Herb Chambers News

Should you service at a dealership or an independant repair shop?

It probably won’t surprise you what my answer is to this question. Of course I think the dealer, particularly The Herb Chambers Companies, is a better choice. I obviously know my answer seems self-serving. However, I have plenty of facts to back up my contention.

Conventional wisdom is that bringing your vehicle to an independent repair shop is a lot less expensive than going to a dealer. I am not going to try and dispute that the independent might be cheaper, but is cheap what you really want for your vehicle and how much are you really going to save?

Tricia Hecker, head of marketing at Mopar, Chrysler’s service arm, says, “There’s no significant difference in cost, despite the commonly held perception that dealer service is higher and customers are assured use of original equipment manufacturer parts, which are typically of higher quality.”

The use of genuine original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) parts and lubricants that meet the OEM’s exacting specifications is a significant plus on the dealer’s side. Time and again we have had to redo service and repairs performed by an independent repair shop.

An acquaintance of mine had brake pads installed by a local mechanic. Immediately after, his brakes started squealing. He took his vehicle back to the independent and was told they were fine. He finally brought his car to us and we replaced his aftermarket pads with OEM pads and the squealing immediately stopped. He ended up paying twice for the same repair.

In another incident a client had his transmission fluid replaced at an independent shop and they used the wrong fluid. The transmission failed and even though it was under warranty, the vehicle’s manufacturer refused to pay for the transmission because the wrong fluid was used.

Did you know that many independent and quick lube shops are using recycled oil when performing an oil change? The contention is that it is better for the environment to recycle oil. That might be true, but is it better for your vehicle?

A March, 2013 U.S. Customer Service Index by J.D. Power and Associates found that vehicle owners who visit dealers for service are far more satisfied than those who went to independent facilities and it has been increasing every year. Customers of dealer facilities found satisfaction with the overall dealer experience, when compared with non-dealer facilities. “Manufacturers and dealers have put a lot of investment into the customer experience in the past few years and we see that reflected in the scores,” said Chris Sutton, senior director of J.D. Power’s automotive retail practice.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there are many talented and honest independent mechanics out there. Having said that, I ask that you consider the value and not just the cost when you decide where you want your vehicle serviced and repaired.

In addition to genuine OEM parts and the right virgin lubricants you will receive at a Herb Chambers dealership; you also get the following:


  • Did you know that, according to the Ford Motor Company, a new Ford Taurus has three times as many lines of code as a Boeing 777 and twenty times more than the original Space Shuttle? Simply put, your vehicle is far more complex and requires a higher level of expertise than the typical independent can offer.
  • On average, over 40,000 customers visit our Herb Chambers locations for mechanical repair work, maintenance work and/or warranty repairs on a monthly basis.
  • We employ over 415 technicians who are factory trained and/or certified.
  • We have the latest diagnostic equipment to assist our technicians with detailed, comprehensive diagnoses.
  • We invest over $600,000 annually to keep our staff up to date on the latest technological advancements in the products we sell and service. A typical new technician will have over one hundred hours of classroom and hands on training from the manufacturer before they touch one of our client’s vehicles.
  • We have technical support links to each manufacturer we service. This is available to provide our technicians with an added dimension of competency.
  • Our collision centers are also certified through the manufacturer’s stringent guidelines for cosmetic and structural repairs on steel and aluminum vehicles.


  • Each of our dealerships is kept up to date on the latest shop equipment to service your vehicle.
  • Each of our dealerships has every “special tool” designed by the manufacturer for special and specific repair applications on your vehicle.
  • We carry, on hand, over $11,000,000 dollars of factory replacement parts.
  • We offer a complete line of factory accessories available to help personalize your vehicle.
  • Available for your needs, are three large collision centers equipped with the most up to date equipment designed for today’s vehicles.


  • Alternative transportation is available while your vehicle is being serviced.
  • Pick-up and delivery service is available at many locations.
  • Shuttle service is available to and from home, work, and shopping malls.
  • Cafe service (not all locations)
  • Children play areas
  • TV in waiting areas
  • Business Center for your personal computer use
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • We have express lane services for fast turnaround.
  • We offer complimentary wash and vacuum with each service visit
  • Each and every repair or service is recorded into our computer system for reference at any time. The manufacturer’s warranty history from date of delivery is also available to our staff for reference at any time. If you service at an independent shop you must maintain your records to be able to prove you have performed required services to protect your warranty.
  • We are your tire store. Our clients purchased over 50,000 factory replacement tires last year from us.

Pricing and Peace of Mind

  • We offer very competitive pricing on all service work and safety checks.
  • Service & parts coupons are available on www.herbchambers.com.
  • All work performed is guaranteed for a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles.
  • Every time your vehicle is in for service it is checked against the manufacturer’s site for open recalls with the proper steps taken to complete the required service. Independents cannot perform warranty repairs other than at your expense.

No, there is no question in my mind where you should have your vehicle serviced and repaired. I hope that after reading this you will understand and agree with my contention. If you are currently servicing at an independent, why not give any one of our over fifty dealerships a try? I will guarantee you that when you consider the value you receive, it will far outweigh any cost difference.

Thanks for letting us serve you.

Herb Chambers

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