Survey: Drivers Report Higher Satisfaction With Independent Repair Shops Over Dealerships

March 21, 2024
Independent shops took the cake for trustworthiness, fair prices, well-trained techs, and good reputations.

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that many drivers prefer going to independent shops over dealership service departments.

The survey compiled results from 10,973 Consumer Reports members who have received 11,670 repairs at 36 auto repair chains and independent shops (the two are grouped), and dealerships. Consumer Reports focused on surveying those who had received repairs they paid for out of pocket, as opposed to recall or warranty work.

Vehicle owners were questioned on 12 areas related to transparency, timeliness, reliability, and pricing. Of all the facilities they visited, independent repair shops were the only type that received top scores in overall satisfaction, alongside the Goodyear Auto Service chain.

When it came to dealership service departments, the results were mixed, with some brands performing better than others. Acura, Lexus, Mazda, and Volvo service departments all received high scores in overall satisfaction, while Jeep and Kia scored below average, with Hyundai close behind them.

Owners of certain vehicle models did show a higher probability of going to a dealership for service: Tesla (89%), Cadillac (61%), Audi (54%), Ram (54%), and Subaru (52%) were the most likely, while on the other hand, Chevrolet (43%), Hyundai (40%), Jeep (39%), Chrysler (31%), and Dodge (29%) were the least likely.

Independent shops saw great ratings in satisfaction with price, contrasted with dealerships, with nearly all of them receiving the lowest possible rating–save for Acura and Tesla, which received marginally better scores. Additionally, only independent shops were rated positively for willingness to negotiate on prices.

While drivers did express appreciation for the comfort of dealership waiting areas and their availability of loaner vehicles, independent shops took the cake for trustworthiness, fair prices, well-trained techs, and good reputations.

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