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Voiding A Vehicle Warranty: How To Avoid It

A car's new vehicle limited warranty. There's a lot of fine print when it comes to your vehicle's warranty. If you want to maintain the warranty on your car, here are some things you should keep an eye on.

Warranties are used to protect consumers and manufacturers and encourage good vehicle maintenance. But it’s important to ask questions about voiding a vehicle warranty — you might be surprised by steps you can take while still following the rules. Here are a few practices to follow for keeping your warranty intact.

Git ‘R Done: Routine maintenance such as oil and filter changes are not only imperative to keeping your car in good condition, but they are required to stay under warranty. You can even do them at home so long as you pay attention to fluids and record-keeping as outlined below.Voiding a Vehicle Warranty: How to Avoid It

Fluid Assets: You might have some leeway in aftermarket parts, but manufacturers are serious about which fluids you use. Some go as far as to have it tested when you come in for service, so always read their specifications and follow them to the letter where oils, etc. are concerned.

On Track: To stay under warranty, you’ll need to prove you were taking good care of your vehicle. If you do the work yourself, keep records with dates and products used. If you take it to your local NAPA AutoCare, keep all of the receipts.

Stay Regular: In keeping with the above, make sure to follow all service intervals, and watch the length of the warranty itself. File any claims well before it expires.

Read It or Weep: Thoroughly read the warranty and all manufacturer specifications before performing a service. Contrary to popular belief, you can repair, make modifications, and use aftermarket parts per the law — BUT, if those modifications/parts are found to have caused an issue you want to be repaired, your warranty will not cover it. Be especially wary of performance and suspension mods.

Whose Job: Some rare special repairs do require parts used or services rendered to be certified by the manufacturer. This is especially true of body repair after an accident. If in doubt, read the warranty.

Just Drive: In order to keep your warranty, you have to use your vehicle as intended. Technically that means no off-roading and no racing. Insurance companies have been known to keep track of who shows up to race events, and certain modifications (such as chipping, etc.) will raise red flags at dealerships who may deny coverage as a result.

Natural Disasters: This one isn’t something you can really control, but most damage caused by natural disasters will void a warranty. Try to protect yourself from the elements, but be ready to pay out-of-pocket if you can’t.

Miles Is Miles: Do not mess with your odometer. It gives the true age of a vehicle for servicing and selling alike and altering it will void a warranty immediately.

Buyer Beware: If buying used, always check the vehicle’s history. Cars with salvage titles are not covered under warranty, and that information can be hidden from buyers who don’t look into it.

Fight Back: Much of a warranty is open to interpretation. If you disagree with a claim denial, it’s your right to take it up the management ladder, look into it, get a second opinion or explore legal options. Just know that this can be difficult and time-consuming and you’d better have the records to back it up.

The best advice here is to follow manufacturer instructions and take good care of your vehicle, which, presumably, you’d want to do anyway.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on voiding a vehicle warranty, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.

Blair Lampe View All

Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter.  In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.

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