Warrantees - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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Poor Maintenance Can Void Your Warranty

Poor Maintenance Can Void Your Warranty

It seems innocent enough… your car’s working great, you live an incredibly busy life, you drive a lot and the car’s new. Why bother following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule?

We encounter this scenario at our shop from time to time. It shows up as a vehicle that has not been maintained to factory specs; in fact the factory schedule has been completely ignored. The consequence of this is two fold: first, damage is taking place to your vehicle even if you can’t feel it right now; and second, your warranty will be void should you need to make a claim.

Recently we had a client who came in for his first oil change on a Japanese vehicle with 50,000 kilometers on the odometer. It was quite frankly a miracle that his engine was still running but it was and in fact running fine.

However tell tail signs of abuse were present as grungy deposits were visible inside the engine. Hopefully this is one of those rare engines that can take excessive abuse and still survive: we do see that… not very often, but sometimes.

What is perhaps worrying is that, should our client have an engine problem, he will have no warranty coverage as he has not followed the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. This could be very costly as a replacement engine job could be $5000.00 or more. Five oil changes costs around $300.00 and more should have been done, but 5 would have satisfied the manufacturer’s schedule.

That’s a huge cost difference.

Be certain to follow your maintenance schedule: it definitely saves you lots of money and gives you peace of mind. Remember – poor maintenance can void your warranty.

Poor Maintenance Can Void Your Warranty

Oil dipstick after 50,000 km with no oil change. Note the baked on deposit and sludge to the right of the bump in the stick (center of photo): this will be present inside the engine and likely lead to an early engine failure

A Surprising Oil Leak

We recently serviced this almost new 2011 Ford E350 Van with only 17,000 kilometers and found this oil leak from the left rear axle seal. It is quite a substantial leak and somewhat unexpected on a new new vehicle. However there it is and the great news is it’s covered by their manufacturer’s warranty and will be fixed for free!

A Surprising Oil Leak

Leaking axle seal on 2011 Ford E350 van

We Service New Cars

We love servicing new vehicles and always appreciate working with the clean, shiny and newly painted undercarriage and suspension components.

Many of our clients bring their new vehicles to us for service but some take their new cars to the dealer. Is it because they feel their warranty will be voided if the dealer doesn’t service it? Is it because the glitzy feel of the dealership somehow pulls on them and makes them feel like these are the folks who will best service this car? Were they told that their car must be serviced by the dealer? Or perhaps, after years of fixing their old car we are thought of as the “old car repair shop.”

Whatever the reason it is time to bust a few myths:

Myth 1:

My warranty will be void if anyone other than the dealer services my car.

Fact: Any qualified auto service facility can perform the manufacturers recommended maintenance and your warranty remains valid. By the way it is illegal for anyone selling you a new car to state that you must have your car serviced at their dealership.

Myth 2:

If there is a warranty related problem the dealer won’t take care of me because I have done my service elsewhere.

Fact:

    The dealer is obliged to repair any warranty concerns that the manufacturer authorizes and most are happy to do so as it is business for them.

Myth 3:

The dealer knows my car better. It’s new technology and they have the tools to fix it.

Fact:

    While dealer technicians are specifically trained on their type of vehicle all cars function the same way with only subtle differences. We have state of the art equipment and repair information that is equal to or better than the dealer.

Myth 4:

If there is a recall only the dealer will know that.

Fact:

    We have a state of the art database which lists all manufacturers maintenance schedules as well as recalls. We look these over every time your car is brought in for service.

I hope that this sheds some light for you and helps you make a choice as to who services your car.

As a further advantage to dealing with us we are your 3rd party advocate to be certain that your vehicle is being properly serviced and any warranty related concerns are brought to your attention. So much of your car is hidden and unless someone mentions a concern you are unlikely to know that it is needed.

If you like the service and value that you get from the dealership by all means stick with them; however do know that you have a choice, and I believe that we offer a fabulous choice, superior to the dealership.

We Service New Cars

Underside of 2011 Dodge Avenger in for its first service

3rd Party Extended Warrantees

Extended Warranty

What do they cover and what are the pitfalls?

When buying a used vehicle, many dealers will offer extended warrantees. While the thought of warrantee protection sounds fantastic, clearly examining the contract is critical before paying extra cash for what may be of little value.

Extended Warranty

First thing to know is that these warrantees are provided by a warrantee company who has no affiliation with the vehicle manufacturer. Their business is selling warrantees and to make a profit they must pay out as little in claims as possible.

While your vehicle manufacturer also wants to also do a bare minimum of warrantee repairs, they have their reputation at stake when something goes wrong. For a warrantee company any claim is a cost against their profit.

Secondly some warrantee companies have unrealistic requirements when it comes to routine maintenance services such as oil changes.

One company insists that oil be changed every 3 months or 5,000 kilometers and will allow only one extra month or 1000 kilometers. This is completely substandard to the automotive industry but yet you must follow their schedule to keep the warrantee valid.

Third item on the list is what the warrantee actually covers. Only parts listed on the contract are covered.

For most concerns this is adequate but I have seen several occasions where a faulty part is not covered because it is not specifically named in the contract. Diagnosis is also yours to pay. If your check engine lamp is on and/or your car runs poorly they will usually pay for the repair (provided the part is listed in the contract) but not the diagnosis.

Many times the diagnosis is complex and could cost you several hundred dollars. As a repair facility, we are responsible to repair the problem; coverage for that is what you paid for. Strangely though, they won’t pay for the process of finding out what the actual fault is. Also, items such as fluids and shop supplies are not covered. In the case of a leaking radiator for example, they will pay for your radiator and labour, but not the antifreeze.

Fourth concern is that repairs are limited only to the part at fault.

Here’s an example: if your automatic transmission has a problem, they will cover only the labour to remove and reinstall the transmission along with disassembly and reassembly to replace the faulty part. They will only pay for the faulty part and bare minimum of other parts to complete the repair.

While this solves the problem, usually an automatic transmission is so labour intensive to repair, that rebuilding it completely is the most cost effective way to go to ensure a proper, long life repair. This costs marginally more than just replacing the part at fault, yet they will not do this and so you, the consumer, are stuck with a substandard repair.

So there you have it: the dark side of that warrantee that sounds so good in the dealer’s office. There are good points and a warrantee -can- save you money. The important thing is to read the contract, look at the reliability records of car that you are buying and then make an educated decision.

If you need an opinion on a warrantee that you are about to purchase, call us or talk to your trusted shop for their thoughts.

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