We stand behind our work with a 12 Month / 12,000 Mile Warranty!
What do I need to get serviced at the dealership and what is a manufacturer’s warranty?
A common question new car owners have is, “do I need to go to the dealer each time I have something done to my car to keep my manufacturer’s warranty?”
Answer: No. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, protects you from being forced to go to the dealership for any repair or maintenance. Even if you perform your own maintenance and repairs, it will not void your manufacturer’s warranty.
The only time you need to use an authorized dealer is when there is a repair covered by your vehicles warranty and done at no expense to you. If you are in an emergency situation and there is no licensed dealer near where you break down, save all your receipts and you can submit them for reimbursement.
What is a warranty?
Warranties cover specific repairs and labor costs associated with your vehicle for a specified time frame or mileage, whichever comes first. All new cars and trucks come with a warranty from the manufacturer. There are several variations of warranties, that’s why it’s important for you know what warranty you have, how long it is in effect, what repairs are covered, and what requirements you must fulfill to keep the warranty intact.
What are the different types of Warranties?
No warranty is the same. Even warranties from the same auto manufacturer differ from model to model and from year to year. There are even some third party warranties that dealerships or other companies may offer that cover items not normally covered with manufacturer warranties.
This warranty covers the systems and parts that power your car or truck. This is typically the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. A Power train warranty is usually longer than the basic bumper to bumper warranty and protects you from parts that wear out prematurely during normal conditions and maintenance. There are usually have strict guidelines on how often you need to have regularly scheduled maintenance, such as oil changes and tune ups, done in order to validate the warranty on your powertrain. Make sure you keep good records and receipts on any routine maintenance or repairs done and on hand to avoid any problems.
Bumper to Bumper warranty
This is generally a warranty on all other parts that are not covered by the powertrain warranty such as the climate control, sensors, lights, and many other non-engine components. Don’t take the term “bumper to bumper” too literally though, make sure you read and understand what is covered. Some luxury car manufacturers’ Bumper to Bumper warranties even include roadside assistance or regular maintenance.
These are warranties that, as the name suggests, extend the original warranty on your vehicle. These can be purchased through the manufacturer or through third parties such as the dealership. When purchasing an extended warranty you have to be very savvy shopper by taking the time to read and fully understand all the details. You should never feel pressured to make the decision immediately. These warranties often cover less than what your original warranty covered since they are marketed towards owners that have already had their vehicle through the ‘honeymoon’ years and are now going through the, “stuffs beginning to break,” years.
Special warranties such as Corrosion, courtesy transportation, or Emissions
These warranties can be bundled with your regular warranties or offered separately for a small additional cost. Be careful when selecting any extra warranty, even if it is offered by the manufacturer. Some of these are great, but others, like the emissions warranty, don’t apply to Florida drivers since we don’t have a requirement to pass annual emissions tests like some other states. Many of these superfluous warranties are also services that are already offered by your insurance company or roadside assistance company. The best advice is to just be a responsible consumer and research before you buy. If you feel intimidated by all these different warranties being thrown your way just pick up the phone and call your mechanic, they may be able to clarify if the warranty is something that will actually benefit you or not.
A Few Tips to Avoid Warranty Issues:
Read your warranty.
- If you cannot find your warranty, you can look it up your vehicle manufacturer’s website. There are a few types of warranties such as powertrain warranty and basic or “bumper to bumper” warranty. Each type of warranty will only cover specific parts in specific conditions.
- Know how long your warranty covers your vehicle. Many car manufacturers have at least a 3 year 36,000 mile basic warranty, but there are a lot of variations. Some vehicles come with multiple warranties that have vastly different timeframes. These all expire on a “whichever comes first” timeframe.
- Service your vehicle at the required intervals spelled out in your user’s manual and by the warranty. If you don’t do this you may be considered negligent and not covered any longer by your warranty. Some parts don’t require maintenance more than once a year, but your user’s manual will let you know exactly what needs to be done and when to keep your warranty active.
- Keep good records of all maintenance and repairs. Everything from oil changes, tire rotations, and even just inspections; keep the receipts! This proves you were maintaining the vehicle per your user’s manual’s and warranty’s requirements.
- Be careful with performance modifications. Before you modify anything on your vehicle, check with your warranty or call the dealership. Some things that car manufacturers have identified as warranty killers are things such as “power chips” designed to circumvent your factory settings and push your engine to limits it isn’t normally designed for. Other items like cold air intakes or spoilers are harmless and if installed properly do not void a manufacturer’s warranty.
- Complain! The Federal Trade Commission is encourages you to complain if you feel your warranty wasn’t honored. Have good records to back up your case and, as with any complaint, go through the proper channels to get your complaint resolved. Start with the supervisor first, of course, often it is just a misunderstanding that can be handled effectively by the staff on hand. If it isn’t resolved by speaking to the supervisor you may want to ask another dealer or contact the manufacturer. If you need to, you may want to get the state Attorney General or local consumer protection office involved if you need to escalate your complaint.
Car manufacturers have great pride in their vehicles and it is often reflected in the warranties they provide. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions or you don’t understand a phrase or stipulation in the warranty, it could save you a great amount of money in the long run.