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Ex-Pat Geordie!
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Whenever I trade my old one in at a dealer the first thing they want to see before they offer any trade in value is the service book.

As you say though, often, home mechanics do a better job of replacing filters.
When I traded my 8G in for the 9G I asked the dealer if he wanted all of the service history as the previous owner had it religiously done by Honda and he said no, just bin it? I asked should I just leave it in the boot and he told me "No, it would be too easy for the next owner to get my details". Saying that, it had 156K on the clock and was a whisker off 10yr old.
 

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No disrespect to anyone but I'm reading quite a bit of off-topic here.

Remember the OP was wondering about choosing between a dealer or and independent garage, for servicing at the same price.
That, to me, strikes as no-brainer. You get a lot more credit and guarantees in a dealership. As I've said, that's why the overcharged and rightfully so. Not that I agree with some of their conduct but, heck, they're the guys getting all the info and training from the maker. It's has got to be worth something. And certainly, something extra over and independent garage. Here, price wise, in this case and my personal experience, isn't even occurring.

But this conversation as taken a turn in to what is the best way of servicing a car and dealership credibility.
Some of you guys do some of their own maintenance. So do I.
Some even do all of it. I don't.
There is a bunch of stuff that's better left to someone with the proper tools and knowledge from dealing with these cars day in and day out, having access to all the necessary information and training. Stuff like timing belts and brake jobs (this last one being somewhat arguably) can have some pretty bad consequences if not done right. And they know it. So I think anyone of us should leave some of those stuff to them.

Now, about how a dealership faces maintenance and how credible they are.
There are two extreme stances here: either the constructor doesn't know **** about cars and we know better or the maker knows best and we should just follow, just like a dealership does.
I personally go for something in between. I think a maker knows its product way better than me. But that doesn't stop me from caring about it with an over zealous attitude. In the things I can intervene and make sure my motor runs as smooth as possible, I do. Even if unnecessary. And I'm aware of it.

But if the brand states what oil should be used in the engine, gearbox or hydraulics, how often it needs changing, how and when filters should be replaced and how a car should behave... well, they're the guys designing and engineering these things. They're probably right to say what they say and act like they act, demanding dealerships to follow their indications to the letter.
So, to me, dealerships are independent companies being told how to act by the brands. If they say you should only change an air filter at 37k or when the service minder says so, that's what they do. Their major concert is about safety and it's perfectly normal that the elements that ensure it are at the top of the list.

So, to me, even accounting for all their shortcomings, a dealership is always the best place to go when things get over your head. Apparently, that's how the OP is at the moment. Hence my advice.
 
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