What Should I Do Before My Car Warranty Expires
If your car warranty is coming to an end, there are some things you need to do and we will cover them in this article. I've compiled a list of 3 tips that will help you prevent costly repairs from happening after your warranty has expired. These tips will save you thousands of dollars over the course of your car's lifespan.
Most car owners don't realize how important it is to get their cars serviced before their warranties expire. In fact, most car owners never even consider going to the dealership until their car breaks down.
This will save you hundreds of dollars over the period of time and the vehicle's lifetime.
The average American spends over $2,000 per vehicle on repairs over the course of five years, according to data collected in 2019, right before the pandemic. And while most Americans are aware of the importance of getting auto insurance, many don't know about the end of their vehicle warranties.
TIP # 1: Don't assume that your warranties lasts forever, you will need to check the terms and plan ahead. Some dealership nights turn you away from the repair if the warranty has expired.
If you have a check engine light or any engine lights on the dash, you definitely should have it checked before your warranty expires. or
Know Which Warranty Is Expiring
Comprehensive warranties typically last for less than three years, while powertrain warranties can go for five years or 60,000 miles. But what does it mean for you? We break down the differences between the two types of warranty and how they affect you.
- Powertrain Warranties cover anything that propels the vehicle forward or backwards. This includes the following: Powertrain covers things like engines, transmissions and differentials.
- Comprehensive Warranties cover other items like electrical, climate control like the AC and sometimes suspension components. This is only about 3 years or 36,000 miles. For example, if you have ANY issues with the car like power windows, door locks etc, you should be covered during this warranty period.
- Roadside Assistance coverage might be ending soon as well. I typically use my own insurance coverage for towing and flatbeds but it's good to know you have protection for a limited time.
Get Your Documentation in Order
A quick check of your paperwork can save you money and headaches down the road. Here are some tips to keep your documentation current.
1. Review your contracts regularly. Make sure that you are aware of what is covered under your contract. If there is anything missing, make note of it now. You don't want to find out later that you're paying extra fees because you didn't know about something.
2. Keep track of your maintenance history. Don't forget to record everything from your last oil change to your last tuneup. This way, you'll always know how long a particular part of your vehicle has been working properly.
Things You Should Do:
Multipoint Inspection (3 months until expired)
At least 3 months before your car's warranty expires, you will want to schedule a multipoint inspection.
Sometimes you might receive a mailer for a free multipoint inspection coupon. If none is available, here is a little known trick to get one.
Check Online Forums (45 days - 60 days until expired)
Check online owner forums or owner forum discussions on common issues that should be addressed before your warranty is up. There will be a percent of owners that share their experience to help you address yours.
There will be a thread of issues they encounter. You will want to search for "warranty" in the tread so you can quickly filter the discussions.
Another option is to ask friends and family members for recommendations. They'll likely have experience with local mechanics and dealerships to help you or to find common issues with the car.
Schedule an Oil Change (30 days until expired)
Sometimes a multipoint is included with an oil change so it might be a good time to look for any coupons for any oil changes.
TIP: If you own a BMW, BMW has a service section called BMW VALUE SERVICE. This typically includes discounted oil changes and brake jobs.
If your oil was just changed, it still would be prudent to schedule an oil change if you have at least 2,000 - 3,000 miles since the last oil change.
Before the warranty expires, it is important to have a professional check out your vehicle. This way, if something does go wrong with your car, they will be able to fix it before the warranty runs out. If you don’t do anything about it, then when the time comes for your warranty to expire, you may not be able claim on warranty repairs.
Once your warranty expires, you'll likely face higher prices for repairs. This is because the cost of repairing a damaged part increases dramatically after the manufacturer's warranty expires. In addition, mechanics often charge more for older vehicles.
Goodwill Repair (Within 30 days of Expiration)
If your warranty JUST expired within the past 30 days, you might have some recourse to ask if they can cover the warranty repair as a GOODWILL repair. Depending on the dealership, they might be able to honor it. Their service department would rather get paid from the manufacturer versus losing out on the revenue from the repair.
Your mileage may vary but I did have success at my local BMW dealership to get the ignition coils replaced as a goodwill repair. It was 1.5 weeks after expiration of my CPO extended warranty.
It doesn't hurt to ask your service advisor regarding any potential items to look at before your warranty is up. They might be able to handle a few repairs cost-free since it helps with their monthly numbers.
