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Things that could invalidate your car warranty

photo of a warranty repair

Drivers worldwide look to do everything in their power to save money on all the necessary expenses that come with owning a car. From tax and insurance, to MOT, fuel and general repairs - every piece of financial help you can get matters. That includes ensuring keeping the warranty valid, as any repair that isn’t covered under the manufacturer’s warranty could mean a hefty payout by the owner.

A warranty is essentially a written contract between the makers of the car and the owner, where both parties agree on aspects of car maintenance. The makers promise to take care of any repairs stated in the contract, provided the owner maintains the vehicle in the way specified. So, stick to the contract and you should be fine. It sounds simple, but there are a number of ways in which a warranty can be invalidated from the moment the new car is purchased, that many drivers are unaware of.

Firstly, it’s important that the vehicle is treated and used correctly. Any misuse of your new car will lead to invalidation. This can range from unlawful road racing and excessive off-road use to overloading or using the wrong fuel. For example, towing a trailer without the extensive rear frame area or the essential suspension to handle the additional weight, heavy brakes or increased cooling system is as bad an idea as it sounds. This could lead to overheating and frame damage, which would be easy to spot by a dealer examining your vehicle and will lead to them denying a claim.

Neglecting your vehicle’s servicing needs is another road to warranty invalidation. Infrequent servicing or engine checks and unnecessary tampering of dash board controls will void any claim. Furthermore, if you can’t provide proof of how well you’ve treated your vehicle, such as service receipts, selling it could prove difficult. Ensure they have the odometer reading, date and ID number and model of the vehicle on them and the proof should be there.

Another issue is vehicle modification. If owners decide to add aftermarket products that are different from the car’s original spec and something within the car fails because of this, then this will invalidate the contract. For example, installing non-conventional aftermarket wheels could affect the base vehicle design and will invalidate the warranty and potentially do a lot of damage to the vehicle’s structure at the same time. If you’re keen to modify your car in any way, you should always check with your warranty company directly.

Finally, a car is forever outside, so is undoubtedly going to get battered by the elements every now and then. Get caught up in unusual environmental circumstances such as fire, flood, earthquake or hurricane and your warranty will be at risk. Some elements are difficult to avoid, but knowing where to safely store your vehicle is a start.

The easiest way to avoid invalidation is to read and get to know your car’s warranty policy documents inside out. These can usually be found online if you have misplaced yours. If you know your vehicle and treat it well, keeping a valid warranty should be easy.

published: 27/06/2013 15:16:40

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