Independent Garages vs. Authorized Service Centers

What happens if one day your money-saving warranty runs out and you need to get your car serviced? And say you decide that the safest is to get it done in a dealership garage, since they are authorized. But what if your neighbor or cousin says he knows this really good mechanic who will do a much better job? He also says that you will save a lot of money by him. How do you decide?

For a start, let us see how each of them operates on a daily basis:

Dealership service units:

  • Dealership units work on hundreds of vehicles each month and have many reliable service bays and factory-trained technicians who are aware of the expertise.
  • The most assuring characteristic of dealerships is that they specialize in repairing and maintaining your particular car brand only.
  • Under dealership, if your car is under a warranty, the manufacturer covers the cost of most of the repairs. After the warranty expires also, you can buy an extended warranty.

Independent mechanics

  • These are comparatively smaller garages, however with multi brands in their consideration.
  • In this type of service, the customers meet directly with their preferred independent mechanic who is working on their car and give them their inputs.
  • Generally many independent garages are started and staffed by former dealership technicians and managers. Thus, it cannot be said that these mechanic services are any less than the authorized dealerships.
  • Some of the independent auto shops also honor third-party warranties.

These are the basic features of the independent and dealership service units. Observing these, one can say both have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, we must undertake a detailed analysis to compare both and see which one suits us more.

INDEPENDENT SERVICES

Overall Verdict: More personalized, often cheaper

Independent mechanics are ranked higher than dealership servicing for their customer satisfaction they offer, their price, their quality, their courteousness and on-time repairs, which has been highlighted according to a 2014 Consumer Reports survey.

Multi-Brand
GoBumpr multi-brand partner garage
  • As has been learned above, independent mechanics can be as technically proficient as the factory-trained dealership mechanics due to several undeniable reasons such as their owners being former dealership employees.
  • Independent garages can get you the original manufacturer parts for repairs and servicing if you are a fussy customer for originality, but they can also offer less expensive alternative parts or even rebuilt parts that would perform the same function.
  • As communication is a vital part of carrying out a successful service activity, it can be easier to build a personal relationship with the independent garages, since you speak directly with the mechanics there.
  • Independent mechanics mostly answer to you as they have no loyalty to the manufacturers. This is difficult for dealerships as they must show loyalty to the manufacturers.
  • All garages often start from scratch to build strong relationships with the paying customers without the years of free service to foster all goodwill they can.
  • Facilities in the garages are usually smaller and have fewer overheads than the dealerships. This means significantly lower prices for its customers.
  • Due to large numbers, it takes more work to find the right kind of auto shop, because there can be dozens of corner garages in the same town.

AUTHORIZED DEALERSHIPS

Overall Verdict: More specialized, may be a little expensive

Authorized
Authorized Service Partner

The biggest advantage with dealership service departments is that they can offer to you manufacturer-backed extended warranties and check for the latest repairs and recall bulletins every time you bring in your vehicle. But one thing is certain, if you stay with the dealership way, be prepared for slightly higher prices than usual. Always keep your owner’s manual handy so that you don’t have any unnecessary work done on your car. You may also consider signing up for the dealership’s mailing lists that are useful to know the updates. Coupons and deals it sends you may add up to big savings.

  • Dealership units pay higher salaries for their manufacturer-trained and highly experienced service technicians. This also means you’ll be paying higher prices for their services.
  • The technicians in dealerships are specifically and regularly trained for your auto brand only.
  • Dealership service departments are also required to use factory-made equipment and authorized parts from the manufacturer. This definitely ensures a high quality control on their part. But if a part is out of stock, the shipping times can be longer and the prices higher.
  • Dealership units have a regular flow of cars coming in for free repairs under their warranty plans, so they don’t have to work as hard to attract or keep their customers.

Thus stands the comparison between both dealership and independent units. We really hope we helped in getting you to decide which one is best suited for you. Happy Motoring! Let’s GoBumpr!

On Board Diagnostics (OBD) for Cars

On Board Diagnostics refers to any vehicle’s inherent ability to register and report issues and glitches that may occur, or have occurred within the system. One of OBD’s strengths is that it can detect problems long before the driver is even able to notice any symptoms, such as low-performance, lesser economy and heavy emissions. 

The OBD system functions by placing different kinds of sensors in vital areas of your vehicle, which report back to the diagnostic system whether those particular areas are working perfectly or not. When one or more sensors find a part of the vehicle that isn’t working within its designed specifications, the sensor triggers that warning light on the vehicle’s dashboard, indicating that the area needs to be addressed immediately.

