How To Protect Your Vehicle’s Warranty

No doubt there is nothing like driving your brand-new vehicle off the dealership lot.  The thrill. The excitement. The worry that the pristine paint may get scratched on the way home.  It’s the same for most new car buyers.  And while you may be thinking about making your monthly payments, and insurance coverage, you may not be paying attention to your Vehicle’s Factory Warranty.  Most people don’t even remember about their Factory Warranty until something goes wrong with their vehicle.  But no matter what your warranty covers, you should know the ins and outs of your coverage.


Know Your Coverage

Like every driver, no two factory warranty programs are identical.  A Factory Warranty may include a powertrain warranty, maintenance, corrosion and/or emissions coverage depending on your make and model.  It will also include an expiration date that designates a specific number of months and/or miles, whichever comes first, that will signal the end of the warranty.  As the owner, it is your responsibility to understand what your factory warranty coverage includes and what is excluded from coverage.  For this reason, a copy of your warranty should be included in the car documents to keep readily at hand.  And if you choose to sell or trade in your vehicle, many times these warranties are transferrable, so you should keep the paperwork after selling a car until all the transfer documents have been completed.

Proper Fuel

While you may be saving a few dollars at the gas pump, filling up your vehicle with the wrong grade gasoline could void your factory warranty.  One of the primary rules of car maintenance is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines found in the owner’s manual. It will show the minimum octane level from the three types of gas for cars, and let you know whether premium gas is recommended or required for your vehicle. Using fuel with an octane level lower than what is recommended by the manufacturer can reduce engine performance. Should you put lower octane gas in cars that require premium gas, over time, this habit can cause damage to the engine and emissions control system.

Regular Scheduled Maintenance

Making sure your vehicle is kept in generally good condition is not just a good car ownership habit, it is an essential requirement of the mass majority of factory warranty rules.  Not only does normal maintenance of vehicles result in your vehicle performing in top condition but it allows your technicians the opportunity to inspect the vehicle for any unusual sounds, smells and wear of your vehicle.  You can refer to the car maintenance checklist, or vehicle maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual if you are not familiar with your vehicle’s needs.  By ignoring your maintenance schedule, if a problem should arise with your vehicle, you could forfeit your warranty because it was not regularly inspected and serviced.

Use ONLY Manufacturer OEM Parts

While you can certainly save a few dollars purchasing generic or “second market” parts from outfits like Advance Auto Parts, should that part cause a bigger problem in your vehicle it could void your warranty and the cost of the repair would become YOUR responsibility.  That is why it is recommended that only Manufacturer recommended brand parts (sometimes referred to as OEM Parts) be used when you are in for maintenance or repair.  To protect your warranty, our dealerships’ service teams will verify your warranty coverage before they build out your repair order.  Should your warranty require a specific OEM brand part, they will NOT use anything less than what is required to keep you in good standing with your warranty provider.

Modifications and Uplifts

While you own your vehicle, sometimes having modifications made to your vehicle can void your factory warranty.  Even something as simple as adding a hitch or lifting the suspension that is not done by a factory authorized service center can jeopardize your coverage.  Before going through the expense of enhancing your vehicle, check your warranty to see what limitations are in place.

Keep Your Receipts

While bringing your vehicle into a factory authorized dealership for service will ensure that the warranty guidelines will be upheld, sometimes it isn’t possible.  No matter if its a simple oil change or tire replacement, ALWAYS keep your receipts for any work done by a third-part service center.  Should your vehicle develop an issue later, it is important to prove that you adhered to your warranty’s required maintenance schedule to have your warranty pay for the repairs.

Keeping your receipts will also come in handy if you are considering selling or trading in your vehicle.  Should your factory warranty be transferrable, you need to show that all recommended regular maintenance, recalls, and repairs have been properly completed.  Not only will this prove the vehicle in is good mechanical condition, but it can also improve the trade in car value of your car, SUV or Truck.

Are the Rules the Same for an Extended Warranty?

You may have chosen to extend your factory warranty by purchasing an extended car warranty. Deciding if it is worth getting extended car warranty coverage will be based on how long you plan on keeping the vehicle, how many miles you expect to put on the vehicle each year, and if it is worth buying extended car warranty from a cost factor.

But generally, the same rules apply to protecting your extended car warranty as they would for the factory warranty that came with the purchase of the vehicle.

New Car Vs Used Car Warranty

If you purchased your vehicle as a used car, the same rules apply when trying to protect your Certified Pre-Owned Warranty.  What is duration of the warranty as well as covered under warranty for the car will be different.  You should be able to answer “what does a car warranty cover” as well as “how long will I have coverage” when you are looking at a vehicle.  What is covered will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the length of coverage will be based on how old the vehicle is and how many miles are on the odometer.

In a Nut Shell

Knowing what is covered, what is excluded and how to protect your warranty upfront will help you love your car in the long-run.  So take it from us:  Know your coverage, adhere to your maintenance schedule, keep all your receipts and always use manufacturer recommended OEM Parts.  Follow these rules and if disaster should happen, know that you will be protected.