with the make or model of your used car, independent mechanics can also be a better bet. Often times, private garages are staffed by former dealership technicians. Many mechanics also work on a wide variety of makes and models.

In terms of cost, independent mechanics may offer alternative parts in the event that you need a repair. These can be cheaper than what a dealership uses, saving on the overall job.

Dealerships: Going straight to the source

Going to a dealership for servicing or repairs will have you in the hands of individuals who have experience handling your specific brand of vehicle. This is one of the most obvious benefits of opting for a dealership. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re going to pay – literally – for having a specialist examine your used car. The cost can be pricier than what you would pay for an independent mechanic.

If your used car is under warranty, you may able to avoid the large expense, assuming it’s a full-coverage deal. Whether you have an issue with your vehicle or you simply need to take care of some maintenance, a full-coverage warranty allows you to bring in the car for servicing, no fee required. In these cases, it’s obviously more beneficial to visit a dealer, as opposed to an independent mechanic.

The average age of households’ cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks increased from 10.1 years in 2007 to more than 11.3 years in 2012. As we hold onto our vehicles for longer, there is a growing need for servicing and routine maintenance. Luckily, there are both mechanics and dealerships well equipped to handle the occasional challenges of owning a used car.

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