When you buy or lease a car from a dealer, they might tell you to bring the car back to them for maintenance—or you’ll void your warranty. So, if you have someone else do maintenance on your car, will you really void the warranty? Or is this just something that your dealer tells you to get you to come back to them?
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Will I Void My Car Manufacturer Warranty by Not Going to an Authorized Dealer?
The short answer here is no. If you take your car to someone other than your dealership, you will not void the warranty on your car. You cannot be denied repairs or coverage by your warranty.
This is according to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and guaranteed by law. If someone else performs repairs, your warranty still has to cover it.
That being said, there are caveats to this. Depending on the type of repairs or the work done, it is true that your repairs may not actually be covered.
Voiding the Warranty
There are situations where the warranty will, in fact, be voided. This can occur if someone other than your dealer has done improper repairs and has damaged your car. For example, if a mechanic has replaced a belt incorrectly and caused damage.
In this case, always make sure you have found a good, established shop, preferably with some solid customer reviews. This way, you’ll know that any repairs you have done here will be done by trusted professionals that will not cause any damage to your car.
It may also depend on the type of work that is done on your vehicle. While your dealer can’t void your warranty for usual work done, if they can claim damage or even make the case that something like an oil change was done too soon or too late, the claim can still be legally denied.
You need to read the fine print of your warranty because while no dealership can void your warranty for going to someone else, they might have a requirement that certain free services offered under warranty need to be done at certain facilities.
This depends entirely on your warranty, just like the dates. You might have some free services offered, but this can always expire with your warranty.
Your warranty claim could be denied if your dealership claims that you did not perform the required maintenance—which they may be able to claim since they would have no record of you visiting them.
This is why you need to save all of your receipts. If you have an oil change performed somewhere independently while still under warranty, ensure you have a record of it so that you can prove you have done the required maintenance. Do the same thing for any tire rotations, fluid flushes, or anything else you need to do regularly.
Perform Regular Maintenance
One of the best ways to ensure that you have no problems with getting your work covered is if you continue to perform regular work on your car—no matter where you go for this maintenance.
Your dealer cannot legally void your warranty for any other reason than an improper repair or improper care on your car. This means that if you decide not to care for your car, they can choose not to honor your warranty with them.
You cannot have your warranty legally voided if you choose to see an independent mechanic, regardless of what your dealer has told you. As long as you make sure that you get proper repairs and that you are in the confines of your warranty, you will have no problem going to an independent mechanic to get work done on your car. Just remember that you should always read the fine print of your warranty.