It's a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the routine maintenance and repairs on a newer vehicle that is under warranty. In fact, it is law that consumers can patronize their neighborhood repair shop or do the work themselves without violating the manufacturer's warranty.
Consumers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which prohibits a manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was done by a non-dealer.
According to the FTC:
It's illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads and inspections.
Many motorists wonder if they will void their factory warranty if someone other than the dealer services their vehicle. The truth is that consumers can have routine repairs performed by their local independent repair shop or do the work themselves without affecting the warranty. It is also important to note that using aftermarket parts does not void the warranty.
When using a non-dealer, independent aftermarket shop to maintain your vehicle, the Car Care Council recommends keeping records and receipts for all maintenance that is done to the vehicle and adhering to scheduled maintenance requirements. If a warranty claim arises, these records will provide proof that maintenance has been done in accordance with the manufacturers' recommendations and requirements.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.