In my experience as a consumer, mechanics at dealers typically seem to prefer not to perform quick or partial fixes for certain types of work. For example:
- Replacing an entire wiring harness rather than redoing a problematic location.
- Replacing coolant lines / entire radiator rather than patching a leak.
- Replacing a bumper with damaged clips rather than redrilling mount holes.
I even had one dealer say to me, after a week in a shop, "we're not willing to do a partial fix and cannot fix this problem while keeping the cost reasonable, we want to do the job right, we're refunding you your diagnostics fees and not performing the work" (which I respect).
My experience is limited, though, to Honda dealers in New York City, where the mechanics are extremely busy, non-stop. So I'm not sure if this is a general trend, Honda-specific, busy-city-specific, or just not a trend at all (my sample size is small).
This seems to be unique to dealers. Non-dealer shops (even corporate, like NTB or Sears) seem more than willing to do whatever is needed to do a quicker, partial repair job, while dealers tend to go more by the book and replace parts.
From a professional mechanic's point of view, why is this? My intent is not to criticize dealers vs. non-dealers. Rather, I am wondering if dealer mechanics are perhaps subject to certain corporate / trade regulations or contracts, or if they can increase profit or customer throughput, or if it is part of mechanic culture, or if there is some other criteria that guides these decisions. I'm wondering how the system works.
All the shops (dealers / non-dealers) I'm referring to generally do great work, the approach is just consistently different.