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2004 Mazda MAZDA3 i 4dr Sedan Auto

2004 Mazda MAZDA3
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 4 Door Sedan, Compact
26 mpg city / 34 mpg hwy
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September 3, 2013, 12:29 pm


Question: Break away from the dealer?

Wife has a 2006 Mazda 3 Hatchback. Stick shift, 2.3 lit 4cyl. Just under 80,000 miles and has been a good little car. Need to have a few things done. Brakes and most likely rotors on all four, certainly rotors in the front. Tranny flush, fuel filer, cooling system flush, and the electrical acted up the other day, perhaps the alternator. Anyway, we have always gone to the dealer we bought from for all the maintenance but with a newborn on the way I'm tempted to try out a local shop or a chain such as Midas, Monroe, Minanke, etc. Would gladly take any educated opinions on the matter?

September 6, 2013, 4:03 pm

Ron W
Expert Mechanic

Independent shops are fine for the most part. I would look for one that specializes in Mazdas or at least Japanese makes. Their labor rates are usually less than the dealer, and if you want dealer components, they usually can get those for you as well.

To find a reliable shop I would start by contacting your insurance agent.

They should have a list of shops they use. Those shops must maintain a certain level of quality and competitiveness for them to be used (or recommended) by the insurance company.

Also ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is a national certification program where the technicians must a pass competency test to be certified. So looking for a shop with ASE certified technicians is another good way to find a qualified shop.

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