3 Types of Automobile Repair Shops

3 Types of Automobile Repair Shops

The 3 Types of Automobile Repair Shops

Looking to get your car repaired? Here are the pros and cons of dealerships, independent garages, and specialty shops.

When your car is damaged in a collision, weather event, act of vandalism, or simple wear and tear, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to go to get repairs. Some people swear by the local mom and pop garage, while others say you absolutely need to take it into a dealership to get the job done right.

When you have a unique need like auto hail repair, it gets even more complicated. Do you need to go to a specialist? Or is a regular shop fine?

To help you decide, here are the three main types of auto repair shops to help you make the best decision about where to take your car.

#1. The Dealership

The dealership refers to the repair shop that’s generally located inside of the dealership you bought your car from. For many people, this is the go-to option whenever they need their car serviced or repaired. In theory, taking your car into the dealership should be the best choice. They have access to all of the information specific to your vehicle and trained staff who know how to fix it. This is especially useful when you have a car that takes non-standard equipment or fluids, which is particularly common among luxury cars.

The main drawback to taking your car into the dealership is that it can be expensive. They tend to charge more for labor and parts, and you may not have much negotiating power when it comes to getting a fair price. This can come into play when you have a basic repair that most auto technicians can do well, regardless of where they work.

#2. Independent Garage

An independent garage is an auto repair shop that’s not affiliated with any particular car company. These businesses are often family owned and operated, and they’re typically much smaller than dealerships. The advantage of going to an independent garage is that they’re usually less expensive than the dealership. They also may have more flexible scheduling, which can come in handy if you’re trying to get your car in for a repair on short notice.

The main downside of using an independent garage is that they may not have the same level of training or experience as the dealership. They also may not have access to the same high-quality parts, which can be an issue if you need a very specific part or want to get original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts rather than aftermarket ones.

Independent garages are also a bit unpredictable. Unless you have positive past experiences with a garage or know people who have, there’s no way of guaranteeing quality of service.

#3. Specialty Shops

A specialty shop is an auto repair business that focuses on fixing a specific type of problem or working on a particular kind of car. These shops usually have staff who are very experienced and knowledgeable in the area they specialize in. For example, there are auto body shops that only work on hail damage car repair, while others may focus exclusively on auto glass or collision repairs.

Specialty shops are useful when you have a very particular type of repair need — especially if it involves a unique complication. Dent repair, collision repair, air conditioning or electrical issues, and brake and transmission issues are all specialty areas that are best left to mechanics who have expert training in that particular area.

Specialty shops can range in quality, but most of them employ technicians who are highly skilled. They also usually offer their services at a more reasonable price than both independent garages and dealerships, since they probably already have all the specialized gear and parts on hand.


There are three main types of auto repair shops, and each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Dealerships are best at knowing your unique car model, independent garages are best in price and doing more routine work, and specialty shops are best for when you have a unique repair need. All three options are available to consumers, and the best option depends on your individual car and needs.