It’s a time-old debate. When it’s time to take the car in for routine maintenance or something more significant, people often wonder if they should go to a big-name dealership or an independent shop.
The backing of a brand-name shop makes people think that’s the way to go. But, what if we told you that could possibly cost you more money, more time, and more headaches? Often, those headaches arise when people feel lost in the shuffle at a large dealership’s repair shop.
Let’s say you’re looking for Mercedes Benz repair. Would you trust it at a local repair shop that’s independently owned? Did you know there’s a very good chance the mechanics at that local repair shop will actually be more knowledgeable than those “brand name” mechanics?
Well, it’s a lot to uncover and there a few myths to debunk here. So, roll up your sleeves, be prepared to get a little grease on your hands, and come take a tour through the inner-workings of independent repair shops. We think you just may like what you find.
Right off the bat, this money-savings topic becomes a warranty vs. non-warranty conversation. When you buy a car under warranty, without question, you should take that car back to the dealership for repairs. However, with non-warranty items, independent repair shops often come out on top with their price points.
The cost of repairs, including parts and labor, are often less expensive at a local repair shop than a big-name dealer. You’ll note this as soon as you start to shop around for estimates. Shopping around will also tip you off to repair shops’ customer service skills (which we’re about to discuss in just a moment).
Let’s go a little deeper into this money-saving component. Everything we’re about to discuss can be boiled down to three things: cost-effectiveness, expert mechanics, and comforting customer service. So, why is it touted that independent mechanics may be able to offer more flexible price points on parts?
A lot if it has to do with OEM parts. OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. Basically, what we’re dealing with here is brand-name vs. generic. When you go to a big-name dealership for parts and service, they’re often going to search out OEM parts and give you an estimate based on those numbers.
But, there’s nothing wrong with aftermarket Mercedes Benz parts. In our experience, some of them are made with better materials and some even have longer warranties! It’s just like taking the brand-name prescription drug or the generic drug. In the end, won’t both often do the same?
You’ll often find that independent mechanics are jacks of all trades. Now, that’s not to say that the lead mechanic down at the top Mercedes dealer in town isn’t also a jack of all trades.
But, you won’t be surprised to find guys who specialize in various areas at big-name shops. There’s the tire guy, the oil guy, the transmission guy, and so on. Independent mechanics, however, have to learn how to do it all – and do it well.
This becomes a major benefit when you have a couple unrelated issues at one time. Servicing a Mercedes just became a whole lot easier because your mechanic will be likely to diagnose several problem areas all at once.
And here’s one more crumb for thought. If you’re at a Mercedes dealership, those guys are going to be Mercedes experts. That’s great, of course. But, what if you’re impressed with the quality of their work and your wife drives a BMW?
Well, you may or may not be able to take her car into that shop. Meanwhile, at an independent shop, they’re (hopefully) going to provide exceptional service on every make and model under the sun.
No big-name dealership will be able to be as flexible as a local car repair shop. Large corporations like that are tied to specific hours of operation, specific procedures, and price tags on car parts that typically can’t be negotiated down.
Local auto repair shops, however, are more likely to stick around after hours or make other accommodations. Perhaps large, corporate dealerships will have lovely service mechanics who will want to do the same. However, it’s not likely they’ll be permitted. Their hands will always be a little bit more tied than, say, a mom and pop shop in town.
Heart-Warming Customer Service
Now, this is a tough claim to make when dealing with Mercedes Benz repair in Forth Worth. Some of the big-name dealerships offer excellent customer service. They’re noted for it.
However, they’re lacking in their ability to provide heart-warming, almost familial-feeling service. And that’s not a knock on their desire to provide excellent customer service because they do have that same desire.
Rick and Ray’s is the best! The most trustworthy and excellent mechanics and staff. They treat their clients like family. My fluid flush, shocks/struts, and an issue I had with one of the doors were all repaired timely and for a reasonable price. They provided me with a rental car while they finished the repair. Picked up my car today and I am confident the work was done correctly, and I know my car is safe and well taken care of in their hands.
The difference is they’re running a huge dealership, answering to corporate honchos, and have streams of people flowing in and out all day long. Even if they wanted to pass out champagne flutes in white gloves, they’d be limited because of the sheer size of their operation.
Going to a shop that’s smaller and has a solid crew of members that work together like a family will quickly prove to be a major benefit to you simply because they’ll have more bandwidth to spend time with you and make follow-up phone calls.
Loyalty: It’s a Two-Way Street
You can be loyal to your local Mercedes Benz dealer all you want. They’ll probably know you by name and recognize you when you go in for your routine oil change. But, will they always go the extra mile for you?
Auto repair mechanics who make it their lifelong dream to own their own shop are going to be grateful for their loyal customers. Very quickly, they become the backbone of their business. So, a little flexibility on time here and a little flexibility on cost there makes for a win-win situation for everyone involved.
