True or false: Until your vehicle is out-of-warranty, all maintenance services must be done at the car dealership or your factory warranty will be void. Although you may have answered “true,” the correct answer is “false,” according to the Car Care Council. It’s the law that independent repair shops can provide the services to maintain your new car warranty.
“It’s a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the maintenance services on a newer vehicle that is under warranty,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Clearly, consumers can have maintenance services done by their local independent service shop without affecting your warranty, even though dealers and manufacturers often suggest the opposite.”
According to the council, consumers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the general principles of the Federal Trade Commission, which prohibit a manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was done by a non-dealer.
Specifically, the language states, “No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer’s using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the commission if – (1) the warrantor satisfies the commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and (2) the commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest,” (http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/15C50.txt).
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.
To locate a non-dealer, independent aftermarket facility, vehicle owners should visit the council’s website, www.carcare.org, which has a searchable list of about 70,000 independent repair facilities, auto parts retailers, body shops and engine installers and rebuilders. Many independent repair centers also have websites that include information about their services and credentials. Automotive aftermarket trade associations, the Better Business Bureau and AAA are also resources to use to locate a repair facility.
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. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide, which is now available electronically, or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.