As a responsible car owner, you know that preventive maintenance is important. But must you always take your car to the dealer’s service department? Can your car’s warranty be invalidated if someone other than the dealer changes the oil, rotates the tires or replaces the belts?
“No” says the Federal Trade Commission. Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explains, “It’s against the law for a dealer to refuse to honor a warranty just because someone else did maintenance or repairs on the car.”
The FTC shined a spotlight on this prohibition when it filed an administrative complaint against BMW of North America, LLC and its MINI Division. In the complaint, the FTC alleged that BMW violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers that their warranty would be voided unless MINI parts and MINI dealers were used for maintenance and repair work.
BMW recently settled the complaint by agreeing to a consent order, which:
- Bars BMW from making unsubstantiated statements that to ensure a MINI’s safe operation or to maintain its value, routine maintenance must only be performed by a MINI dealer or MINI center; and
- Requires BMW to provide affected MINI owners with information about their right to use third-party parts and services without voiding warranty coverage, unless BMW provides such parts of services for free
Rich concludes, “As a result of this order, BMW will change its practices and give MINI owners information about their rights.”
It’s important to note that warranty coverage requirements apply to vehicles of all makes and all models, not just BMWs and MINIs.
Whether it’s American, Japanese or European, you can entrust the maintenance of your car to the caring, ASE-certified staff of Hillside Auto Repair. We treat every customer with honesty, respect and integrity.
At Hillside Auto Repair, we use high-quality Original Equipment parts and materials, and give you all of the information you need to decide which services or repairs are right for your car.
Come join our family of satisfied customers. Call or email us today to schedule an appointment for your car.