There are something called as Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) that are stored in the system. The codes are not the same across all vehicles. A mechanic can connect to the OBD port and diagnose the problem by reading the corresponding DTC. Let us see the various types of Diagnostic Systems.

VARIOUS TYPES OF OBD

OBD I:

The primary diagnostic system OBD I has certain Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) in vehicles that can usually be found without an expensive scan tool. All manufacturers can use the DTC’s to diagnose location, definitions, procedures, connectors etc. DTCs from the OBD-I cars are often read through blinking patterns of a ‘Check Engine Light’ (CEL) or ‘Service Engine Soon’ (SES) light. The ‘Check Engine’ light will output a two-digit number that corresponds to a particular error condition. 

OBD II:

OBD II is a comprehensive update of the OBD I.  The OBD-II standards specify the type of diagnostic connectors and its pin-outs as well as all the electrical signaling protocols available and the messaging format. OBD II is predominantly used by garages and pro-mechanics. However, solutions are available now for consumer use as well. 

Due to it being a more holistic system, OBD-II is heavily used by all professional mechanics for diagnosing. However, there are consumer oriented products that can also take advantage of its diagnostic abilities.

OBD Port
OBD Port

Having seen these types, we must realize that unless we really derive some benefits from this system, we cannot really understand its efficiency. Let us see some key benefits of OBD.

BENEFITS OF OBD

  1. OBD helps the technicians properly diagnose and repair complex problems.
  2. It encourages the design of durable and robust engine optimization systems.
  3. Exhaust Emissions can regulated by identifying the emission controls in need of repair and also provides for effective/inexpensive emission inspections.
  4. It generally works for life of the vehicle.
  5. Early detection of malfunctions to prevent secondary malfunctions (e.g., detect misfire before catalyst damaged).
  6. Fault codes are given out by the system that can be negated Apart from this it can provide vital data about area of malfunction or the specific component where attention is required.

The OBD process consists of four simple steps that is carried out by the system in aid to diagnose the issues.

THE PROCESS OF OBD:

  1. Your system continuously monitors and assesses operating conditions.  
  2. It observes the signals entering the computer directly from the component/system, or related to the performance of the component/system.
  3. It then verifies the performance / functionality / rationality of the malfunction criteria.
  4. It finally notifies the driver of the particular fault by the illumination of warning indicator or stores the unique fault code and throws up an error on the instrument panel.

IMPACT OF OBD ON MULTI-BRAND GARAGE SERVICES

It is easy to make the assumption that a Toyota service center can diagnose a Toyota car to perfection, that being its product. However, the same is not easy to do for a multi brand garage as they spend more time to even diagnose the issue. An authorized service center of a brand would have no trouble in diagnosis simply because they built the cars they have to service. The same is not the case for multi brand garages which have to fulfill multiple demands. This is where the On Board Diagnostic System proves to be a huge boon. As shown in the benefits of OBD, it can prove a life-saver for garages servicing multi brand cars. Their technicians just have to combine their expertise with an apt reading of the OBD codes to diagnose the problems. This in turn leads to faster checkout of serviced vehicles, easier diagnosis and better quality of service rendered.

OBD Diagnosis.jpg
OBD Diagnosis

Here at GoBumpr, On Board Diagnostics plays a big role in satisfying customers’ needs. We place our confidence with our own preferred multi-brand garages which carry out various responsibilities from our side. The garages affiliated with us make use of the benefits of OBD to diagnose and detect problems easily, assisting in proper application of apt solutions. So rest assured, you can safely contact us to service any car of yours that has any issue, small or big. Catch us on the Play Store under the name GoBumpr! or simply visit our website for more info.  

We hope we have given you a basic outline about On Board Diagnostics, its usage and benefits & hope that it helps you.  Wishing you a happy weekend and joyful rides!

Luxury cars VS Mainstream cars

Top Luxury Brands In India: BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo, Jaguar

Top Mainstream Brands In India: Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Nissan, Renault, Mahindra, Honda

Let us be honest. We would any day prefer to drive around the city in a BMW than in a Maruti Swift, wouldn’t we? Simply because it looks more stylish and appealing! But what if we really assessed the pros and cons of both luxury and mainstream cars or compared their usage? There is an underlying notion than mainstream cars are more dependable than luxury ones whether it is performance wise or comfort wise. Even though most of us go along with these notions, it is important to verify them factually. So, for a start, let us compare some of the key characteristics in a car and rate them for both luxury and mainstream, to assess which gives a better ownership experience overall:

Key Comparisons

1. Comfort: Undeniably, luxury cars tend to be more comfortable, spacious and powerful than the mainstream ones, that being their main uniqueness. Right from the upholstery in the seat to drivers’ delights like well-sorted suspension or a beautifully laid out rear seat, luxury cars do offer their money’s worth of comfort. On the other hand, to be fair, mainstream cars will offer the standard seating and spacing, but it just may not be enough to wow you.

