How to Get a Car Warranty Honored

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How to Get a Car Warranty Honored (Photo: @Boytaro1428 via Twenty20)
Car warranties spell out exactly what they will cover and what is expected of you as the car owner. For instance, most warranties require that routine maintenance and repairs be done in a timely manner. Putting these off only makes the damage worse. Make sure you keep up your end of the agreement and know what to do if they don’t uphold theirs.

Know what’s covered by your car warranty

Step 1: Read your warranty carefully. Don’t just skim over it and read a few sentences here and there that you think might be relevant. Take your time and read it over carefully.
Step 2: Ask for clarification. There is often terminology in a warranty document that needs clarification. Contact your dealer or the company that sold you the warranty and get clarification.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Warranty and vehicle terminology isn’t always easy to understand. But it’s up to you to find out the details.
Step 3: Make sure you know who is selling you the warranty. There should be contact information for the warranty company with the warranty.
If it isn’t spelled out in the warranty, find out ahead of time. You need to have the warranty company’s name, address and telephone number.

Hold up your end of the agreement

Step 1: Get normal maintenance work done on time. This means oil changes, air filter changes, new brake pads, new battery, and so on. The best way to do this is to simply set up a standing appointment with your mechanic.
The warranty will spell out how often this routine maintenance should be done.
  • Tip: You do not have to take your car to the dealership or a specific mechanic for maintenance.
Step 2: Keep detailed records. Get a maintenance record booklet, or even just a regular notepad, and write down the date and service performed every time you have your car serviced.
Put the receipts in the booklet or envelope right away. Do not just throw them in the glove compartment with every intention of taking care of it later.
Put the booklet or envelope in the car when you take it in for service and record the service the minute you get into the car when you pick it up. It only takes a few minutes.

Complain, loudly, all the way to the top if need be

Step 1: Speak up if you’re in the right. If you take your car in for a repair that should be covered by the warranty, and the warranty provider or mechanic says it isn’t covered, complain.
Keep your cool, though. You will only make a potentially difficult situation worse by losing your temper.
Step 2: Get out your warranty and point to the specific section that addresses the situation. Make sure the person you are dealing with understands you know what your warranty says and you know your rights.
  • Tip: The use of aftermarket and recycled car parts will not void your warranty.
Step 3: Work your way up the ladder. Go to the manager of the shop or dealership and beyond. If this doesn’t work, contact the warranty company. Make sure they understand you will take further steps, if necessary.
Step 4: Take further steps. When you have upheld your end of the warranty and they are refusing to pay for the work, contact your local consumer protection office. If need be, you can go even further by contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your State Attorney General.
If you are in the right, you will eventually get satisfaction. You simply have to stick to your guns until the warranty company recognizes that they must honor the warranty.