June 19, 2024
Car Maintenance

Car Owners Prefer Independent Repair Shops and Chains Over Dealers – CR

It’s no surprise that when it comes to car repairs, owners tend to prefer independent repair shops and chains over dealerships. This preference is highlighted in a recent report released by Consumer Reports. The report focused on owner experiences with repairs at various auto repair centers, including chains like Goodyear, AAA Car Care, and Firestone, as well as independent shops and dealerships.

According to the survey of nearly 11,000 members who reported on 11,670 repairs, independent shops and chains scored higher in attributes like honesty, cost, and quality of work. On the other hand, dealerships scored well in comfort and perks, while chains were praised for their convenience, with over 80% of respondents choosing a repair shop within 30 minutes of their homes.

However, some tasks require specialized equipment or training that only dealerships can provide. Brands like Tesla often require repairs to be done exclusively at branded service facilities. Despite this, there was little overlap between the highest-rated dealership experiences and the most commonly used repair centers. Brands like Acura, Lexus, Mazda, and Volvo received high ratings, although they were not the most frequented repair centers.

On the flip side, brands like Hyundai and Jeep were among the lowest-rated dealership experiences, along with Chrysler and Dodge. It’s interesting to note that owners of newer vehicles tend to opt for dealerships to maintain factory warranties and deal with specialized equipment, while owners of older vehicles prefer independent shops and chains.

If you’re interested in seeing the full list of ratings, you can visit Consumer Reports‘s website with a subscription.


Q: What are some advantages of independent repair shops and chains?

A: Independent shops and chains are often praised for their honesty, cost-effectiveness, and quality of work.

Q: Why do some owners prefer dealerships for repairs?

A: Owners of newer vehicles may opt for dealerships to take advantage of factory warranties and specialized equipment.

Q: Are there any tasks that only dealerships can handle?

A: Yes, tasks that require specialized equipment or training are typically best handled by dealerships.


When it comes to car repairs, owners have diverse preferences based on factors like the age of their vehicles and the type of repair needed. Independent repair shops and chains are favored for their honesty and cost-effectiveness, while dealerships offer comfort and perks. Ultimately, the choice of repair center depends on the individual’s needs and priorities.

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