How to Maintain Your Mercedes Benz
Even if you love your mechanic (which we hope you do), you probably don’t want to see him all the time (at least not within the confines of the shop). So, how do you keep your beautiful Benz serviced, repaired, and on the road? Here are a few tips.
Rotate Your Tires
We all know how important routine oil changes are. Our advice to you is to schedule a tire rotation with every oil change.
Typically, tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles and that may align with your routine oil changes. Once the tires go out of alignment, they begin to cause premature wear and, as we all know, those tires that don’t come too cheap.
Check Your Engine Oil
If you’re getting your oil changed regularly, why should you have to pop open the hood and check the engine oil every now and again?
Well, this is a wise thing to do because anytime milky brown engine oil is spotted, it’s a red flag. And you should learn to love red flags. They’re telling you something’s wrong before it becomes major.
Engine oil that’s off-color can mean a wide variety of things. Sometimes it’s caused by a blown head gasket or a failed transmission cooler. There could also be cracked casings (and any leak is a bad leak).
Inspect Your Battery
Once you’ve inspected your engine oil, move over to the battery next. You always want to see good, strong electrical connections.
Don’t be afraid to inspect and clean battery cables and terminals to ensure they’re providing sound, steady electrical connections.
Don’t Ignore Check Engine Lights
Sure, when a check engine light comes on, the car doesn’t usually come to a screeching halt until you take it in for repair. No, you can (typically) keep driving it. But, that’s doesn’t mean everything’s a-okay.
Those sensors come on for a reason. And, from our experience, a check engine light that goes on for too long can lead to long-term problems and big, fat failures when it’s time for an emissions test.
Note the 30,000 Mile Mark
The 30,000 mile mark always sounds alarm bells in our minds. Even in our personal cars, we know that, after we’ve put 30,000 miles on it, it’s time to poke around a little deeper.
The first thing we inspect is the fuel filter. Feel free to check your owner’s manual for confirmation, but most fuel filters need to be replaced every 30,000 miles to continue providing dependable performance.
After the fuel filter, we check the spark plugs. Spark plugs, too, are generally replaced every 30,000 miles. This is done to maintain good fuel economy and peak engine performance.
Fort Worth Dealerships
As customers come in and out of our shop, we often get to talking to them about the various places they’ve purchased their vehicles. Here, we do a lot of repairs on European cars, so we see a lot of Mercedes, Audis, BMWs, Porsches, and Volkswagens.
If you’re looking to step into a new Mercedes, here are three of the best dealerships in town:
- Park Place Motorcars – This is a well-known dealer noted for their superior experience with service and parts (as well as their comfy waiting room stocked with bagels and coffee).
- Sewell – This dealership has a fantastic showroom filled with luxury cars. They, too, are noted for their exemplary performance in sales, service and parts, and customer service.
- Mercedez-Benz Grapevine – Over in Grapevine (about 20 miles away), there’s one more dealer with sales reps that are consistently given 5-star ratings. People tell us they’ve never had better customer service (in any arena, not just car-buying).
All this fabulous customer service aside, you also have the added benefit of car-buying in one of the best cities in the great state of Texas! We’re neighbors to good ol’ Dallas, but we have plenty of sparkle all on our own.
Fort Worth is the land of cowboys and culture. Residents and visitors love to drive their hot, new rides down to Sundance Square, one of the top downtown districts in all of America. We’re talking 35 blocks of shops, restaurants, live music, outdoor movies, and more.
We also have a bustling economy with big-name corporations headquartering here like Walmart, American Airlines, Bank of America, Amazon, Pier 1 Imports, and more. COVID aside, there’s plenty of opportunity to use your Mercedes for a lovely weekday commute to the office.
Meanwhile, the median value for a single family home is right around $215,000. That means there are plenty of driveways just waiting for a well-kept, classy Mercedes to pull up.
Your Mercedes Benz Repair Shop
So, there you have it! It’s hard to disregard mechanics that (contrary to common belief) are often more experienced in independent repair shops. Then, there’s also the customer service that warms the heart. Walking away from an experience with a repair shop that actually makes you want to go back is a big win.
And you know what they say. Everyone needs a good doctor and a good mechanic. So, whenever you find yourself in need of Fort Worth Mercedes Benz repair, we hope you’ll give us a call.
Here at Rick & Ray’s Auto Plaza, our service technicians have nearly a century of combined experience. Our goal has always been to provide professional automotive maintenance at honest prices.
You’re probably thinking, “Everyone says that.” So, what sets us apart from the other guys? We believe it’s our investment in staffing, equipment, and technology. We make these three areas our top priority because it allows us to guarantee our ability to provide service for your every need.
With 13 lifts and 23 service bays, we’re going to get you back out on the road in no time at all. But, in the end, here’s what you’ll find: our prize possession is our attitude. We’ll get the job done for you and we’ll back it up with action. We look forward to speaking to you soon and getting to know you and your family.