Torrance Auto Repair

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Don't Let a Dealer "Mini"-mize Your Warranty Coverage


BMW Mini-CooperAs 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.


The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips for getting the most out of your vehicle's warranty:

  • Read your warranty. Often bundled with the owner's manual, the warranty describes your coverage. If you’ve misplaced your owner's manual, look for it online. Check the "Owners" section of the manufacturer's website.
  • Be aware of your warranty period. If you have a problem that’s covered under the warranty, get it checked out before the warranty expires.
  • Service your car regularly. Preventive maintenance is always a good idea. But to keep your warranty intact, it’s critically important that you follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. Details are in the owner's manual.
  • Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who does the work. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads and inspections. Create a file to keep track of repairs. It’ll come in handy if you ever have a warranty claim. Your claim could be denied if it appears that you didn’t maintain your vehicle.
  • Complain. If you think a dealer's service advisor unfairly denied your warranty claim, ask to speak with a manager. If you still aren't satisfied, contact the manufacturer or go to another dealer. You might also wish to file a complaint with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection office or the FTC.


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