Do I Need to Have My Car Serviced at the Dealership to Keep My Warranty?

If you recently bought a new car or have a used one that’s under warranty, you could be worried about accidentally voiding it. There are some pretty clear stipulations as to what will void your car’s warranty, but is having it worked on by another shop one of them?

Taking your car to the dealership

Motor car on hydraulic lift repair workshop. make sure to ask the mechanic plenty of questsions
Motor car on hydraulic lift repair workshop | Andrew Woodley/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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Some car owners prefer to take their cars to the dealership because they feel that they will get the best service and the best parts. And while that may or may not be true, the fact remains that dealership labor prices can be much higher than most independent shops. However, as long as you get keep your car maintained regularly, then it really doesn’t matter if you take it to a dealership or not, reports North Carolina Consumers Council.

Taking your car to an independent shop won’t void the warranty

A car goes in for repairs at a shop
Having a car warranty is helpful for repair costs and car safety | Bloomberg

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Independent shops, on the other hand, can provide the same services that the dealership shop does, but at a much lower rate. How well of a job they do can vary, so be sure to do your research before taking your car to any shop out of convenience. However, the good news is that your car’s warranty cannot be voided if another shop does the work, according to Autotrader.

But you’re not exactly in the clear when you take your car elsewhere, though. For example, if you have your car maintained regularly at an independent shop and they cause damage to a certain component, then the manufacturer could void your warranty and you’ll have to take it up with the shop instead.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go to the dealership every time, or at all, for your car’s maintenance. It mainly means that it’s a good idea to keep your receipts and keep a record of the services done. That way, the manufacturer, or the dealer, will know that you have been keeping up with the car’s maintenance per the warranty’s stipulations.

You can work on your yourself as well

A container with drained car oil after oil change pictured at the car service
A container with drained car oil after oil change pictured at the car service in Prague, Czech Republic on 31 January 2020. (Photo by Krystof Kriz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

If you’re the type of person who likes to work on their car at home, then you can still do so if your car is still under warranty. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that your warranty is void simply because someone other than the dealer did the work.”

As always, if you do plan on working on and maintaining your car from the comfort of your own garage, be sure to keep a record of it and any receipts that you can in case you need warranty work done later.

Tips to keep your warranty valid

If you want to ensure that you get the most out of your warranty – and avoid it getting voided – then check out these tips from the FTC:

  • Read your warranty: The car that you bought should come with a warranty guide that’s separate from the owner’s manual. This booklet will have the warranty details and guidelines that you can follow.
  • Know your warranty period: Many drivers forget how long their warranty period is, so it’s a good idea to know when it expires. If you don’t know, then you can always call a dealer and have them look it up for you.
  • Service your car regularly: If you want to make sure that your car’s warranty stays intact, then it’s a good idea to keep your car maintained according to the schedule outlined in the owner’s manual.
  • Keep a record of all of your services and receipts: Just as we said before, keeping a record of the maintenance done and receipts for the parts can save you a hassle down the road in the event your warranty does get voided.