as a 450 owner for almost 4 yrs I have never taken my smart to a dealer and have gotten great service from a local independent repair shop. When I first got the smart, I did a little homework and contacted [email & phone] about a dozen local independent mercedes repair shops conveniently located to me - some said no and some said yes - based on responses I visited several and then selected the one I felt most comfortable with. One of the most important things from my perspective was that the independent had the mercedes "Star" computer system - that way the mechanic's computer can talk to the car's computer - try contacting several independent mercedes benz shops - since there is a smart center in your area I bet you will find some independents who have already worked on smarts even if they don't publicize it. Even if they don't have much experience w/ smarts - it ain't rocket surgery - it's a car with the same basic parts that work the same basic way. Seems to me what's important is: they have the MB Star computer system that can diagnose the car, they are a competent mechanic experienced w/ MB cars, they are honest, and, you feel comfortable with them. Hope this helps.