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I have a 2003 1.8 Twith 35 K miles. Is the Passat any harder for a good independent mechanic to work on than any other car? Is there really a reason to stick with an expensive VW dealer for non-warranty items?
 

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Try to find an indy that specializes in German cars or at least has VW experience. Avoid chains. Not all dealers are that great anyway. There are a lot of good indys out there.
 

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There's no reason to go to a VW dealership IF, you can find a competant Indy mechanic. I've yet to find one locally for myself, thus why I do all the work on my car, saves me ALOT more money that way ;).

Most Indy's that do specialize in German cars are still expensive compaired to domestic shops, but even if you save 10-15 dollars on something as simple as an oil change, you're still saving money.
 

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so if the price is $500 at the dealer you can probably do it yourself for free considering that its $500 less elsewhere. paying up to $85 for a fullsyn. oil change should be illegal.

VW USA hates me because i can care less about their warranties, schedule maintance periods and parts departments.
 

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It is hard to find an independant mechanic, I tried an Indy once and ended up going back to the dealer to fix the job.

Luckily I found an excellent VW dealership in Birmingham, AL, $55 full syn oil/filter change. Plus I get the odd bit of free work from them, I had an accident and needed my oil pan, engine mount and front sway mounts replaced (came to $1200), they did a free $360 60K mile servicing and engine flush.

When I lived in North Carolina, my 99 Passat was written off, they gave me a $8000 trade in value, when the insurance company would only give me $1000. So I have had excellent experiences with dealerships for price and service. If you can find a good VW dealership and are loyal customer they will look after you.
 

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a lot of indies mastered their skills back at the dealership. the dealership frequently has automechs who are still honing their skills while saving up to open their own indy shop

harthamm said:
I have a 2003 1.8 Twith 35 K miles. Is the Passat any harder for a good independent mechanic to work on than any other car? Is there really a reason to stick with an expensive VW dealer for non-warranty items?
 

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Or, at the very least, find an Indy who specializes in euro cars in general. It seems that the European cars in general are the hardest to work on, so you do not want a mechanic who has only ever seen domestics to be working on your car. And never ever take your car to JiffyLube and the like for oil changes. But you already knew that.
 

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i bring syn oil and a filter to my indy, he does the oil change for 10 dollars. does good work, and has a vw himself. comes out to around 43 dollars.
 
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