How to Avoid Voiding Your Vehicle's Warranty

What Are Car Warranties?

Generally speaking, when you purchase a new vehicle from a dealer, the car will come with a warranty from the manufacturer. These warranties last for a set number of years and/or miles. A common base for new car warranties is three years and 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some dealerships also offer extended warranties or insurance that can be purchased to extend the basic coverage. You may also be able to buy an extended warranty for a used car.

Warranties act like insurance, and if a problem is covered, the manufacturer will often cover the cost of the repairs. In some cases, you may have to pay a deductible before the repairs are covered. It is important to review your warranty so that you know what is covered.

What Do Car Warranties Cover?

Car warranties typically cover the internal or mechanical parts of the car and the tires. You may have heard a dealer advertise "bumper to bumper" warranties. This typically means that everything from the vehicle's engine to the air conditioning system will be covered. Bumper-to-bumper warranties tend to be the most comprehensive. Another common car warranty is a "power train" warranty. Power train warranties tend to be more limited and often only cover engine and transmission issues.

While some warranties cover a wide range of issues and parts, others are more limited. For example, many warranties do not cover brakes or other components that tend to wear out. It is also uncommon for warranties to cover routine maintenance like oil changes.

Why Does It Matter If My Warranty Is Void?

Perhaps most immediately, if your car warranty is void, you won't be able to take advantage of the protections it offers. However, car warranties also play an important role in Lemon Law cases. If your car warranty is voided, you may not be eligible to file a lemon law claim, even if you otherwise would have qualified. Similarly, if your warranty is void, you may also be disqualified from filing a breach of warranty claim.

Things that may invalidate or void a manufacturer warranty include:

  • Misuse of the vehicle
  • Modifications were made to the vehicle, including aftermarket modifications
  • If the vehicle has a salvage title
  • If the vehicle's odometer was altered
  • If the car was not properly maintained or serviced
  • If the wrong fluids were put in the car
  • If the car was intentionally damaged in some way

How to Protect Your Vehicle's Warranty

In general, the best way to protect your vehicle's warranty is to keep the car properly maintained and take it to the dealership for its scheduled service. Relatedly, document all work done to your vehicle, including small maintenance work, like oil changes. Receipts and invoices detailing the work that was done can be crucial when dealing with Lemon Law cases.

You should also take the time to review your vehicle's warranty before doing any work to ensure that you understand what is covered, what is not, and how any work you plan to do on the vehicle will impact it.

If you believe you have a lemon, reach out to Norman Taylor & Associates for help. We have handled countless Lemon Law cases in California, and we are prepared to help you, too.

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