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Car repair shops

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What's behind our car repair shop Ratings?

The Consumer Reports National Research Center comprises highly trained social scientists, including 9 Ph.D.s, using state-of-the-art techniques to survey more than 1 million consumers each year about products, services, health care and consumer issues.
We look for:
  • Overall satisfaction with dealer shop
    Overall satisfaction with repair at a dealer shop.
  • Cost at Dealer
    Rating of satisfaction with price paid for repair at a dealer shop.
  • Overall satisfaction with independent shop
    Overall satisfaction with repair at an independent shop.
  • Cost at Independent
    Rating of satisfaction with price paid for repair at an independent shop.
  • Difference in Satisfaction between Dealer shops and Independents
    Refelcts the difference in overall satisfaction with repairs at dealer and independent shops for each make of car.

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Unless you’re a car mechanic yourself, dealing with a repair shop may require a leap of faith. But if you pay attention to what your mechanic says (and does), you’ll find clues that could tell you whether you’re being bamboozled. If you're looking for information about car repair shops, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ car repair shop reviews will give you honest advice that you can trust. Use our car repair shop buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and car repair shop reviews to help you choose the best car repair shop for your needs.

Car repair shop buying guide

Car repair shop buying guide

When it's time to take the car in for routine maintenance and especially for repairs, remember this: In general, independent repair shops continue to get higher marks for satisfaction than car dealers, according to the results of our latest Annual Auto Survey.

Every year, we ask car owners how satisfied they were with auto repairs performed by dealerships and independent shops in the previous 12 months. This year, we got responses on 168,000 vehicles.

Regardless of whether service was performed at an auto dealer or an independent repair shop, we found satisfaction scores to be higher overall for maintenance than for repairs. That is not surprising, given that repairs are often more expensive, time consuming, and aggravating than scheduled service.

Those who prefer independent repair shops the most are owners of Chrysler, Dodge, Jaguar, Jeep, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo vehicles, who, as a group, tended to be less satisfied with dealership repairs than owners of most other brands.

For dealer repairs, Lexus, Acura, Lincoln, Buick, Porsche, and Cadillac owners were among the more satisfied. Land Rover, Jaguar, Dodge, and Jeep owners were among the less satisfied.

For maintenance, owners of Buicks and Lincolns were among the more satisfied, followed closely by Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet. With those brands, there was little difference in satisfaction between those who had their cars serviced by dealers and those who went to independent mechanics. Suzuki, Smart, Mitsubishi, Scion, and Mazda owners were among the less satisfied with dealer maintenance overall.

The accompanying Ratings charts show the satisfaction ratings for dealers and independent shops. While there is not a large spread between the best and worst, there are trends worth considering when shopping for your next car.

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