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Authorised VS Independent Car Workshops: What You Need To Know When Servicing Your Car

After the warranty on your new car expires, here are the pros and cons of using an authorised service centre versus an independent workshop.

This article is written in collaboration with BMW. Views expressed in the article is the independent opinion of

Due to schemes such as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and Additional Registration Fee (ARF), Singapore has become one of the most expensive countries in the world to buy a car. Hence, owning a car is often seen as a luxury or want as opposed to a real need in Singapore.

Many car owners in Singapore take great pride in owning a car. Besides keeping the car’s external appearance in pristine condition, cars also have to be well-maintained to ensure that it functions smoothly and safely.

Read Also: No Nonsense Explanation On Why Cars In Singapore Are So Expensive

Buying A New Car Means Peace Of Mind For The First Few Years Of Ownership

When buying a brand-new car, there is always a certain sense of euphoria that car owners will experience.

From the start, the fun begins when you initially go for the test-drive, choose the model of the car as well as select your preferred colour and finishing. After a seemingly long few weeks of waiting, you finally get to collect the keys to your new car. For many new car owners, the feeling of getting into the driver’s seat of a new car that you can call your own is like unboxing your favourite present on Christmas day!

Budget notwithstanding, it’s hard to see (or test-drive) this car and not want to own it!

Source: sgCarMart

For many car owners in Singapore, one of the biggest factors for buying a new car over getting a pre-owned car would be peace of mind. Buying a new car means not having to worry if the previous owner(s) took care of the car well, or if it’s truly ‘accident-free’. At the same time, you also want to enjoy a warranty offered by the authorised dealer you bought the car from in the initial few years.

For example, if you buy a brand-new BMW today, you will enjoy a complimentary 3-year warranty on your new set of wheels. Any servicing, repair or parts replacement, if required, will be done by authorised BMW service centres in Singapore. During this period, it makes sense to head to the authorised service centre for any problems that you may encounter since this is already covered under the warranty.

What Happens After The Warranty Period?

After enjoying fuss-free servicing for the first few years, car owners have a decision to make once their warranty period is over.

Option #1: Continue servicing their cars with the same authorised service centre that they have been using.

Option #2: Service their vehicle with an independent car workshop.

For many car owners, the reason for using an independent workshop is that it’s supposed to be cheaper. If you know of a friend who owns a car workshop, you may also get a better deal.

Of course, there are notable tradeoffs that you ought to know and consider before choosing to go to an independent car workshop.

Price Transparency

For a start, while the servicing cost may seem lower, when you have to replace or repair parts, there is no guarantee that you are getting what you pay for, and you should also be factoring in other hidden costs such as labour costs.

For example, the parts that you buy and the labour required for the replacement of the parts could be quoted separately. So, you want to make sure that the final price is what you were quoted, inclusive of GST.

Authorised service centres such as the BMW service centres in Singapore will quote you an all-inclusive price. This includes getting the original BMW parts that you need, and the labour which is required for the replacements of the parts. With this, there is no need to worry about getting a rude shock when receiving the final bill.

Warranty Period For Parts

Whether it’s through an authorised service centre or an independent car workshop, you should always strive to ensure that you receive some form of guarantee for the parts that you buy. This makes sense because none of us should be paying a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on a part which ends being deemed faulty a few months later. Even if the part works fine, we will not like it if we find out that it isn’t what we paid for.

For example, BMW service centres provide a 2-year warranty when you buy an original BMW part from them. However, even if you opt for an independent car workshop, it shouldn’t be a stretch to expect them to provide some form of guarantee.

Of course, if you choose to service your car in Malaysia, then it could be trickier to expect this guarantee. Of course, you may also have more stress about what’s really being done to your car.

Read Also: What Happens If Your Singapore Car Gets Stolen In Malaysia?

Choose A Workshop Which Specialises In Your Car Model

Just like how you would prefer going to a Japanese restaurant for sushi, an Italian restaurant for pasta and a Zi Char stall for Yang Zhou fried rice, you should choose a car workshop that you know has the technical proficiency and sufficient experience in servicing the car model that you are driving. This is even more important if the car that you are driving is a niche model, as opposed to a mass market car model.

Like it or not, car workshops in Singapore (or anywhere else in the world) are never homogenous. Similar to restaurants, some car workshops would have a higher degree of proficiency in certain car models over others.

Unless you know for a fact that a certain independent car workshop has the technical expertise to troubleshoot and fix your car problems at a cheaper price, you may be better off going to an authorised service centre, where there are qualified mechanics who have undergone regular training and have ample experience dealing with the same car models each day.

Think of this as ordering an unagi bento box from an unagi chef who has spent the last 10 years of his career mastering the art of preparing this one single dish. He will know what to do, what to look out for, and how to best deliver the best value to his customer. Strive to get someone like that to service your car.

Original Or Substitute Parts?

If you ever had to fix your car on the go when you drive in Malaysia (I did), you would also know that it’s common for car workshops to use substitute parts to fix what’s required, since original parts for the car may not always be available.

Using original parts for the car bode well for two reasons.

Firstly, most cars would contain thousands of parts which have been designed and put together by their manufacturers for optimum performance for the car. Sure, you can change a part here and there and the car would still function normally. However, when you do this frequently over time, you start owning a car that is slowly becoming different from the car that you originally bought.

Secondly, from a value point of view, using original parts allow you to command a higher price if you intend to sell your car in the future. Like it or not, other car owners do put a premium on the fact that the car uses only original parts during repairs.

If you drive a BMW and go to its BMW service centres in Singapore, you are assured that you will be getting original BMW parts which are precisely selected to match the requirements of your BMW.

BMW Service Centres Are For Every BMW Model

Source: BMW

One possible misconception that owners who bought pre-owned cars may have is that servicing their car with the authorised service centres is not possible. This is not true.

For example, if you have bought a BMW pre-loved by someone else, instead of the authorised distributor, you are still able to go to BMW service centres in Singapore to service and repair your BMW if you want to. By doing so, not only do you gain full access to BMW value service packages, you also get to enjoy the value-added benefits that they offer. Packages that they provide includes Battery Replacement, Shock Absorber Replacement, Brake Pads Replacement and Brake Disc & Brake Pads Replacement.

This service is available for all BMW cars, regardless of age or model type. Whether you are driving a BMW which is just 4 years old, or a COE car which is past 10 years, you can still get access to the solutions provided by BMW service centres. If it’s time for your BMW to be serviced, you can book your appointment here today.

Servicing Your BMW

From now till 30 June 2019, enjoy a special promotion rate when you service your BMW with authorised BMW Service Centres in Singapore. The prices below are valid for BMWs registered before 01 April 2015. Prices may vary depending on model and engine variant – this includes parts, labour costs and 7% GST. This promotion is not valid for use in conjunction with other promotions and discounts.

These include the following:

  • Battery with AGM Technology Replacement from $622 (savings of up to 19%)
  • Shock Absorber, Front Replacement from $1,124 (savings of up to 17%)
  • Shock Absorber, Rear Replacement from $923 (savings of up to 18%)
  • Brake Pads, Front Replacement from $432 (savings of up to 17%)
  • Brake Pads, Rear Replacement from $377 (savings of up to 18%)
  • Brake Pads, Front & Rear Replacement from $784 (savings of up to 18%)
  • Brake Discs and Brake Pads, Front Replacement from $878 (savings of up to 19%)
  • Brake Discs and Brake Pads, Rear Replacement from $681 (savings of up to 18%)
  • Brake Discs and Brake Pads, Front & Rear Replacement from $1,435 (savings of up to 24%)