Federal law protects your consumer rights
When you purchased your vehicle, whether from a new car dealership, used car lot or private individual, you entered into a contract to take ownership of the vehicle for an agreed-upon sum of money. What you did not do was sign over your right to decide where, when and how your vehicle would be repaired.
U.S. laws and other binding agreements protect your right to choose the service provider and replacement parts used to maintain and repair your vehicle. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 and the most recent agreement, based on the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, protects consumer choice by ensuring that independent service providers receive timely access to the same tools and information available to car dealers for diagnostic and repair purposes.
Choice in auto care
Whether you need a simple oil change, new tires, engine repair or transmission work, you have the right to choose where you get the repair done. In cases where the car repair is still covered by the vehicle manufacturer’s warranty, it makes sense to choose the dealership. But in other cases, an independent mechanic could provide more bang for your buck.
Need new tires? There’s no reason to rely on the car dealership to find the same brand and model that came on your vehicle – tire dealers and auto repair garages often carry or have access to the same tires at a reasonable price and might even be able to help you upgrade to a tire better suited to your driving habits.
Engine and transmission repair? There is an extensive network of highly qualified engine repair mechanics working at machine shops, remanufacturing businesses and repair garages. Many of these professionals have the latest training needed to restore your engine or transmission to like-new condition. In addition, the quality auto parts they use might represent improvements over original equipment components.
The same logic goes for any other repairs your car needs. Don’t feel compelled to take your vehicle straight to the dealership thinking it is your only option. Do your homework and take it to the place where you will get the best service.
Assurance of quality
How do you know you can trust an independent mechanic to offer the same level of diagnostic and repair expertise that is available through a dealership? Before taking your vehicle anywhere, research the garage or dealership online and talk to family and friends for their recommendations. These reviews are the lifeblood of any garage; any business will either succeed or fail based on its reputation.
Many of today’s vehicle repair shops have been owned and operated by the same families for multiple generations. These independent shops often require their mechanics to maintain standards set by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and other local, regional and national organizations. Many also invest in the latest automotive diagnostic tools to ensure they can accurately pinpoint and correct even the most complex problems.
Remember, your ability to choose where you take your vehicle for repairs is protected by the law. There’s no reason to believe that only a specific provider such as a car dealership has the tools and expertise to restore your vehicle’s safety, performance and reliability. Research your options and make your choice – it’s your right!
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.