DIY, repair shop or dealer
As the prices of new and used cars continue to rise due to increased demand and supply shortages, more and more people are trying to keep their current cars on the road longer.
But who can you trust to keep yours running: the dealer, an independent mechanic, or yourself?
Consumer Reports tells you when to try your hand at repairs and when to call a pro.
If your vehicle is still under warranty, always take it to the dealership for a covered repair.
The dealership will have the latest tools and training available.
And you should always take your car to the dealership for recall work and any issues with safety systems, including airbag and seat belt repairs.
This is due to the ever increasing complexity of hardware and software.
You’ll also want the dealership to tackle anything related to the infotainment system.
But for less complex repairs, like those involving brakes, suspension, spark plugs, and even an alternator, you can save money by going to an independent mechanic.
Independent stores generally have a lower labor rate and can reduce costs by using spare parts.
If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves, you can save even more.
Some repairs are really easy to do, like changing air filters, wiper blades, and even headlights.
The parts are inexpensive and readily available.
And if you don’t typically change your oil at home, Consumer Reports recommends going to the dealership.
While it may be more expensive than a chain store that does oil changes,
CR experts say it may be worth it for the higher quality oil and filter specific to your vehicle.
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