Automotive garages and repair shops can be divided into several categories.
Firstly, there are the auto parts stores or motor factors who also maintain service operations. This is not common in the United Kingdom but more common in the US.
A majority of automobile repair workshops are independently owned and operated businesses. These may also include regional or national chains and franchises including OEM car dealership sites. In the US, these sites are the only individuals authorized to perform warranty and recall repairs by the manufacturers and distributors. In the European Union a recent law (The EC Block Exemption Regulation 1400/2002 (October 2003)) allows motorists more flexibility in selecting where they can get their car serviced.
Thanks to this legislation, maintenance and service work does not have to be done by the main dealer as long as the garage uses Original Equipment ‘Matching Quality’ parts, and are recorded as such, and the garage follow the manufacturer’s service schedules.
The Block Exemption Regulation (BER) covers service and maintenance during the warranty period and prohibits vehicle manufacturers’ warranties from including conditions that require normal maintenance to be provided within the vehicle manufacturer’s network or that all parts used must be the manufacturer’s original spare parts. This means that motorists benefit from open market competition in aftermarket parts, repairs and services thus reducing the cost of servicing through better labor rates and competitively priced parts.
Automobile repair shops often can be specialty shops specializing in parts such as brakes, mufflers and exhaust systems, transmissions, body parts, tires automobile electrification, windshields, and wheel alignment or those who only work on certain brands of vehicle or vehicles from certain continents of the world.
Auto body repair
Automotive repair shops also offer paintwork repairs to scratches, scuffs and dents to vehicle damage as well as damage caused by collisions and major accidents. Many body shops now offer Paintless dent repair, which is done by pushing the dents out from inside.