Q: I'm in the market for a new car. At one dealership, I was told that I am required to bring the car back to the dealer for all maintenance and repairs or my manufacturer's warranty will be voided. Is this true?
A: In a word, NO! Federal law prohibits new-car dealers from denying warranty service and from even implying that warranty service will be voided if servicing or repairs are not performed at the dealership.
The law is the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975, Title 15, Chapter 50, Section 2301-2312. Look it up for yourself.
A complete version of the Magnuson-Moss Act can be found at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/warranty.htm. A Google search for the act will also bring up many Web sites that explain this federal code provision in layman's language.
The new-car owner manuals also tell you that your vehicle's maintenance and replacement or repair of the emission control devices, etc., may be performed by any automotive repair establishment or individual without invalidating the manufacturer's warranty. Look under "Vehicle maintenance and care," "Maintenance providers," "Where to go for service and replacement parts," just to name a few areas in the manuals where you will find this confirmed.
For example, under "replacement parts" it says, "Warranty coverage is not dependent upon the use of any particular brand of replacement parts."
The maintenance section says, "When maintenance and repairs are paid for by you, these services may be performed by you or by any automotive service provider you choose."
Have you ever wondered how well a vehicle is being serviced at a facility whose primary purpose is to sell you a new car every three to five years? You may prefer a service provider who wants to develop a long-term relationship with you and help your vehicle stay healthy for 10 years or more.
The next time you are told that a new car has to be serviced at the dealer or the warranty will be void, mention the Magnuson-Moss Act and say, "It just isn't so!"