Does your car need to be serviced by a dealer?

24th May 2012 by Admin

You may have noticed independent servicing companies offering log book servicing that they say won’t affect your new car warranty.

However, carmakers and dealers claim that only authorised dealers can service your new car. So who’s telling the truth?

The facts

The Trade Practices Act stipulates that manufacturers can’t insist you have your car serviced by a particular dealer to satisfy the warranty. They also can’t void your warranty if you choose a non-dealer service.
However, they can knock back your warranty claim if the car hasn’t been properly maintained or if a non-genuine replacement part causes further damage.

That being said, it’s worth bearing in mind the following:

  • While non-dealers can service your car, they can’t do warranty work.
  • Non-dealers probably won’t have access to complete service information, technical support, factory knowledge and fixes for problems specific to your car’s make and model.
  • Every manufacturer uses its own test equipment. The tailored tools are used to access the car’s computer, find intermittent faults and upload computer software upgrades to fix issues. Non-dealers won’t have access to this equipment.

The price is right

Beyond technical issues, most people choose to service their car by non-dealers because it is often cheaper. Dealers tend to have larger overheads, with higher hourly rates reflecting this. However, since it’s the car manufacturer and not the dealer that determines the chargeable time, there should be little price difference between a dealer and a non-dealer tune-up. The labour rate is the only difference, and this should be minimal.

Non-genuine service parts tend to be cheaper than OE (original equipment) parts, though this isn’t always the case. The final cost of common parts is influenced by market pressures, and it’s in the OE manufacturer’s interests to keep prices competitive. So you may find there is little difference between genuine and non-genuine parts.

Bear in mind, however, that if you use non-genuine parts and they cause an issue, you may be left with the parts supplier and the carmaker refusing responsibility. This is less likely to occur if genuine parts are used.

Goodwill

While your warranty is protected in law, many manufacturers operate a system of discretionary goodwill assistance. If your log book shows non-dealer servicing, you may find the carmaker won’t support you beyond their legal requirement. However, as longer warranties become the norm, goodwill assistance will decline and come under greater scrutiny.

The Verdict

Whether you choose a dealer or non-dealer to service your car, always ensure it’s done by a qualified person whose work meets the manufacturer’s instructions and suggested service intervals. It’s also worth considering genuine parts for peace of mind.

Source: edited article from RACQ

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