Chrysler, which owns Dodge, has given a few of its vehicles a lifetime powertrain warranty. For a 2009 Ram 1500, the warranty covers certain engine, transmission, and axle repairs. This warranty is valid for the first owner or lessee of the truck, no matter how long they have the truck.
Ram 1500s are popular trucks and are often recommended for their towing and cargo capacities. For drivers that plan to keep their truck for several years, the powertrain warranty could be appealing.
However, Chrysler has requirements that Ram 1500 owners should keep in mind. One tricky rule states that the truck must undergo a free powertrain inspection at an authorized dealer once every five years. Chrysler is claiming that, without doing the inspection every five years, they can refuse to pay for repairs that would’ve been covered by the warranty.
But who should be responsible for keeping track of these inspections—the vehicle owner, the dealership, or the manufacturer? This very question is at the heart of a Kansas lawsuit.
According to CarComplaints.com, Michael Marksberry purchased his Ram 1500 from a Kansas dealership in October 2009. Now, fast forward five years to 2014.
In order to keep the powertrain warranty valid, Marksberry had to bring his truck in to be inspected 60 days before or after the five-year mark.
Marksberry brought his vehicle in for regular service in December 2014. However, he didn't request a powertrain inspection, nor did the dealership offer to do one. Dodge provided powertrain inspection logs in the 2009 Ram warranty brochure to help owners keep track of these inspections, but no reminder is required.
When the dealership later refused to fix broken exhaust manifold bolts for free, Marksberry filed a lawsuit against Chrysler. He claims that the car manufacturer should be responsible for reminding owners about the powertrain inspections. Chrysler claims the lawsuit should be dropped, as the dealership eventually compensated Marksberry for the repairs.
This has been the case for many other car warranty owners with 2006-2009 vehicles from brands under Fiat Chrysler (FCA). Though no verdict has been reached yet, FCA’s various requests to drop the lawsuit have been denied.
You can avoid unexpected repair bills by staying informed on your car's warranties.
And as Markberry's case has shown, never assume that another party will keep track of warranty requirements. Vehicle owners often have to keep on top of service requirements or risk losing out on the warranty's benefits.
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Hannah is a recent college graduate with a degree in English Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. Currently located in Washington State, she's interested in applying her craft in news areas across new subjects, using her skills to stretch her comfort zone. Outside of writing articles about cars and insurance, Hannah is drawn to Creative Nonfiction writing, though she loves a good fiction book. In her free time, Hannah enjoys reading, playing basketball, sunny hikes in the PNW, and flexing her creative muscles through art.