One of the biggest myths we hear as mechanics is that you must use an authorised mechanic to service your new car, or your warranty will be voided. There is so much confusion over new car warranties being compromised if you use an independent workshop for logbook servicing in Australia. The dealerships don’t make it easy for you to understand the terms and conditions of your manufacturer’s warranty, this in part comes from lack of information given to you by the dealer at the time of purchase. There is so many decisions being made when you purchase a new car that all the information can be overwhelming.
So, is it true that you don’t need to use an authorised dealership to service your car?
Absolutely! Defective vehicles or parts are just that ‘defective’ and they need to be remedied by the manufacturer irrespective of who services your car. It does not matter which workshop or parts are used in your service, and any qualified mechanical workshop can service and complete your logbook as per the manufacturers specifications without cancelling your manufacturer’s warranty. (The ACCC 2017).
Often there is no clear distinction between what’s covered by your factory warranty versus additional products like extended warranty and service plans. It’s a big decision to purchase a new car and the dealership can overwhelm you with deals, shiny things, incentives, and price reductions all to get the sale. It feels like they are offering you a ‘great deal’ if you sign up to extended warranties and the servicing plan.
They are helping you out, right?
Sadly, no they after the commission and know you are tired, information saturated and overwhelmed by the excitement of it all. But buyer fatigue is a real thing and often the information is given orally rather than in writing, leading to confusion around what you can and can’t do regarding your manufacturers warranty and servicing.
The ACCC New Car Retailing Industry Study (2017) found that there is ‘consumer misunderstanding about warranty and servicing requirements (including the misconception that manufacturer warranties require new cars to be serviced at a dealership)’.
This is due in part to dealers receiving higher commercial commission incentives from after sales services packages and extended warranties than from the actual sale of the new vehicle. It’s in their best interest to sell these add on packages to get you to return to the dealership for services. It’s in their best interest to keep you coming back time and time again. After all they are in sales! It’s their job to sell.
Many people take their new cars back to the manufacturer authorised dealers for repairs and services out of the belief that if they don’t their manufacturer warranty will be voided.
This just is not true.
As long as you use a qualified mechanic you are good to go. At the workshop they can access information required for your vehicle and use the equivalent parts and lubricants that are recommended as well as complete and stamp your logbooks.
Your warranty will not be comprised!
- Only use a qualified mechanic to service your vehicle. If you are also a mechanic, you will need another mechanic to service your vehicle as you can’t perform your own services.
- You need to follow the manufacturers specifications for what and when needs to be completed for each service. This includes the timing for each noted service. Not keeping up with the required service schedule can void your warranty.
- Equivalent parts can be used for your service. The use of genuine parts is not a condition of your warranty as dealers will lead you to believe. Your qualified mechanic will be able to advise you on the best parts and lubricants for your vehicles service as specified by the manufacturer.
If you have already purchased your new car you do need to check what you have signed up for at the time, as there may be individual conditions on an aftermarket warranty extension you have purchased from the dealer or third party. They can at times have their own requirements, if in doubt talk to your independent mechanic and they can help you out. You can also find more information from the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association.
Tip- Before you sign on the dotted line for your new car take some time to review all the information they have given you at the dealership. You may need to request the information in writing so you can go home and think about it. Discuss the options with someone you trust to give you an outsider’s perspective. Buying a new car is exciting and sometimes we get wrapped up in the process and can overlook the finer details. Signing up for servicing packages may see like a good deal at the time but it is definitely worth checking in with your local workshop to compare the pricing and services offered. Just like you have done your research on the type of vehicle you want you need to research the after market offers and packages the dealerships offer.
Now that you know the truth about warranties and servicing, you can happily take your vehicle to your preferred mechanic without the fear of voiding your manufacturer’s warranty. That said, be sure to visit your mechanic when necessary and follow the guidelines above in order to keep your warranty intact.
Get the word out there and save yourself some money!
For more information you can go to the ACCC website.
New Car Retailing Industry Study by the ACCC 2017.