Comparison between luxury and budget cars
Luxury – Budget Camparo
  1. Features: If you are paying a huge premium what you pay for mainstream cars, there has got to be something worthwhile in a luxury car. The feature-set of these cars prove it. Luxury cars usually have better sound systems, better lighting, a complex array of safety mechanisms, comfortable seating and a better finish overall.

  2. Branding and Image: Luxury cars give represent what you are professionally or character-wise. It upholds the image you want to portray of yourself as. A mainstream car will only be useful in this aspect to prove that you have a means of transport. If you do not care for such frivolities however, then a mainstream car will do you just fine.

  3. Sense of Belonging: Although this may be slightly frivolous again, owning a luxury brand car gives you a place among the other owners of such cars, who see you as a person with similar tastes. This can immensely help in building acquaintances professionally or socially. Mainstream car owner can just about catch their breath with the headaches of maintaining and servicing their cars so this sort of thing does not hold for them at all.

  4. Service: Due to the responsibility and accountability that the costs of luxury cars bring, most of its car brands have an excellent range of services which offer the best of quality, making it easy for a luxury car owner to maintain and pamper their car. Mainstream car services already face a lot of flak for irresponsibility, delay and lack of professionalism.

  5. Market Value: Logically speaking, the market value of a luxury car is almost never liable to drastically change. Apart from sophistication and comfort, stability is another important characteristic that the luxury car industry boasts of. While your mainstream car may hold your luck and ascend in market value, it can never guarantee a stable price in such a volatile market. Whereas in the luxury cars market which still has lesser numbers to play with, the vintage rates of the luxury cars rarely get subjected to change.

  6. Reduced risk: When a new mainstream vehicle enters the market, it hasn’t really undergone extensive consumer road testing due to the heavy pressure on the brands to deliver cars in a period. Often, it isn’t until after many people are using the car daily that some assembly line mechanical problem or quality control issues surface. By researching and looking up luxury vehicles online, you can uncover a huge wealth of performance reviews and real-world criticisms and commentary from everyday drivers simply because these luxury brands are always under the hammer of users.

    Sales Analysis Luxury VS Budget Cars
    Luxury vs Budget sales ( DISCLAIMER: Premium car sales data have been collated from specific brands. Actual figures may vary )
  7. Damage Control: In addition to the performance reviews, mileage and crash statistics for a luxury vehicle are better understood than that of a mainstream vehicle. The notion that luxury cars are more tender and subject to damage is not entirely true which has been proved with the fact that several of the luxury brands released reports of crash tests that show that their cars protect adequately too.

  8. Warranty: As we have discussed above, due to the absence of pressure on luxury brands to play by the numbers, they can afford to spend more time in testing the vehicles for each and every feature before releasing it. Now, the more the thoroughness, the lesser the risk of default in the vehicle, unless in extraordinary circumstances. And it is a common fact that those vehicles that have a rigorous selection process, as it happens in luxury industry, often have a longer and more inclusive standard warranty, due to lesser risk.

    So now that you have seen a brief analysis of the comparison, you would have realized that the only possible drawback in getting a luxury car is the finance. Once that is taken care of, there is no real discomfort in maintaining or driving or relishing a luxury car.

    To advice optimally in this matter, buying a used luxury vehicle is a wise choice for many car owners who hesitate to go in for one. It’s a smart decision overall. That too with the advanced search capabilities of internet, finding a used luxury car that matches your needs is no big task.We hope we helped you in assessing between the types of cars adequately. With our best regards, we wish you a great week and sign off here. Happy Driving!

 

How to Change Car Tyre | Do it Yourself

It can be really exasperating when you’re driving along smoothly, with your mind on an important meeting agenda or some family memory, and suddenly your car pulls over to one side and you hear that dreaded fluttering sound of a flat tire. Inevitably, this is bound to happen sooner or later to almost most everyone. Nowadays, most drivers have few roadside assistance technicians or contacts that can come in to fix your flat tires, but it’s always smart and handy to know how to change car tyre yourself.

