Can a Dealer Refuse to Do Warranty Work?
These days our cars come with warranties, ensuring that should something go wrong, you are covered. We all know how expensive car repairs can be, so getting them included is a bonus!
But perhaps, like us, you have heard rumors of dealers refusing to carry out warranty work. Instead of having their repairs carried out with ease, people are met with refusals and uphill battles to get their AC fixed.
It’s not a pleasant thought, is it? After all, we all want access to what we are entitled to. We took it upon ourselves to get to the bottom of this and determine if a dealer can refuse to do warranty work. Stick with us to find out!
What is warranty work?
For those in the room that needs a little refresh, warranty work is carried out on your car while still under warranty. The repairs will be paid for by the vehicle’s manufacturer directly to the mechanic carrying out the work.
When purchasing a car on a lease, outright, or anyone under regulations, most of us will find a warranty attached to our vehicles. Generally, this excludes buying used cars from individuals, although the car’s original warranty period might still be valid!
Even though our car has come with a warranty, things can still go wrong that aren’t your fault. Your warranty will detail the problems it will cover, such as electrical faults in your air conditioning or drive shaft issues. Should anything go wrong here, you can take your car to a mechanic and have it repaired without paying for the costs yourself!
There is a range of different warranties, be sure to check what yours is and read the fine print before having a mechanic carry out work. Sometimes you will need to take the car to a specific mechanic for repairs, but this will be detailed in your warranty.
Warranty work excludes routine repairs on your car, such as replacing brake pads; it focuses more on manufacturer or factory issues that can occur that are not the driver’s fault.
Now that we have covered what warranty work is let’s answer all your burning questions!
Can a dealer refuse to do warranty work?
Legally, no, a dealer cannot refuse to complete warranty work. Under federal law, manufacturers and dealers must honor your warranty and carry out the repair work for you.
They can also not deny the repairs because other mechanics that are not your dealer have carried out any previous repairs. Whether you have had your oil or tires changed at your local garage, the dealer will still be required to complete any repair work that is covered by your warranty.
Even after substantial repair work has been completed on the vehicle, your dealer will still be responsible for completing any work on your car. Your warranty cannot be voided if someone else has completed repair work such as electronic work or bodywork; your dealership still has its obligation to you.
But there are times when a dealership can refuse to complete warranty work. The dealer must prove improper repairs, maintenance, or upgrades have been carried out to deny any work. They will need to have documented proof of this to refuse to carry out warranty work legally.
While they can refuse work on certain aspects of your vehicle, they cannot void the whole car. For example, if the warranty has been voided on your electrical system, that does not mean it is void on your engine. This can vary from warranty to warranty, so be sure to check this before purchasing your vehicle.
Do dealers like warranty work?
Although it is a legal requirement, dealers do not necessarily enjoy warranty work. Generally, the car manufacturer will pay a lower labor rate to the dealer carrying out any warranty work.
The parts for repairing also come from the manufacturer, meaning that the dealers are unlikely to make as much money as they usually would from carrying out repair work.
Many people blame the manufacturer for dealers not enjoying completing warranty work. There are few reimbursements for dealers carrying out warranty work, so some vehicle owners find it hard to get the work they need to complete.
Manufacturers have been aware of this, especially as customers complain when their work has been refused and tried to fix it. They have increased their warranty reimbursements and found ways to ensure that unnecessary work does not get charged. While this has helped, some dealers are still put off, making more money from non-warranty work.
But don’t let that put you off! Not all dealers are the same, and some dealers have seen the benefits of completing warranty work. Completing warranty work quickly and to a high standard builds trust with customers and ensures that they will continue to return to purchase new cars or leases.
While some manufacturers dislike warranty work, some can see the benefits and carry it out. However, due to the low costs from the manufacturer, you might find some disgruntled work or attempts to rebuke it in favor of more expensive non-warranty repairs.
What happens if the dealership can’t fix my car under warranty?
If the dealership cannot repair your car under warranty, they might have to purchase the vehicle off you. Then you would be paid compensation through a lemon law buyback that ensures you are not out of pocket.
You can also take the car to another dealership or an independent mechanic for further advice and a consultation to see if they can fix the problem. Be sure to keep all your paperwork for an accurate record of all the work conducted.
In most cases, dealers will be able to fix the work, so it should not happen to you. However, sometimes they cannot fix the car. It’s usually due to the manufacturers not allocating enough time to fix the car or if the problem is highly complex.
In these instances, another dealership or contacting an attorney for advice on a lemon law buyback are your best options.