Drivers who are in need of finding a European car shop have several options. Those include going to an independent European car shop, a department or chain-store franchise, or going to the dealership. Deciding where to go does not have to be a difficult decision if you understand the differences between service centers and how they can be of ultimate benefit for you and your car’s situation.
Finding a local European car shop can be of immense help to you as finding the right one can be a rewarding experience. Independently owned facilities tend to be smaller than department store franchise shops and dealerships in that they have a much smaller volume of customers which will make it easier for them to establish a relationship with you.
Look for a place where the mechanics are certified. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifies auto technicians in the following areas: automotive, medium/heavy trucks, truck equipment, school or transit bus repair, engine machinist, alternative fuels, parts specialist, auto service specialist, and estimate specialist. A technician becomes a master technician when he has mastered each of these areas of study. Therefore, when you are considering a European car shop, make sure there is a technician on staff that is specially trained for your specific needs. For example, if you are in need of engine repair, you should find a mechanic that is ASE certified as an engine machinist.
Most people take their new cars to the dealership for repairs and maintenance because of their warranties. This is another thing to consider if you are considering an independent shop. Because independents get more used car volume with older model vehicles, they tend to have more experience working on them rather than new models. A reputable European car shop should be willing to discuss their credentials with you. They should have the specialized tools and diagnostic equipment for your make of vehicle, as well as, carry Original Factory Parts so any repairs done will carry a warranty on the parts and labor while keeping your vehicle 100% authentic.
You can also consider taking your car into a department or chain-store franchise. Your benefit there would be that chain-stores usually advertise free services for routine services like tune-ups and oil changes. Unfortunately “free” services may not always turn out to be that way in that it is common for places like this to make that money back by inspecting your vehicle and trumping up a bogus repair. If this happens, always get a second opinion.
Work under factory warranty should always be done at the dealership. They have the best trained mechanics that are trained to fix problems that pop up with new car models. The downside is that dealer overhead is high in that they pay their technicians more than independents and department franchises. Because of this, expect to pay a pretty penny for repairs not covered under warranty work.