Why are independent garages able to work on modern cars when they lack the specialist experience?
Your correspondent in ‘Drain on Resources’ appears to be too simplistic in his views on independent garages and his preference to franchised dealerships. I have had some very bad experiences using dealerships to service and maintain the cars that they sold me. On one occasion my car was returned some 20 miles with no oil in the sump. Once it was returned with serious wing paint damage that had been crudely disguised. On yet another it was returned very hot, having completed significantly more mileage than collection, delivery and road testing could explain. On a third occasion I had the A/C switch checked during a service as I had problems with it. Having been told there was nothing wrong it then failed me in the middle of France during as heat wave and I was left without air con. I now use an independent garage in the Bosch scheme meaning that work is guaranteed by Bosch, but so far I have no complaints. During this period I have always asked a main dealership for a quote for the same work and it has always been higher but they always say they will match any other quote I receive. This means they are either overpricing or something worse, I feel. The real solution appears to be to find a garage you can trust and use it independent of its position (either franchised dealer or not).
The paper did not print his entire email. But the gist was that he was countering an angry independent whose email has appeared about a month previously. And he made the right points. Independents often do not have the correct specialised tools, parts or lubricants, or even experience to repair every make and model of highly complex modern car. You need to complain about your poor experience of franchised dealers to Motor Codes. That sets standards, and expels franchises that do not conform to them. I agree with your last sentiment, though. And for components such as automatic transmissions and air conditioning and diesel injection, use dedicated specialists rather than franchises.
Answered by Honest John on