Dealer Service Center vs. Mechanic vs. Oil Change Shop

If you scour the internet, you’re going to read horror stories about cheap mechanics conning unwitting customers out of thousands, quick lube shops selling customers their own car’s oil filter (it’s true!), and, yes, even car dealership mechanics making a boo-boo. These things happen, but you need to bring your car in for repair work… where do you go? 

The likelihood of having a negative experience at a dealership service center is far lower than that of an independent mechanic or oil change shop. Here are the 10 biggest reasons why you should choose a dealer when your car is in need of maintenance or repairs.

10 Reasons to Bring Your Car to the Dealership Service Center 

10. Specialized Service

For specific models, like performance cars (e.g. Civic Si) or green vehicles (e.g. Clarity PHEV), you’ll want a qualified, trained, experienced auto technician. Those dealership mechanics have the proper training and education to perform all necessary repairs. By comparison, independent mechanics may not know your specific model, front to back, which will increase the chances of them performing inadequate or even subpar work. 

Think about it this way: Your mom has the recipe for your grandma’s apple pie and can whip one up in 90 minutes. But if Grandma offers to bake it for you instead, you wouldn’t turn it down in favor of Mom’s—Grandma’s pie is just better in every imaginable way, right? 

The same logic applies to your vehicle: Always choose car dealership mechanics (Grandma) over those at an independent shop (Mom). 

Authorized Honda Repair Near Phoenix


9. Dealership > DIY Oil Change

In certain circles, so-called experts will tell you it’s cheaper to change your own oil. That may have been true 10 or 20 years ago, but it’s not these days. All things considered, a DIY oil change is often priced at or even above a dealership oil change. Here are some reasons why getting your oil changed at the dealership is a smarter choice:

  • Dealers buy their motor oil and oil filters in bulk, so the savings you get from buying your own is negligible compared to what you pay for your dealers’ products. 
  • You don’t have to worry about messing up your shirt, wearing gloves, or staining your driveway.
  • There’s no need for you to personally recycle and dispose of your oil and used oil filter. (Yes, you have to dispose of them properly if you change car oil at home!)
  • You don’t need any tools or equipment. 
  • There are no hazards to you, like plastic oil change ramps failing while you’re working under the hood.
  • It’s super fast, allowing you to catch up on emails or read that novel you’ve been meaning to bury your nose in since 2012. 

Perhaps best of all, when you bring your car into the dealership for an oil change, you get a free multi-point inspection, even if it’s not advertised. This alone is worth the cost of the oil change, as that inspection may uncover a small issue that could potentially grow into a larger, more expensive problem down the road.

8. Cost

Myth: Those “express oil change” and “quick lube” shops are cheaper than dealerships.

Truth: Dealerships often have comparable if not more affordable prices for regular service, including cheap oil changes, tire rotations, brake service and more. Plus, dealerships will regularly offer special deals on OEM parts and oil change coupons near you, ultimately making your bill equal to typical mechanic costs.

7. Warranty & Recall Repairs

You can only take advantage of your warranty if you bring it to an authorized dealership for needed repairs. Even if you’re not sure if you need something fixed, dealership service centers are definitely your best bet for inspections, as the technicians can uncover any potential issues that may be covered by warranty.

Of course, any recall repairs need to be performed by an authorized brand dealership, as well. Mechanics aren’t always accredited or trained to perform recall work, and many third-party mechanic shops won’t necessarily check for recalls, either; dealers will. These are some of the main reasons why dealers win the “dealership vs. mechanic” competition.

Honda Maintenance Service Record


6. Full, Detailed Service Records

Having a full record of all maintenance and services performed is one of the best ways to sell your car for the most money possible. “I always brought the car to the dealership for service…here are the documents.” Sounds legit.

Schedule your Honda service appointment in Phoenix.

5. Service Reminders

Staying up on those maintenance tasks isn’t easy these days. Luckily, if you become a frequent customer at a dealership, you should get reminders when your vehicle is due for its next service appointment. 

For instance, after you bring your Honda Accord to any of our Honda dealership mechanics in Phoenix, we’ll email, text or call you when it’s time for another oil change, per the interval listed in your owner’s manual. It all starts with your first appointment, which can be booked online here.

4. Free (Good) Coffee

Ever been inside the waiting room of a cheap mechanic shop? The smell of stale coffee can be nauseating. Dealerships brew hot coffee regularly, and some may even offer individual “K-Cup” pods for customers, so you never have to worry about getting an old pot of java that tastes like burnt pennies. 

3. No “Upselling”

Because the “quick lube” places make almost nothing on oil changes, their technicians and the shop itself have to sell you extra services to cover the costs. This is one of the main reasons why small express oil change shops get a bad name.

Unlike those shops, dealership service centers aren’t in the business of upselling you a service, accessory or repair; they’re in the business of fixing your car’s original problems. If secondary or even tertiary issues show up after an inspection, then so be it—they’ll give you the opportunity to address them at the time of service. Otherwise, you’re in, you’re out, you’re feeling good with a fresh oil change and no snake-oil salesmen pounding your ears.

2. Loaner Cars

In some cases, you can request a loaner vehicle from your dealership if your car needs to stay in the shop for an extended period of time. This is especially true if you are getting recall repairs performed. 

Stress-Free Honda Maintenance


1. Avoid Shady Mechanics

If you’ve ever worried about bad mechanics or mechanic scams/fraud, you’ll gain peace of mind by bringing your vehicle into the dealership service center. Dealership mechanics (technicians) are obligated to perform all work as trained, under the supervision of a manager. If any technicians are found to be “conning” customers, they may not only lose their job, but the dealership may also be punished by the manufacturer and the Better Business Bureau. Dealerships don’t want this stain on their record, of course, which is why they stress the importance of ethics to all auto service technicians.

Get Authorized Honda Repairs Near Phoenix

Don’t take the risk of bringing your Honda into a third-party mechanic or oil change shop for work. If you want the job done right, get it done at an authorized Honda service center near you. 

Happen to live in the Phoenix Valley area? Then find your Valley Honda Dealers service center and make an appointment today. We provide auto services ranging from oil changes, tire rotations, general Honda maintenance, and more.