Service - dealer or private mechanic
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Thread: Service - dealer or private mechanic

  1. #1
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    Service - dealer or private mechanic

    guys - i traditionally have always taken my cars to a private mechanic since they were older cars. Now as the owner of a new 2018 odyssey, I'm reconsidering. Has anybody done a costs analysis between the two options? I have a pretty reliable mechanic conveniently located 5 mins away and wondering for things like oil changes, brakes does it really matter

    Thx

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  3. #2
    Registered User Novalight's Avatar
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    wear n tear consumables as you mention can be done anywhere major repairs whule under warranty goes to dealer

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  4. #3
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    Dealer, there are few issues with 2018, let the dealer do recalls etc. Start going to private if you prefer after first
    2-3 services done by dealer or you can simply tell dealer each time to do just oil and filter change so they charge you just for that.


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  6. #4
    Registered User Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    there is zero benefit having the dealer do any kind of maintenance,
    service, or repair unless it's free ! find a local honda/acura independent
    shop or qualified trustworthy shop and have them do it.
    It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slartibartfast View Post
    there is zero benefit having the dealer do any kind of maintenance,
    service, or repair unless it's free ! find a local honda/acura independent
    shop or qualified trustworthy shop and have them do it.
    This isn't necessarily true. There are upsides to visiting a dealer once in a while.

    Things like recalls are obvious no-brainers - an independent shop (even if they can do the work) won't do it for free. We all agree on that. Just go to a dealer for that stuff.

    Now, going to a dealer for other stuff does two things. First, it lets you get an understanding of how they work. Not all dealership service departments are the same. Some are better than others and knowing who is good and who is goofy in your area is valuable information to have. Second, dealers do have influence with a manufacturer when it comes to warranty grey areas. If you have a record of showing up even once in a while, you may be able to benefit from a little goodwill.

    On one of my previous vehicles, I had a catalytic converter fail when I was outside the warranty coverage by about 10,000 miles and about 8 months, if my memory serves me. The dealer pled my case, told the manufacturer I was a good customer and got the coverage extended. Saved me well over a thousand bucks and all it cost me was an extra $5-$10 per oil change.

    A good independent shop you know and trust is a fantastic resource to have. But a good dealer service department is too. Have both and cultivate a good relationship with both.
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  8. #6
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    I always thought that finding a reliable and trustworthy mechanic was a challenge. Unless I can find that type of shop, I usually suck it up and go to the dealer, especially if it's a newer car. I know I am paying more but I generally feel there is more accountability on the dealership end. A few examples that swayed me that way:

    1. On one of my previous cars, I noticed some scratches on the vehicle after it was serviced at the dealership that were definitely not there when I dropped it off. It did not take more than 5 minutes to get them to address and fix. Can you imagine bringing this up to a local mechanic?
    2. Paid to get an oil change and tire rotation at a private mechanic I was frequenting. When the car came out, I noticed the tires were not rotated (one of my tires was missing the nozzle cap - not on purpose - so I knew whether or not it was moved). Owner said yes they did, but I made him confirm with the tech. Tech said he didn't because the wear looked even.
    3. Brought my car in to a private mechanic for an oil change. He told me the oil cap was missing and that he had to charge me for a new one. Well, guess who did my last oil change?

    Parts wise, you know what you are getting at a dealership (OEM). Ask for something nicer (OEM or better after market quality) than the bare bones (think brake pads) at a local mechanic, you can never be for certain you are getting what you are paying for (unless you have a good/historical relationship with them). In my experience, if something doesn't feel or look right after the work, the dealership is usually more accommodating and will re-look at the issue.

    Maybe I'm skeptical or just have bad luck with local mechanics. In the best of both world's, CroMath's got it right with this though: A good independent shop you know and trust is a fantastic resource to have. But a good dealer service department is too. Have both and cultivate a good relationship with both.

  9. #7
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    Service - dealer or private mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by CroMath View Post
    This isn't necessarily true. There are upsides to visiting a dealer once in a while.

    Things like recalls are obvious no-brainers - an independent shop (even if they can do the work) won't do it for free. We all agree on that. Just go to a dealer for that stuff.

    Now, going to a dealer for other stuff does two things. First, it lets you get an understanding of how they work. Not all dealership service departments are the same. Some are better than others and knowing who is good and who is goofy in your area is valuable information to have. Second, dealers do have influence with a manufacturer when it comes to warranty grey areas. If you have a record of showing up even once in a while, you may be able to benefit from a little goodwill.

