This is a question I get asked personally time and time again. In fact, sometimes we don’t get asked it. I’ve had a number of customers say “I’ll get my car here when it’s 3 years old, it’s new and I need to take it to the main dealer to keep my warranty”.
Let’s look at where people believe this information comes from. It’s been handed down through generations, in fact, some garages even tell you that a manufacturer needs to service it. This is not helped by salesman also tell everyone to bring it back to them to preserve the new car warranty. Imagine a local garage turning down work because they believe a new car needs to go to the overpriced manufacturers to let the apprentice work on the car.
Top and bottom of it, NO. Your car does not need to be serviced by a manufacturer in order to preserve your warranty. You can take your car to any reputable garage and ask them for a manufacturer service. They do have to use the correct parts for your car (cheap copies will void your warranty). You can even ask for the items to be bought directly from the manufacturer to be fitted to your car. The only thing you need to have is a record of the parts used, mileage of the job and exactly what work was undertaken. Each manufacturer has different standards of what needs to be done to each car and at what mileage. Most reputable garages follow this list like the bible. We also follow this list here at Childwall Fiveways Auto Centre.
Well as mentioned above, one of the differences can be the parts used. This is the only pro that the manufacturer has going for them. Everything else falls in the con category. For example, a local garage may charge between £40 and £60 per hour. Many main dealers charge in excess of £80 per hour. There are also main dealers who will just put the apprentice on most jobs (depending on their complexity). The apprentice is looking at “serving their time” so they need to build up experience. Local garages tend to show apprentices how the work is done and very rarely allow anyone with a spanner near the car without qualifications.
So basically there can be a big difference. Especially if your 5 Series BMW costs over £300 for brakes at the main dealer for the apprentice to complete the job. The same job could cost half of that at a local garage with bags of experience.
We do have some proof to back up this claim. It comes on a big level with one of the biggest car buyers in the UK. Motability provide all the cars for anyone who qualifies for a car with reduced mobility. They own 1000s of cars with 100s of warranty claims being made every single day. Although they make an effort to put the car through the main dealer their work is not exclusive. The main reason they use the main dealer is to make the car appear more valuable when they send it to auction.
The spread of the work is probably 50% main dealer and the rest gets split amongst other garages. Work is spread to Kwik Fit, RAC and the AA and the main dealers have never had an issue paying out these warranty claims. So let’s all stop worrying and book your service with your trusted local garages.
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