Brake Job: Dealer versus Muffler Shop


Alexander_925
10-10-2007, 11:17 PM
Does anybody have any knowledge on the quality of parts and labor you get when you take your car to a muffler shop for a brake job versus a dealership for a brake job?

curtis73
10-11-2007, 03:13 AM
All of them will use the absolute cheapest parts and charge you as much as they can. So go with whatever is cheapest. The dealer will at least have factory original parts, but they'll probably cost 3 times as much.

emt1134
10-11-2007, 04:01 AM
No matter where you go, make sure you can watch them do it... I don't trust anyone with my car. I see what goes on because I have been in the business for awhile.. make sure they cut your rotors and use some sort of means to evenly torque down your lug nuts... lots of guys will just put the wheel back on and crack down on the nuts with the impact. Then they wonder why the customer returns with a pulsation.

Rickottman
10-11-2007, 04:25 AM
i work at a muffler shop and i am not going to lie i do make a few mistakes but i dont hide anything or skip it to save time most techs do there best work so it insure the customer wont come back to complain i would say not to take it to a small shop because if you come back to complain you cannot refer them to corperate like i can be if i do a poor brake job.

UncleBob
10-11-2007, 11:53 AM
most mechanics don't like getting fired, so they try not to make mistakes.

Sometimes the painfully obvious point is missed by people.

Mistakes happen. Tis life. If you don't want to risk mistakes by others, then do it yourself (including mistakes)

As for dealer vs muffler shop. Dealer will use dealer parts. They aren't always more expensive than aftermarket options but most dealer parts are high quality. But they do charge a lot for the work.

Muffler shop, and all other non-dealer shops, have a wide selection of parts they could use. Some will order the cheaper stuff to keep the customer happy (price-wise) but assuming the shop has been in business for a while and doesn't like constant warranty work, they will usually order the better brake components. Cheap brake pads, for example, are natorious for causing brake squeaks

Of course, you can insist on the better parts to remove teh question of what they are using

All shops, dealers and non-dealers, mark up their parts the same amount over cost. Its not a made up number that they base off of how gullible you look when you enter the door

UncleBob
10-11-2007, 12:14 PM
No matter where you go, make sure you can watch them do it... I don't trust anyone with my car. I see what goes on because I have been in the business for awhile.. make sure they cut your rotors and use some sort of means to evenly torque down your lug nuts... lots of guys will just put the wheel back on and crack down on the nuts with the impact. Then they wonder why the customer returns with a pulsation.
this is an old myth. The method of torquing the wheels has nothing to do with warping rotors.

All shops use impact guns to tighten wheels. Most use torque sticks with their impacts, but thats just to limit the torque.

Some mechanics have been doing it so long, they don't need a torque stick. You use the same gun for 10 years, tightening 40 wheels a day, you get pretty good at eyeballing it

abaird
10-11-2007, 07:03 PM
Everything UncleBob said was right on the money. I work for an independent shop and when we do brakes, and we do a lot, we only use premium pads and always turn rotors because if we didn't do those things we would constantly be dealing with noise and dust complaints. If customers want to save money we can slap on cheap pads and leave the rotors alone but we tell them up front there will be no warranty.

bobss396
10-12-2007, 02:02 PM
I've worked for dealers, independent shops and the quick in and out "muffler" shops.

All the dealer wants his mechanics to do is beat the clock any way possible and not have too many comebacks. Franchised muffler type shops are lower on the food chain, often having a ghastly turnover of help.

The best brake jobs I saw were when I worked for independent shops. Most had a set practice for brake jobs, that is cutting the rotors, new hardware, wheel cylinder kits and caliper kits. Every brake job was essentially the same.

I do most of my brake work still, but I do have a great independent shop to fall back on.

Bob

UncleBob
10-14-2007, 12:46 PM
All the dealer wants his mechanics to do is beat the clock any way possible and not have too many comebacks. Franchised muffler type shops are lower on the food chain, often having a ghastly turnover of help.


This is one of the many details of shops that gets a bit complex when discussing, but is a big factor on what level of expertise will be present in a shop. Its very hard for the layman to judge such things though

Many independant shops have huge turn over. I think this has more to do with the nature of mechanics than the shops themselves. No doubt there is a lot of poorly managed shops, but mechanics like to roam. Lots of personality conflicts, addiction problems, anti-authority issues, and all the other drama that goes with the soap opera :D

Dealers usually keep mechanics longer, even though they don't offer the best pay (compared to some shops). I've never really understood why that is. Maybe its because they spend so much in recruiting new mechanics.

Independants vary a lot, and it mostly comes down to the owners policies and attitude (and pay). The shop I work at, we have high turn over for the oil change techs, which isn't too surprising, but the A/B mechanics are all good guys, good attitudes, and capable. I'm currently the lead tech, been there for 7 years.

Low turn over usually means better mechanics, less mistakes. But thats just a general rule. No doubt there's sloppy techs that have been at the same place forever.

Its not like you can go car shop shopping by asking how bad their tech turnover is though.....that would get some odd looks from the service writers :) And you never know which tech is going to be working on your car anyway. If there's 3 good techs and one sloppy one, you got a 25% chance of getting sub-optimal work.

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