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savings January 14, 2016

Auto Warranties, Maintenance and Repairs — Does a Vehicle Owner Have to Use the Dealer?

Question:
Can a Dealer Deny New Warranty Coverage if the Owner Took the Vehicle to A Non-Dealer Shop for Routine Maintenance and Repairs?

Answer:
No! Vehicle owners have several options to stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance and repairs – use the dealer, another automotive maintenance provider or do it themselves. For those who use someone other than the dealer, the dealer cannot deny factory warranty coverage.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the consumer protection agency, an independent mechanic, retail shop or the vehicle owner can do the routine maintenance and repairs on the vehicle. Enforced by the FTC, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to void a warranty or deny warranty coverage because a non-dealer performed maintenance or repair work. While there may be some situations where a repair may not be covered, the manufacturer or dealer must be able to demonstrate that the third-party work caused the damage to the vehicle. The Act also protects the vehicle owner even if an aftermarket or recycled part was used on the vehicle; the manufacturer or dealer must show that the aftermarket or recycled part caused the need for repairs before denying coverage.

How to Best Use a Vehicle’s Warranty

1. Read the Warranty: The warranty is a promise made by the manufacturer to stand behind its product and fix certain defects or malfunctions over a period, paying for any covered repairs or part replacements.

2. Know the Warranty Period: Get the vehicle checked out regularly during the warranty period. Follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule as it is important to stay on top of it. As the warranty period is about to expire, be sure to have the vehicle checked out for any covered issues, no matter how small.

3. Keep Service Records and Receipts: No matter who does the service, keep track of all repairs; it will be necessary if the warranty needs to be used, and can increase resale value.

4. Questions about Warranty Claim: Contact a dealer supervisor, the manufacturer or another dealer if you think your warranty claim is being addressed unfairly. If need be, file a complaint with the state Attorney General, local Better Business Bureau, or the FTC.

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