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Know the Facts About Your Vehicle Warranty

Car Care Council (select to view enlarged photo)

FTC Provides "Tips on Making Most of Your Auto Warranty"

BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 15, 2011-- Because there are many misconceptions about what makes a vehicle's warranty valid, the Car Care Council applauds the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for issuing a second consumer alert to ensure consumers are aware of the facts surrounding auto warranties.

"The Federal Trade Commission has made it a point to inform vehicle owners of their rights when it comes to their car manufacturers' warranties," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "They have made it crystal clear that consumers can patronize their neighborhood repair shop or do the work themselves without violating the manufacturer's warranty."

The recent FTC consumer alert entitled "FTC Offers Tips in Making the Most of Your Auto Warranty" states, "Can a dealer void your car's warranty if you have someone else do routine maintenance on the vehicle? The answer is no, and the Federal Trade Commission wants to make sure consumers know it. Under federal law, it is illegal for manufacturers or dealers to refuse to honor a warranty or to deny coverage simply because someone other than the dealer did work on the car."

The FTC also offers these tips to help consumers make smart decisions and get the most out of their auto warranties:

  • Read the warranty that came with the car, or check the "owners" section of the manufacturer's Web site.
  • Be aware of when the warranty period ends, and get any problems that arise checked out beforehand.
  • Service the car at regular intervals, following the manufacturer's recommended service schedule.
  • Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who performs the service. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads and inspections. These receipts can be used to prove that the vehicle was properly maintained.
  • Complain if you believe your warranty claim has been denied unfairly. Speak to a supervisor at the dealership, and then go to the manufacturer or another dealer. Consider filing a complaint with the state Attorney General, local consumer protection office, local Better Business Bureau or the FTC.

"It is also important to note that aftermarket parts can be used without fear of voiding the warranty," White said.