If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. But can a dealer refuse to honor the warranty that came with your new car if someone else does the routine maintenance or repairs.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says no. In fact, it's illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections. Maintenance schedules vary by vehicle make, model and year; the best source of information about routine scheduled maintenance is your owner's manual.
It's a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the routine maintenance and repairs on a newer vehicle that is under warranty. In fact, it is law that consumers can patronize their neighborhood repair shop or do the work themselves without violating the manufacturer's warranty, says the Car Care Council.
Consumers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which prohibits a manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was done by a non-dealer. According to the FTC, "It's illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads and inspections."
"Many motorists wonder if they will void their factory warranty if someone other than the dealer services their vehicle," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "The truth is that consumers can have routine repairs performed by their local independent repair shop without affecting the warranty. It is also important to note that using aftermarket parts does not void the warranty."
When using a non-dealer, independent aftermarket shop to maintain your vehicle, the council strongly recommends keeping records and receipts for all maintenance that is done to the vehicle and adhering to scheduled maintenance requirements. If a warranty claim arises, these records will provide proof that maintenance has been done in accordance with the manufacturers' recommendations and requirements.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.