Foreign Car Repair at a Dealership or Mechanic? Pros and Cons of Each


Owning a foreign car, such as a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, isn’t all just feeling the breeze in your hair as you cruise down the highway—it also comes with the hitch of having to perform expensive repairs and maintenance on your priceless luxury item to keep it in tip-top shape.

The decision between a dealership or an independent mechanic for your foreign car repair has many pros and cons. Your choice ultimately depends on your preferences and priorities when it comes to convenience, price, diagnostics, and general auto repair needs.

(P.S. If choosing between these options is still overwhelming, no worries – We Buy Exotics has a hassle-free solution for you at the bottom).

Pros and Cons of Taking Your Exotic Car to the Dealership:

1. Expertise in Their Own Vehicles:

  • Pro: Dealerships often hire and train technicians right at their location, which means they have the most in-depth knowledge of your specific foreign car brand. For example, a technician trained exclusively in a Porsche dealership will know exactly how to fix your Porsche in the most effective and fastest way possible.
  • Con: This expertise may come at a premium, potentially raising the cost of routine maintenance and repair services.

2. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Parts:

  • Pro: Dealerships use genuine OEM parts, ensuring the highest quality repair and parts replacement for your luxury vehicle.
  • Con: Using genuine OEM parts at a dealership raises the pricetag significantly over replacing parts with cheaper, comparable alternatives.

3. Warranty Coverage:

  • Pro: Repairs under warranty are typically covered. Plus, these warranties may be extended with shops that use ASE-certified technicians and original equipment.
  • Con: The warranty may have restrictions or may only be applied for a limited time frame. Additionally, out-of-warranty services at dealerships can be costly.

4. Better Diagnostics:

  • Pro: Dealerships have access to advanced diagnostic tools for their own vehicles, ensuring accurate identification of issues. For example, let’s say you bought the newest Ferrari model, but something happened that requires you to get air conditioning service. A Ferrari dealership has access to proprietary information on this new Ferrari model that will help their technicians diagnose and repair problems on the cooling system efficiently; meanwhile, this information may not be available to independent mechanics for some time, making the diagnosis of issues difficult and time-consuming.
  • Con: This access to proprietary information and sophisticated diagnostic tools can contribute to higher overall automotive service and repair costs.

5. Flat Rate:

  • Pro: In many dealerships, payment is generally at a “flat rate,” so if the technician goes under or over the allotted time, you still pay the same amount in car care costs.
  • Con: Flat rates can encourage technicians to cut corners or shy away from working on difficult jobs.

Pros and Cons of Taking Your Exotic Car to an Independent Mechanic:

1. Cost-Effective:

  • Pro: Independent mechanics offer more competitive labor rates due to lower overhead costs.
  • Con: Quality can vary, and finding a trustworthy independent mechanic is crucial for foreign car service.

2. Personalized Service Experience:

  • Pro: Independent auto repair shops are often local businesses; therefore, they might provide a more customer-centric, high-quality service experience; plus, it’s always great to support your local community.
  • Con: While they are local and provide a personalized experience, they may lack the brand-specific expertise found in dealerships, especially for European vehicles like BMWs, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

3. Flexibility in Parts Selection:

  • Pro: Independent mechanics can use aftermarket parts, potentially providing more affordable alternatives.
  • Con: The condition of aftermarket items varies, while OEM parts usually have consistent quality. Additionally, if you go with an affordable alternative, it may void some warranties.

4. Expertise in All Cars:

  • Pro: Since they have many years of experience working with cars of various makes and models, independent mechanics have a wider breadth of knowledge that allows them to tackle complex automotive repairs. This is especially true for repairs on older vehicles.
  • Con: Independent mechanics may not have as much in-depth experience working with newer, foreign cars.

5. Convenience:

  • Pro: With repair shops located all over the country, the convenience of finding an independent mechanic allows you to save valuable time. Dealerships—especially those selling and servicing exotic cars—are few and far between, requiring traveling longer distances. Another great thing about local repair shops is that many of them now have comfortable customer lounges with Wi-Fi access while you wait for your repairs to be performed.
  • Con: While finding a repair shop is convenient, securing an appointment is not always convenient as it may involve a significant wait time because they are servicing many other types of common cars like Volkswagens, Volvos, Hondas, Nissans, Minis, Mazdas, Subarus, Toyotas, and more.


We Buy Exotics – Your Stress-Free Solution

Luxury cars are magnificent feats of engineering, but sometimes, the repairs and maintenance services they require make owning one difficult. If the thought of having to continuously and meticulously schedule oil changes, brake service, or diagnostics feels like a hassle, consider a stress-free alternative: offload the vehicle to us!

We Buy Exotics specializes in purchasing exotic cars, even those in need of repairs.*

Whether it’s a minor tune-up or a major auto service, our team offers a fair quote and handles the entire process. Don’t let the check engine light stress you out – contact We Buy Exotics for a hassle-free solution.

We buy luxury cars of all models and makes, including Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Audis, and more.

*Depending on certain conditions, we may ask the seller to perform an inspection before completing a purchase.