Car Servicing At The Dealership: The Pro’s, Con’s And Myths

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Janelle Gonzalez

Oct 10, 2020

One of the biggest myths in the automotive industry is that your warranty will be void if you don’t take your car to the dealership. It’s not true.

Legally, as long as a licensed repairer services your car following your car’s logbook, your warranty will not be impacted.

Now, that’s not to say dealerships don’t have their perks, however it does give you the freedom to really ascertain whether servicing your car at the dealership is the best decision for you.

To lay it all out, we’ve explored the pro’s, the con’s and the myths of dealership servicing and repairs so you can make that choice yourself.

Car dealership Pro’s

  • Dealerships have access to the electronic scan tools specific to your make of vehicle.
  • They are usually the experts in the make and model of your car as they only deal with one specific brand.
  • This one is particularly handy – they often have a loan car available while your car is in being serviced. Be warned though, sometimes the waits for one can be up to 2 months.

Car dealership Cons

  • As far as car servicing goes, dealerships tend to be the most expensive option.
  • Beware of the upsells! Dealerships are notorious for them. They will present you with a job card with all of these extras pre-printed, leading you to believe your car needs it. Always say no.
  • Even a basic service will still take a whole day. Typically you will have to drop your car off at 8am and pick it up at 5pm. That’s a whole day without your car. Depending on the work required, this can often extend to two days and beyond.
  • Most dealerships will have transport, but they’re limited to times and destinations.
  • Likely, you’ll never talk to the mechanic who actually fixes your car. Instead, all of your dealings will be with a receptionist and service adviser, so all information relayed is second hand.

The myths   

  • ‘Fixed-price’ and ‘free’ servicing reduces your servicing cost.
    Unfortunately, not actually true. Dealerships make most of their profit not from new car sales, but from servicing and repairs. This means they need to make money from your ‘fixed’ or ‘free’ service packages. You’ll find that in many cases standard items such as batteries, tyres, wheel alignments and other repairs aren’t included and you’ll be constantly upsold unnecessary things like air-conditioning services and injection flushes.
  • In-car software is updated at every service.
    Only the dealership can update manufacturer-installed software (such as GPS), however this does not happen at every service. In fact, software updates happen quite rarely. Ask your dealer what updates have happened since your last service. If it’s nothing significant, then feel free to shop around for a better price.
  • Your vehicle is being recalled.
    Manufacturers have begun using minor issues as a reason for a “recall” to get a customer back in. At this point they will upsell you a service and other repairs. It’s simply a marketing tactic dealerships use to stop customer leakage. If you do get a legitimate recall, by all means get it fixed. But you don’t have to agree to extra paid work. Feel free to go to your regular mechanic or shop around for a better price.
  • Your warranty will be void.
    As I mentioned earlier, dealerships like you to think that your car must be returned to the dealership for servicing to keep your warranty intact. The fact is this is not true. As long as a licensed repairer services your car according to your car’s logbook, your warranty will not be impacted.

The Finish Line

Overall, choosing to service your car at a dealership is up to you. Is it a warranty requirement? Absolutely not. Is it going to be more expensive? Probably. Personally, I find them much too quick to jump on an upsell, I hate not being able to speak to the mechanic who’s actually working on my car and just can’t get over the inefficiency of losing my vehicle for a whole day. If you decide to ditch the dealership and need a new mechanic, check out this guide on How to find a good mechanic.

To find a reliable mechanic in your area, head to Blue Toro’s service areas page.


By Janelle Gonzalez

Corporate escapee and mechanic’s wife Janelle Gonzalez has spent the last 24 years in garages, pit lanes and on road trips. Living a double life - corporate by weekday, trackside on the weekends - she shares her husband’s passion for cars. She has now turned her skills to building Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise. Her mission is to help Australians trust mechanics by educating car owners and returning to good old fashioned service values, while changing the lives of mechanics and their families.


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