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Authorised service centre or the local mechanic? Know what is better for your car

Where would you get your car serviced? At an authorised service centre or from a local mechanic? Many car owners face this dilemma. One needs to consider several factors before deciding-quality and cost of service, genuineness of spare parts, personal rapport with the mechanic, etc. Both the authorised service centre and the independent workshop have their pros and cons. Read below to know what you should keep in mind while making this decision.

Why you should choose an authorised service centre
WARRANTY ISSUE: If your car is under warranty, you must go to an authorised service centre without having a second thought. It’s actually a no-brainer.

CHALLENGE OF LATEST TECHNOLOGY: “The new-generation vehicles are advanced and come equipped with electronic systems like ECU, fuel systems, ignition and in-car entertainment systems. So, if you go to an authorised service centre, you can be assured of a good service. Local mechanic may or may not have the adequate understanding of these advanced systems,” says Banwari Lal Sharma, CEO of

RESALE ADVANTAGE: “There are certain advantages of getting your car serviced from an authorised centre. Visiting an authorised centre creates an explicit service history of your car which is helpful during resale, specifically in the case of premium cars. For instance, if you have get your car serviced from an authorised centre till 80,000 km and then switch to a local workshop, the prospective buyer will not be able to verify the service record. For premium vehicles, it is highly recommended to visit an authorised service centre,” Sharma says.

EXPERTISE IS SUBJECTIVE: If you are going to the local workshop, you need to be very careful while choosing the mechanic. While it is ideal to personally supervise the local mechanic while he services your car, everybody does not have that much time. So, if you are going to the local workshop, you must trust him with his work. However, you should remember even the best of the local workshops may not deliver quality work.

THE GAP THAT SHOWS: “Even if it is cosmetic upgrade like denting and painting, you end up compromising on quality if you visit a local mechanic. For instance, if your car has metallic paint and you get a part repainted at a local workshop, the colour won’t match the rest of the car. However, if there is a renowned workshop in your area that deals in specific areas such as repaint jobs, you can consider it,” Sharma explains.

DON’T COUNT YOUR PENNIES: It is a general misconception that authorised service centres are highly expensive. Usually, you need to visit an authorised service centre once a year unless something major has come up. Authorised centres may be slightly expensive but they deliver quality work.

Why you should choose an independent workshop
LABOUR ADVANTAGE: For routine services that don’t need any complex work, visiting an independent workshop will help you save a lot of money. However, you must ensure that the spare parts, oil and filters are genuine. Cheaper labour cost is one of their biggest advantages. The cost of parts and oil will remain the same if genuine spares are used, but the labour charges will be much cheaper than at authorised service centres.

WARRANTY NOT AN ISSUE: Kunal Khattar, Managing Partner AdvantEdge and former co-founder, says independent workshops or local garages can be good alternatives for getting your car serviced or repaired. “All authorised service centres may not be necessarily the same. Of course, there’s standardisation in certain areas but the quality of service may vary. Besides, people have a notion that getting the car serviced from an independent workshop will lapse its warranty. This is a myth. You can get basic services like oil and filter change from an independent workshop while your brand-new car is in warranty. So, you can choose from where you want to get your car serviced,” Khattar explains.

SPECIALISATION GALORE: There are many options in aftermarket for getting your car serviced. In aftermarket there are workshops that specialise at different levels. “There are independent workshops that specialise only in premium cars like BMW and Audi. Then there is multi-brand car service centres and the ones that specialise only in one brand. So, if you need to get the basic job done like oil and filter change, washing or polishing, you can consider an independent workshop. However, if there’s a major accidental repair or any other substantial work, you must visit the authorised service centre for two reasons-body panels and genuine spare parts,” Khattar says.

Give it a thought
Before making a decision, carefully consider all the above-mentioned aspects. You must ask for an estimate and itemise it before getting your car serviced or repaired. This will help you identify the cost of inpidual services and decide if you want to include discretionary ones.