As car owners, we're always looking for the best deals, whether it's on aftermarket accessories, upgrades, or even preventive maintenance services. While we know that getting a car serviced outside the dealership is not a good idea warranty-wise, what about getting a car serviced at other dealerships?
The truth is, there are no uniform laws or policies on this topic, at least locally. Different brands and dealerships hold varied approaches to this matter. Some may be stricter and insist you stay with them, while others may not mind and allow whatever you prefer. Some brands like GAC will even service cars regardless of brand or model.
What are the policies?
While it would be nice to have a law that says dealerships can't restrict where you get your car serviced, it doesn't exist in the Philippines. Automakers generally have free reign here on whether they wish to restrict customers to staying at one particular dealership.
It should be noted that dealers continue to turn a profit even after they've sold you the vehicle. They do this through after-sales services like your regular preventive maintenance schedules (PMS).
Manufacturers typically pay dealers handsomely for their in-house labor. Dealers may also mark up prices for parts and fluids. So, dealerships aren't short of incentives to keep you coming back at their doorsteps. For these reasons, dealers are inclined to do as much as possible to preserve their relationships with customers.
That's not to say that they won't allow you to go elsewhere. If you don't have a service contract with the dealer that explicitly prohibits you from going to a different location, you may be in the clear. As we’ve mentioned previously, some brands even allow all types of vehicles in their service centers. However, this is only advisable for cars that are out of their warranty periods.
Generally speaking, if you stay within your vehicle's brand, you may find that dealerships are more amenable to servicing your car, no matter which one you bought it from. Warranty usually won't be an issue either if you choose a dealership from the same brand.
For example, if you have bought a Honda vehicle at the Makati dealership, you may be able to get it serviced at, say, the Manila Bay location. We've seen instances of car owners doing this for various reasons, be it for convenience or simply looking for the best service quotations.
Looking for the best prices
A common reason for switching service centers is canvassing for the best service contracts. Filipinos are thrifty folk, and we rarely settle for less than ideal prices.
Dealerships may do costing procedures differently. This means that service contracts can vary from location to location. It's on the owner to find out which dealership offers the best prices for their car. Some service centers will allow you to purchase consumables outside the dealership, but only if it meets their standards.
Also, remember that going to a third-party mechanic for any major servicing can void your warranty. If you're aware of these things beforehand, it will save you from a lot of headaches down the line.
So, can you have your car serviced at a different dealership than where you bought it? As we've learned, it depends. Several factors can influence this, including the brand, dealership, and service center.
That said, if you know that your brand allows servicing within its dealership network, you're generally going to be fine. As always, check with your manufacturer and dealer to get the full details on their service policies.