And since it’s a fairly common occurrence in recent times, car manufacturers have attempted to make the entire tire change process one that virtually anyone could do. The basic thing to do is to be cautious rather than curing, for which refer our guide below:

Pre-Journey Preparation

Before you start a journey, it would be a good idea to get your car serviced, especially for a long trip, and part of the checkup should include a good look at the tires. What needs to be looked at is any unevenly worn spot or skimpy tread and should the tires appear iffy, it is best to invest in new ones. Eventually, you will require new ones anyway, and it’s always better to start out on any trip with new tires than have a “tiresome” blow-out in the middle of nowhere.

Today, most cars come equipped with a simple jack and a lug wrench as well as a spare tire. Now, pull out the jack and the tire and ensure the tire is in good shape. Should your spare be flat, get it fixed immediately.

Even if you’re not heading on a trip, you should learn to familiarise yourself with the tools you’ll use in the event of a flat tire, to make it convenient for yourself.

It would only take a few minutes to make sure you have all the tools and complete the check so that you can save yourself a big headache later on. You could easily check your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure how to access these items.

Some Optional Items to Pack

Besides your crucial jack, wrench, and a spare tire that you have, you might also want to consider placing the following tools in your trunk to make your tire change much easier and more comfortable:

  • A Flashlight (with few extra batteries).
  • A pair of Gloves
  • A Tarp or mat to kneel on
  • A Plastic rain poncho.
  • A Fix-a-flat spray foam
  • A Tire gauge
  • A pair of Tire blocks

Right, now you have taken precautions and packed the tools necessary, you can safely set out for your journey. If for some bizarre reason, you still end up with a flat tire then not to worry! All you need to do is follow our simple step-by-step guide to change your tires yourself easily:

10 STEPS FOR CHANGING YOUR TIRE:

How to Change Car Tyre | Do it Yourself
How to Change Car Tyre | Do it Yourself

[1] Locate a safe spot to pull over: If you’re driving on the highway, taking the next exit out is the safest bet, even if you have to drive on your blown tire. Otherwise, you could pull as far onto your shoulder as possible but don’t park in the middle of any curve where approaching cars cannot see you. We recommend you choose a flat spot as dragging up your car on a hill can be a disaster. And if you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear. Ensure that your parking brake is set!

[2] Turn on your hazard lights and get tools: Always turn on your hazard light to let other vehicles and any helpful vehicle know. Then, get the jack, wrench, and the spare tire from your trunk and bring them over to the tire that has become flat

[3] Loosen the lug nuts with the wrench: First, remove the hubcap to use. Remember not to remove the lug nuts at this point; just loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise). While doing this, if the lug nuts are really tight, place the wrench on the nut and stand on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it or you can also try hitting the wrench arm with a rock or any heavy object

[4] Lift the vehicle off the ground with jack: Different car models have different places to insert the jack. For this, consult your owner’s manual for the specific location. Get the jack securely into the correct spot and jack up the car until the tire is about 6 inches off the ground

[5] Take off the lug nuts and pull out tire: Carefully remove the lug nuts. It is better to place the lug nuts in a pile so that they won’t get scattered and lost. Now, pull the tire neatly straight toward yourself to remove it from its wheelbase

[6] Place your spare on the car: You can now place your spare in. First, line up the lug nut posts with the holes in your spare and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can’t go any farther

[7] Put back the lug nuts: Remember that you don’t need to put them on tightly. You just have to make sure they’re on enough for your spare to stay in the car for the moment

[8] Get your car back to the ground: Once this is done, use your jack to bring your car back down to the ground level and remove the jack from underneath your car

[9] Tighten the lug nuts securely: Once the car is back on the ground, you can tighten the lug nuts. Instead of tightening them one by one in order, you could start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50% and move on to the opposite nut (across the circle) and then tighten that one about the same amount. Thereafter, keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut would be as tight as can be

[10] Keep tire and tools back in your trunk: Put back all the tools and everything you took out of the car and make sure you don’t leave anything on the side of the road, lest you need it again.

So these were the steps you can follow to change your tires easily. Now, we bring you a possible alternative to this, for need.

USE OF FLAT FIX SPRAY

Sometimes, a tire isn’t wholly destroyed when it goes flat. When the flat is caused by a nail or any other sharp object and you can’t or don’t want to change your tire on the side of the roads, you should be able to give yourself a few kilometres of leeway by using some flat-fix type spray.

In most situations, the spray foam would allow you to at least find a close off-ramp and pull into a service station or some convenient place before you have to change your tire.

Thus, we have offered our best tips and thoughts on how you can handle a tire change as a precaution as well as after it has occurred. We hope you would use this to your convenience and wish you a very happy week ahead!

Automobile Service & Vehicle Maintenance Blog