H-TEK Motors is committed to ensuring that our customers receive reliable and high quality automotive repair and service. But when you can’t make it into the shop, we’re here to provide automotive tips and advice so that you will continue to have a safe commute. This is Auto Advice: automotive tips from your mechanics at H-TEK Motors.

Getting the Most out of Your Auto Warranty

The following is taken from the December 2010 Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection report “Auto Warranties, Routine Maintenance, and Repairs: Is Using the Dealer a Must?” You can read the entire pamphlet here.

It is important 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 says NO. It is illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else.

What is a warranty?

A warranty is a promise, often made by a manufacture, to stand behind its product or to fix certain defects or malfunctions over a period of time. The warranty pays for any covered repairs or parts replacements during the warranty period.

Do I have to use the dealer for repairs and maintenance to keep my warranty in effect?

No. An independent mechanic, a retail chain shop, or even you yourself can do routine maintenance and repairs on your vehicle. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which is enforced by the FTC, makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that your warranty is void or deny coverage under your warranty simple because someone other than the dealer did the work.

Be warned, however, that there are certain situations where repairs may not be covered.

Will using ‘aftermarket’ parts void my warranty?

No. An aftermarket part is a part made by a company other than the vehicle manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer. Simply using an aftermarket part does not void your warranty. However, it turns out that the aftermarket part was itself defective or wasn’t installed correctly, and it causes damage to another part that is covered in your warranty, then the manufacturer or dealer has the right to deny coverage to that part and charge you for repairs. The FTC says the manufacturer or dealer must show that the aftermarket equipment caused damage before denying warranty coverage.

Tips to Avoid Warranty Issues:

  • Read your warranty: The warranty gives a general description and specific details about your coverage. If you have misplaced your owner’s manual, look for it online.
  • Be aware of your warranty period: If problems arise that are covered under the warranty, get them checked out before the warranty expires.
  • Service your car at regular intervals: follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule.
  • Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who performs the service: create a file to keep track of repairs; it will come in handy if you have to use your warranty.
  • Complain: If you think a dealer’s service advisor denied your warranty claim unfairly, ask to speak with a supervisor. If you still aren’t satisfied, contact the manufacturer or go to another dealer.

Remember: it is illegal for a dealer or manufacturer to deny your warranty coverage because you had routine maintenance performed by someone other than the dealer.

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