How to Protect Your Car Warranty – And Allow it To Protect You
Regular maintenance to your car is necessary to guarantee that a warranty won’t be voided. A warranty will remain valid no matter who performs the repairs, meaning you can use your own mechanic rather than the dealer’s service department. However, it’s a good idea to keep the receipts as proof that the work was done.
What Voids Your Entire Vehicle Warranty?
In short: breaking the contract between you and the automaker.
Salvage title: If your car was in a severe accident and was given salvage title or declared a total loss, your entire warranty is voided. Unknowingly buying a salvaged car isn’t an issue with certified pre-owned vehicles, but keep this in mind if you are looking to purchase a late-model used car from a private party or independent used car lot. If you are unsure about a car’s past, consider getting a vehicle history report.
Misuse of the vehicle: This term can be interpreted in broad ways, and often includes racing/competition of any type, overloading the vehicle or off-roading. Potentially, anything outside of normal operation of the vehicle can be considered misuse. Some automakers will void your entire warranty for these infractions, and this decision is typically left to the discretion of the warranty administrator. Even if there is no proof but just signs of abuse, your warranty claim may be denied.
Environmental damage: If your vehicle was damaged in a fire, flood, earthquake or any other environmental disaster, the automaker will not honour your warranty.
Altered odometer: If your car’s odometer has been disconnected, tampered with or replaced, the dealer cannot determine the exact mileage. This is usually grounds for a voided warranty. There’s no sure-fire way to know if your odometer has been tampered with, but if you order a vehicle history report, the dealer can check for inconsistencies in mileage reporting.
What Voids Specific Parts?
Neglect: Some people are so oblivious to the needs of their vehicle; they have gone years without having an oil change. If your car is still under warranty, avoid this at all costs. If you fail to take your vehicle in for service during its scheduled maintenance, the dealer is not responsible for repairing any damage to the engine.
Use of dirty or improper fluids: If you put diesel fuel in your petrol engine, any damage incurred is not covered under warranty. Always make sure you are using the correct fluids as outlined in your owner’s manual.
Aftermarket parts or modifications: This aspect of warranty coverage has a great deal of gray area. Although many dealers would have you think otherwise, simply having an aftermarket part or modifying your vehicle cannot void your warranty.
Tips To Avoid Warranty Issues
Here’s how to get the most out of your vehicle’s warranty:
Read your warranty. Often bundled with your owner’s manual, the warranty gives a general description and specific details about your coverage. If you have misplaced your owner’s manual, look for it online. Check the “Owners” section of your manufacturer’s website.
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. This is a good idea in any case. But for the sake of keeping your warranty intact, follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. Details are in your owner’s manual.
Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who performs the service. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads, and inspections. Create a file to keep track of repairs; it will come in handy if you have to use your warranty. If you ever have a warranty claim and it appears that you did not maintain your vehicle, your claim could be denied.