"Dealer item" means the dealer's service department. There are a lot of things designed in to make it really difficult for the people at independent repair shops to work on today's cars. A few manufacturers go way overboard in that regard. They're protecting the profits of their dealers at the expense of their customers. This doesn't apply to Honda as much as it does to a few other manufacturers, but when it comes to anti-theft systems, remote-keyless-entry systems, and some proprietary designs, they aren't happy about divulging the service information or making required equipment available. If any mechanic could work on anti-theft systems, for example, so could the car thieves, so those systems would only be effective at keeping owners from driving their cars. We read about that much too often already.
Also, most independent mechanics have to relearn every system on every model every few years, and it's impossible to keep up with all of it. Doctors only have to learn two models in varying sizes for their entire careers. More experienced mechanics typically specialize in a few areas, just like doctors do. You'll find more of those specialists at new-car dealerships, and they continually get factory training on the latest systems. They have also seen your car many times, and often know right where to look for problems. Sometimes they already know what's wrong when they're still driving the car into the shop. But remember too they usually only see cars that are still in warranty, or are up to five years old. It's the independent mechanics who get to see what happens when those cars are rusty or have been driven in salt, snow, and water for many years. The dealership also has the advantage of having a help line they can call. Some of them have really good people. When I could reach the head of Chrysler training for all of Wisconsin, she almost always knew the answer right away. Part of her job, when she wasn't teaching classes, was to diagnose cars with problems, and develop the procedures that would show up in diagnostic manuals later. When you called the help line, you worked with the same person over multiple calls until the problem was solved. Some help lines are staffed with people who simply read from a script, and if you have to call back, you get a new person who starts all over from the beginning. I don't know where Honda fits on that scale, but at least the dealership mechanics do have resources not available to the independent shops.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 AT 6:32 PM