(Dealership Versus Independent Body Shop)

Have you ever…  

Gotten rear-ended? (And, yes, those bumps in the parking lot count.)

Hit what you thought was a pebble but turned out to be a boulder? 

Heard your engine make a really weird noise?

Experienced all of the above?

Experienced all of the above at the SAME TIME?

Now, we know there’s SO MUCH when it comes to repairs: the type of repair you need, where you go to get it repaired, and everything else that comes with it.

But that’s why you’re here…Because you know the world of car repairs is filled with expensive and confusing deals. 


You also know that we are good friends with the world of car repairs. We can strip down all the technical terms and get to the point. Best part? Reading this costs nothing. 

Now, let’s save you A LOT of money. 

#1: Know the Repair You’re Going In For

There’s two types of repairs: mechanical and collision repair. We’ll get into collision in just a minute, but right now let’s focus on mechanical. 

Just what is a mechanical repair? 

It’s that little squeak you hear every five minutes, the one that didn’t come with your car. It’s your muffler quitting on you. It’s rust showing up near the tire. 

There are many things that fall under the term “mechanical repair”. But the short and sweet of it is that these are the kinds of repairs that just happen. One day, something sounds different. The car drives differently. There’s a new light showing up on your dashboard. Something’s changed and if you don’t get it checked out soon, you’ll be spending $650 when you could’ve spent only $60. 

On the other hand, a collision repair comes from, you guessed it, a collision. Getting rear-ended, T-Boned, these are the accidents that happen out on the road. 

Now it’s true that you can’t predict accidents. And it’s hard to know when your car is going to break down. But here’s how you can walk away with 1,000s of dollars saved:

Know where you’re going to take your car BEFORE you have problems.

#2: Know Where You’re Going BEFORE You Need to Go

So, you’re ready to save yourself some money. But where to go? There’s that fancy dealership that’s only a few miles away. But there’s also that auto body shop you pass on your way to the grocery store. Not to mention all the other options Google gives you when you look up “auto shop”.

Sound stressful?

It does NOT have to be.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of going to a dealership versus an independent body auto shop. 

Now let’s look at dealerships. It turns out that most dealerships do not have body shops. Instead, they send any requests for repairs to a body shop of their choice. 

In other words? Taking your car to the dealership won’t actually get the repairs done. Instead, you’ll have to deal with a dealership AND a third-party. Which means there’s more chances for delays with repairs, for mark-ups on repair rates –– all in all, a lot more trouble and money than it’s worth.

Independent body shops, on the other hand, are a lot more reliable. There is no third-party you have to deal with, it’s just them. They can also quote you for aftermarket or rebuilt parts, which saves you a lot of money in return for quality parts. And thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, you can get your car repaired at an independent body shop WITHOUT voiding or violating the manufacturer’s warranty.

Now you may be thinking, “But what about the dealership parts? What about all those fancy protections they can add onto a repair?”

Dealerships will offer what are called OEM parts –– Original Equipment Manufacturer parts. These tend to be much more expensive and not always great quality. Aftermarket or rebuilt parts, in comparison, can be better than the original*.

#3: Add-Ons –– Are They a Waste of Time and $$$?

Rust Protection. Rust Repair. Extended Rust Repair Warranty.

If you can think of another way to say “Keep your car from rusting”, chances are there’s a dealership out there that’s copyrighted the term and is making a deal on it as we speak. 

But what do the add-ons actually do?

Thanks to legal caveats, not much. Yes, you can pay the extra $700 for the paint protection. But there is a big chance you’ll end up going through an additional $2000 only to find out that there was a “catch”. There was some legal phrase or term in the contract that says you’re actually not covered.

So instead of spending an extra $3,000, go to someone who does that job for a living. Many independent shops focus only on one thing. Tires, paint, so on and so forth. Unlike a dealership, who dabbles in a bunch of areas, this is their specialty. Which means they’re going to be your experts when it comes to what’s necessary and chances are it’ll cost you A LOT less.

Bottom line, going to a dealership will probably result in spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars for something that won’t work. But how do you find that independent shop that’s going to get the job done? The quality of parts depends on the quality of the shop. 

That’s where Part 2 comes in 😉

We’ll be posting that soon, but in the meantime if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 847-526-1343 or visit our website at sharpautobody.com . We are always happy to help!

How to Save 1000’s of Dollars at the Body Shop: Part 1