Things that Can Void Your Car Warranty
If you were involved in a collision and you are still under warranty, I suggest you take your car to the dealership for repairs. They typically have a reputable repair shop that works with them directly or they have the facilities to do the work in-house.
When we had an accident, I insisted on having it repaired through the dealership. This will ensure all parts and labor are up to factory standard. Secondly, any warranty claims in the future will be easier to process since all the work was done under the supervision of the dealership.
If you get the repairs done at an independent shop and you are not 100% certain on the quality of the parts or repairs, you might be inadvertently voiding your warranty.
Damage from accidents can potentially void your warranty if repairs are not done correctly.
I had the unfortunate incident of the wiring harness being chewed through in the engine. While animal damage was not covered by the standard warranty, we did have it fixed as a Goodwill repair. If your service department is not able to repair under warranty, you can file a claim against your comprehensive insurance, which should cover it.
Insurance companies are more familiar with this problem since environmentally safer plastics are being used on new cars today.
If you don't have comprehensive knowledge, then you might be out of luck. The next step is to look for an indie shop that is able to repair wiring harnesses. A good, qualified repair shop should be able to complete the work.
Be Careful With Modifications
The most common way to extend a car's life is to modify it. But there are many things you must consider when modifying your vehicle. Here are some tips to help make sure you don't void your factory warranty.
TIP: If you are going in for warranty repairs. I suggest that you remove your modifications if possible and bring in your vehicle as stock and OEM as possible. There have been stories that dealerships will refuse to continue work due aftermarket modifications that have changed the integrity of the car.
Electronics are commonly included with car warranties. However, if you change the electrical system with an aftermarket part, you might be voiding your electronics warranty.
This includes LEDs, aftermarket head units, lighting accessories and electronic air suspensions.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels and tires can drastically change the appearance of your vehicle but if your sizing and offset are out of OEM spec, you might be voiding your warranty on steering and suspension. Wearable items like tires and shocks are not included under warranties but items like tie-rods, bushings etc are.
If kept within stock configurations, you should be ok. But ask your service advisor on their policies.
Suspension like Lowering Springs
I mentioned earlier about electronic air suspensions. Any suspension work that impacts the geometry of the vehicle can void your warranty. By changing the angle and strut travel, it will add more stress on components like wheel bearings and axles.
You might be voiding your warranty and tire warranty if you alter your suspension height. Be aware.
A warranty company or service department might deny your warranty claim on your powertrain or engine if there are any engine modifications. Running hotter performance spark plugs or a cold air intake might void your warranty if it is deemed the root cause of your engine issue or check engine light.
TIP: From my personal experiences, I would avoid ANY engine modifications during the coverage of your warranty. You don't want to risk losing out on the warranty coverage and have it end up out of pocket repairs.
Cosmetics modifications like front lips and side skirts won't typically void your warranty. Since these do not greatly affect the performance of the vehicle and can be removed easily, most service departments won't care if you have it.
However, if you do have a corrosion warranty and it was determined that improper installation of the accessories contributed to the acceleration of rust or corrosion, you might have voided your warranty.
Be sure to have a professional shop install and mount any aerodynamic accessories.
On the other hand, you might mistakenly void your warranty if you are found to neglect the car or there is exterior damage from an accident.
For example, if you spill a case of water on the floor and it short circuits the amp and engine computer, your warranty claim might be denied. Be sure to properly maintain your vehicle just in case there is a required warranty inspection.
You will also want to have good service records that you have your car routinely serviced like regular oil service and brakes.
If you review the things listed above, then you can greatly reduce the chances of issues under warranty.
Speak with your service advisor regarding discussions on warranty related items and upcoming services. They WANT to work on your car but you need to report any issues so their technician can investigate further.
Final Thoughts on Warranties
Did you know that Service departments at dealerships make up about 50% of the revenue earned? It's a money maker and having repairs done helps increase their monthly revenue numbers.
TIP: Before your basic warranty or extended warranties expire, aim to get your car inspected months before. Do not attempt to get work covered if it's 1-2 before it ends. It's a mutual respect with your dealership in order to assist in getting the work covered.
I hope this in-depth article helps guide you and should apply to your original warranty, warranty extension and aftermarket warranties. Good luck!