When it comes to our cars, we certainly like to keep options open. Some consumers are loyal to a brand they like, but most of us will own a variety of different automobiles throughout our lives, because of various factors like comfort, style, cost, and the size of our family, for example.
We also want to have options when it comes to servicing our vehicles. Many people prefer to go to their dealer for service, but this can get pricy. What if you want to have your car serviced at a local auto shop that charges less?
You can definitely go this route, but you may be understandably concerned about what this could mean in terms of the warranty on your vehicle. Will going somewhere else affect your warranty? The answer is: maybe. Here's what you need to know.
New Car Warranty
When it comes to a new car factory warranty, which is offer by the carmaker, it's not legal for manufacturers to require you to service your car at the dealership, although that's what they recommend. The thing is, if you want to go to your own mechanic for service, you need to make sure you understand how your warranty works.
In most cases, the factory warranty can be voided in a number of ways, primarily by failing to keep up with regular servicing and maintenance. If you go to the dealership for these services, they have a record of it, so there's no chance of accidentally voiding the warranty. If, however, you decide to visit your preferred mechanic elsewhere, the onus is on you to maintain records in case your warranty is called into question down the line.
Labor vs. Parts
With paperwork proving you've adhered to a regular schedule of maintenance, you can ensure you won't void your warranty based on missed services. There are, however, other things you need to be careful about when it comes to taking your car to an outside mechanic.
For example, the fine print may specify which parts must be used for repair and replacement, and this usually includes parts manufactured by the automaker. If you use cheaper aftermarket parts or you make modifications to your car, you could end up voiding the warranty.
Keep in mind that you may have different rules if you purchase an extended warranty, which is typically offered by a third party, not the manufacturer or the dealership. It's incumbent on you to read the fine print so you understand your obligations, as well as the pros and cons of getting service at your dealership versus an independent auto shop.