It’s mind boggling how many drivers still think they need to service their newer vehicle at a dealership while it is under warranty, in order to maintain that warranty. This is simply not the case, and this false belief continues despite the best efforts of many automotive professionals (including myself) to educate the motoring public about this.
Almost every week, clients tell us things like “I can’t wait until my other car is out of warranty, so you can look after that one too!” or “My friend wants to bring her car to your shop too, but it is still under warranty so she has to go to the dealer.” These are comments from loyal customers who already trust us; already know how good our service is; but still believe that we can’t service their newer vehicle while it is under warranty. Each of these situations gives us a chance to have a conversation about why this isn’t true, but there are still so many Airdrie drivers who share this false belief. We’re hoping this post helps reach a few more of them.
So, where does this myth come from?
Honestly, we’re not sure! While lots of clients have told us that dealership employees are actually telling new car buyers that they cannot service their car anywhere else, we’re not so quick to point the finger. I personally know a number of automotive professionals working in dealerships who would never spread misinformation like this.
It’s more likely that this bad information persists as a sort of “old wives tale”; similar to how many people believe that eating carrots improves your eyesight, or cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis. Can you shed some light on where this myth comes from? Please email us, or drop us a comment!
What does the law say?
Suggesting that you need to service your vehicle at the dealership where you purchased isn’t just wrong; it’s actually illegal! This is referred to as “tied selling”, which is in direct violation of Canada’s Competition Act. Other countries around the world, such as England or the United States have similar legislation.
Industry groups such as the Automotive Industries Association of Canada have released statements such as this one, in order to try and provide some clarification for consumers on the issue.
Alright, so I can service my car wherever I want. What do I need to do to maintain my warranty?
There are certain things you must do to maintain the warranty on your new vehicle, regardless of where you service it. If you choose to service your vehicle with us at My Garage, we automatically do all of these things for you – but here’s a quick breakdown:
- Perform all of the services your vehicle requires, as outlined by your owner’s manual. Your owner’s manual contains a maintenance schedule that outlines when certain services such as oil changes or filter replacements need to be done. This is the maintenance schedule you need to follow, not any “in house” schedule that a service shop may have cooked up themselves. If you’re doing your maintenance with us, we look after all the reading for you. We’ll keep you on track, and make you aware up of upcoming services so you can plan & budget for them.
- Use genuine OEM or approved fluids. While using OEM (from a dealership) parts is not required to maintain your warranty, using the correct fluids is. This means that you’ll want to avoid shops that use aftermarket “universal” or “multi vehicle” fluids that aren’t tested and approved by your vehicle manufacturer. A fluid that is “recommended for” your vehicle isn’t good enough; it needs an OEM approval. Again, we look after this requirement for you as we only use genuine OEM fluids.
- Use premium filters. Many cheap economy filters aren’t nearly as good as your original filters. A good example of this are the economy oil filters used by “quick lube” shops; many of them are only designed to be used for a maximum of 5,000 km and they won’t last through a modern oil change interval of 8,000-15,000 km. Just in the past year, we’ve seen numerous engine warranty claims denied because the customer had an economy oil filter installed. You’ll be happy to know that we only use premium filters.
- Keep your maintenance records. If you ever need to make a warranty claim, the servicing dealership may ask to see your maintenance records. (For example, proof of regular oil changes.) Keeping all your service receipts together in one place not only speeds up the claims process, but it provides a valuable selling tool to have on hand if you ever decide to sell your vehicle.
The “building goodwill” myth:
The purpose of this article is to clear up some common misinformation, not to discourage servicing your vehicle at a dealership. Certain dealerships do a great job, and they might offer the best service choice in some markets. In other markets, customers often service their vehicle at a dealership that they don’t like, only because they mistakenly feel they are “building goodwill” in the event of a warranty issue. They feel that if they do all their service with a certain dealership, that dealership will be more likely to authorize a warranty claim when something happens.
In reality, the decision whether or not to authorize a warranty claim usually isn’t made at the dealership level – especially with larger claims like an engine or transmission replacement. Those decisions are made higher up the chain of command, by the car manufacturer themselves. As long as you’ve satisfied the requirements in our list above, you have nothing to worry about.
Where should I service my vehicle, then?
We’d like to argue that you should service your vehicle with us! Newer vehicle maintenance is a specialty of ours, and we offer several advantages that no other local shops – including dealerships – offer. Next month, we’ll break down all of those advantages in a new blog post. Can’t wait that long? Please feel free to email us, message us, or call any time! We’re here for you.