"It's a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the maintenance services on a newer vehicle that is under warranty," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "Clearly, consumers can have maintenance services done by their local independent service shop without affecting your warranty, even though dealers and manufacturers often suggest the opposite."
According to the council, consumers are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the general principles of the Federal Trade Commission, which prohibit a manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was done by a nondealer.
When using a nondealer, independent aftermarket shop to maintain your vehicle, the council strongly recommends keeping records and receipts for all maintenance that is done to the vehicle and adhering to scheduled maintenance requirements.
If a warranty claim arises, these records will provide proof that maintenance has been done in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and requirements.
To locate a nondealer, independent aftermarket facility, vehicle owners should visit the council's Web site, which has a searchable list of about 70,000 independent repair facilities, auto parts retailers, body shops and engine installers and rebuilders. Many independent repair centers also have Web sites that include information about their services and credentials.
Automotive aftermarket trade associations, the Better Business Bureau and AAA are also resources to use to locate a repair facility.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the Be Car Care Aware consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's "Car Care Guide" or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.
The law is very clear. Consumers can have their car serviced at a local repair shop without affecting the warranty.