    On one of my previous vehicles, I had a catalytic converter fail when I was outside the warranty coverage by about 10,000 miles and about 8 months, if my memory serves me. The dealer pled my case, told the manufacturer I was a good customer and got the coverage extended. Saved me well over a thousand bucks and all it cost me was an extra $5-$10 per oil change.

    A good independent shop you know and trust is a fantastic resource to have. But a good dealer service department is too. Have both and cultivate a good relationship with both.
    Agreed, I do the same as you, good relationship with dealer and helped me in the past and that offset the cost of higher oil changes that I paid. Just have to find the right mechanic at the dealer and only let that person work on your car.


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  10. #8
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    Yes, it really matters. I used my Honda dealer as long as I had warranty; but after that I checked with Honda and Toyota on what they would charge for my 35,000 maintenance. Honda and Toyota wanted over $900 and my local state of the art mechanic charged me less than $200 (although I elected not to replace the spark plugs). Since then have done the 50K with changing brake, power steering, coolant and tranny fluids for around $450.

  11. #9
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    I'll go to the dealer about every 2-3 oil changes. Even though my van is out of warranty (not the powertrain yet), they've taken care of any tech service bulletins for free when I did go in for an oil change. I throw them a bone and they throw one to me. Unfortunately I have to drive 40 minutes to this particular dealer because my local dealer is less than favorable in the service department.

  12. #10
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    Independent mechanic!

    I go to a independent mechanic. When I bought my Ody, I never took it to the dealer unless my mechanic said it was something under warranty, or for a recall (which I know about anyway). He DOES tell me to go to the dealer for anything under warranty.

    One of the times when I was at the dealer, they broke the right side drivers arm rest. It no longer stayed horizontal, but was pointing down about 12° (when not turned up). I complained about it, and it took them a day to fix it. After about a week it 'unfixed' itself, and I'm living with it.

    When you go to the dealer, you talk to the service writer. When you come to p/u your car, it's someone else. When you go to an independent, you talk to the guy that does the work.
    Last edited by Stan; 03-27-2019 at 04:49 PM.

  13. #11
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    Service - dealer or private mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I go to a independent mechanic. When I bought my Ody, I never took it to the dealer unless my mechanic said it was something under warranty, or for a recall (which I know about anyway). He DOES tell me to go to the dealer for anything under warranty.

    One of the times when I was at the dealer, they broke the right side drivers arm rest. It no longer stayed horizontal, but was pointing down about 12° (when not turned up). I complained about it, and it took them a day to fix it. After about a week it 'unfixed' itself, and I'm living with it.

    When you go to the dealer, you talk to the service writer. When you come to p/u your car, it's someone else. When you go to an independent, you talk to the guy that does the work.
    The key is to find the right mechanic, the actual person who will work on your car (dealer or non dealer). When I drop my car, I do it based on that mechanic’s schedule and ask the dealer to only assign it to him.


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    Can an independent dealer clear the Maintenance code that appears on the dash?

  15. #13
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    Service - dealer or private mechanic

    You can clear that yourself in the cluster. Anyone with OBD tool can clear codes but he may not know or fix the root cause. For new vehicles things may be covered under warranty or recalls or tech bulletins that the independent mechanic will not know about or won’t do for free because Honda is not paying him.


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  16. #14
    Registered User GoLowDrew's Avatar
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    I'll offer an actual example. It's good to have a independent good mechanic that you trust. They can take care of the regular service, oil changes, filters, brakes, etc.

    I have a high school friend that is an excellent mechanic. 30+ years of experience. But he does not work on Hondas and did not know about the 3X ATF. That's something that was originally listed on a TSB. He does not know this because he really "doesn't" need to know it. And can't possibly know everything about every single car.

    Like others said, it's best to use both, a dealership and independent mechanic. And also discussion forums such as this where we share info that is specific on the Odyssey.

    There are times, even factory trained techs by Honda does not know some of the things members here know. That's because if it's not in the book, they never learn it.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoLowDrew View Post
    That's because if it's not in the book, they never learn it.
    Yeah, at least not collectively. I believe that dealerships have good techs who continually add to their knowledge, but there's not always an incentive for them to share what they learned.

    Independent techs on the other hand survive only if they continually learn from their own and others' experiences. They don't have the advantage of the flashy sign that automatically brings in customers like bugs drawn to a bright light. Even so, they are not all super-techs.

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