Dealership or independent mechanic for powertrain inspection?
February 19, 2017 5:16 PM   Subscribe

The powertrain warranty on my Ford vehicle expires in just over a month. I can take it in to a local dealership or to a local independent mechanic for a full inspection to see if there's anything falling under warranty that can be fixed now. Which is the best option?

The inspection price is basically the same but I want to make sure that everything that can be covered is identified, no matter how small. Not knowing much about vehicles, I don't know what type of technology either could use but since these things are basically computers now, perhaps the dealership has better computerized reading technology than is available to the public?

I'd prefer to give the money to the local mechanic but also need to ensure that everything is covered. Am I better off going to the dealership or to the local mechanic? Is there a financial incentive for the dealership to find every last possible issue or is there an incentive otherwise? I know that they are franchised and it seems like they can bill all work back to Ford directly, but I don't know if that works in my favour in terms of transparency.

Thanks in advance!
posted by mireille to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I don't think it works exactly like you have in mind. I've never really heard of anyone doing this. I Take the $200 or so that they might charge you to give you a nice report and hang on to it for when something needs to be fixed. Assuming you kept up with whatever intervals they recommend - 10, 15, 25, 50k miles - you should be fine.
posted by fixedgear at 5:56 PM on February 19, 2017

Do you have reason to suspect that the may be issues with or about to be issues with your power train? What would happen if they found nothing and then a week or a month after the expiration something came up?

I have never done this, but if I had the $200 to easily spare, I might take my vehicle to a local mechanic and ask them to check it prior to the end of the warranty. While I do not think your Ford dealer has any incentive or disincentive here, I think a local guy who wants your future business will give the vehicle a good going over.
posted by AugustWest at 6:23 PM on February 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I don't have it easily to spare ($120 CAD) but I've been thinking of it as taking advantage of any warranty coverage possible. Neither the dealership nor the independent mechanic seemed like it was a rare thing to quote out. My take is that it'd be worth the money to save me hundreds or thousands, or even just to know that I did everything possible to ensure I was covered while it was still under warranty but I'm open to all thoughts, this is new to me and I could be way off. I know that something could go entirely sideways the day after it expires but is this, in anyone's experience, pointless instead of proactive?
posted by mireille at 6:38 PM on February 19, 2017

This seems like a waste of money to me. No one I know gets a preventative check done on their vehicle's powertrain on the off chance that there might be something wrong with it.
posted by wilful at 11:19 PM on February 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Knowing how you view it, as essentially insurance, it is not pointless. But, like most insurance, you buy it and never use it. If it buys you peace of mind, then that is money well spent, yes?
posted by AugustWest at 11:43 PM on February 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Waste of money and opens you up to questionable up sales.
posted by LoveHam at 4:58 AM on February 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

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