It was not very long ago that your average automotive repair shop was ready, willing and able to work on all makes and models of cars. The differences in engine, and suspension design, and their components were relatively small. If a Master technician knew one vehicle inside and out, he had an excellent chance of diagnosing and repairing just about any other vehicle. Those days, however, are long gone. In today’s automotive field, the advent of airbags, and other safety equipment, great strides in entertainment systems, including Bluetooth, Business communication systems within a car, and a host of other technological changes have expanded the field well out of the reach of even the best Master Techs. Engines with turbo and superchargers and their idiosyncrasies can vary with each manufacturer, suspensions with their pneumatic controls, and do not even get me started on electric cars! No, the industry is just far too wide and vast for any one shop to be qualified to repair all makes or models.
The key is to find someone that knows YOUR vehicle intimately. You would not ask your Dentist to perform a colonoscopy, and neither should you take your BMW to a shop with mostly Ford trucks in the parking lot. This is not a knock on any domestic repair shops. On the contrary, they would know FAR more about their field of expertise than any of us at TMJ Bimmers. It is simply an observation of the current state of affairs in the auto industry.
This will mean, of course, that shops which specialize will be more expensive. This is due to the fact that general repair shops make up in volume what a smaller shop do in expertise. A large shop is also not buying the manufacturer specific special tools which are required on many specific repair jobs. They may not sending their technicians to specialized classes to sharpen their diagnostic skills. Often, they are also “saving money” by not using OEM parts, but instead skimping on cheaper alternatives. These are all things which you will have no knowledge of when taking your vehicle there for repairs.
Specialization is a good thing. The medical industry has been doing it for years, and it works well! The automotive industry is now doing the same thing, and it is producing some of the best diagnosticians and most efficient technicians ever to pick up a wrench. Avoiding repeat repairs, and saving money in the long run with an accurate diagnosis is working to the consumers advantage.