The more expensive the item, the more important its warranty will be. This basic rule is true for all products. Thus, a vehicle warranty becomes the most important warranty that most people will ever have.
Unfortunately, warranties are sometimes full of boobytraps. When we say that, we mean that there are a variety of conditions under which a manufacturer can void your warranty. How can they do this? Well, it’very simple. A warranty isn’t just a pledge from a company. It’s an agreement, and you have to keep your end of the bargain. If you don’t keep your end of the deal, they are not required to keep theirs.
You Don’t Have To Get Repairs From A Dealership
The good news is that companies cannot force you to use their repair service. In most states, it is illegal for a company to deny a warranty claim merely because someone else worked on the vehicle. As long as the work is correct, the claim should be approved in the end.
That being said, there is an easy way that you can avoid problems in this department. It is best to choose a body shop that is certified to work on your particular brand of vehicle. For instance, if you have a Ford, make sure Ford, rather than a third-party organization certifies your body shop. By doing this, you will help to ensure that the company approves your claim. It will be difficult for them to justify voiding your warranty when you chose a body shop that they certified and approved.
Sometimes, unscrupulous car salespeople will attempt to convince you that you should get all your repair and maintenance work done at the dealership. Of course, they are just trying to make more money for their employer, and they probably hope to gain a bonus by doing so. The problem for you is that dealership repairs are always more expensive, even though they usually employ very skilled mechanics.
What Kind Of Damage Is Covered?
Most warranties will only cover damage that is the fault of the manufacturer. If the damage comes from your mistake, they will not pay. If you take your car to a substandard body shop and they cause damage, the company also will not pay. If you put aftermarket parts on the vehicle, or if you buy used parts from a junkyard, those parts will not be covered by the warranty. In some cases, using aftermarket or secondhand parts could void your warranty altogether.
Other Things That Might be Covered
We should note that some warranties are much more generous than others. While some will only cover manufacturer defects, others will cover the costs of maintenance and repair as long as certain criteria are met. Make sure you read the entire warranty before you buy a vehicle, and make sure you don’t neglect the fine print. You can get different kinds of warranties that will cover different parts, or you can get what is called a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty. This kind of warranty covers all parts and is usually much more forgiving. Some will even cover the effects of rust damage, vandalism, or damage from natural disasters.
Keep Good Records
Every car will occasionally need maintenance and repair. When your vehicle requires these things, you should make sure to keep a record of the job. This record could be a receipt from your body shop, a written statement from your mechanic, or a witness statement from someone present during the process. Whichever way you choose, make sure that you can show records of all repairs and maintenance.
This information can help you if the manufacturer decides to dispute your claim. You can take those documents into court and prove that your car was properly maintained and that qualified professionals repaired it. Without that, they will simply have to take your word for the matter, and they probably aren’t going to do that!
Remember: They Don’t Want To Pay!
It is essential to realize that most companies do not want to pay out any money whatsoever on your warranty if they can avoid doing so. That’s why warranties will often contain all sorts of limitations and conditions. You should think of these conditions as traps that you must avoid.
Thus, you can almost certainly expect your claim could be denied at first. You may need to appeal that decision, and you may need to get a lawyer. In some cases, the threat of legal action alone will be enough to make them sing a different tune, but only if you are legally in the right. If that doesn’t work, you might try calling the Federal Trade Commission, the government body tasked with regulating this kind of problem. You might also lodge a complaint with the better business bureau, but all they can do is publish a report. It might damage the company’s reputation, but the BBB cannot force the manufacturer to honor a warranty.
It would be nice if we could give you a simple answer to the question posed in the title of this article. However, there is no simple answer to the question. The truth is that body shop work can void your warranty, but it should not do so under most circumstances. As long as the work was done correctly, you should have no problems.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it is this principle: Always make sure that you choose a body shop carefully. We recommend that you start by looking at all the reviews that you can find for that particular shop. A place that leaves a lot of unsatisfied customers is far less likely to give you the results that you want. If this article has helped you to understand this issue a little better, we hope that you will fill out the contact form below.