Monday, February 07, 2022

The Dealer Won’t Repair Your Car Under Warranty

What Action Should You Take with the Dealer or Manufacturer?

Most manufacturers give you a 3-year 36,000 mile “bumper to bumper” warranty on your new car. A few makes like Hyundai and Kia have a 5-year or 60,000 miles. There are more new car warranties for longer times on certain components of the vehicle like the powertrains and emission related devices. 

Most people think that “bumper to bumper” means the warranty includes EVERYTHING. This isn’t true. For example, your tires are not covered by your new car warranty; they’re covered by the tire manufacturer’s warranty. If you have a problem with your tires, you’ll have to deal directly with the tire manufacturer, unless you dealer does you the “favor” of handling this for you.

Another common problem with new car warranties is the opinion by the manufacturer and dealer of why the failure occurred? For example, if your paint fades, the manufacturer may deny the warranty repair because you didn’t wax your car more frequently or didn’t keep it garaged or shaded from the sun. These differences of opinions on warranty eligibility of paint issues can include “love bugs” not being washed of quickly or “environmental fall out”.

If you do have a problem with your warranty not being honored, these are my suggestions:

(1) Choose a dealer for the make of your car that you feel will “go to bat” for you on your warranty issue. Hopefully, this is the same dealer you bought your car from. Try to find a dealer that has good Google reviews and is well respected in the community.

(2) Speak directly to the service manager, or the general manager or owner if that’s possible. Be sure you are speaking to, at least, the service manager. Oftentimes service personnel infer that they manage the service department but are just service salesmen aka ASM or “assistant service managers”.

(3) Make your request in a low-key, friendly manner, short and sweet. Be as brief as you can and still include all the pertinent details.

(4) The manufacturers/dealers can agree to make the repair at no cost or a reduced cost even if the manufacturer “sticks to his guns” about the fix not qualifying for warranty. This comes under the category of “Goodwill” which means you don’t have to pay, or pay much less than you normally would have.

(5) Goodwill is granted to keep you happy as a customer, keeping you coming back to buy more cars and service, and tell all your friends how “nice” your car dealer and manufacturer are. The biggest factor in winning both goodwill on a “dubious” warranty repair is customer loyalty. The more cars you’ve bought from this manufacturer and dealer, the stronger your loyalty and goodwill credentials.

(6) A “dirty little secret” of why some dealers can get things covered under warranty and some can’t is that manufacturers don’t trust some of their dealers. This is because some dealers take advantage of their manufacturers by lying or being careless about submitting claims for reimbursement for warranty that aren’t legitimate. Car dealers make a lot of money when they perform a warranty repair on your car…about the same as they make when you pay them for a repair not covered by warranty. Also, remember that virtually everybody in the dealer’s service department is paid on commission. The mechanic that fixes your car, the service advisor that writes up the warranty application, and the service manager all get a “piece of the pie” …in this case the money paid to the dealer for your warranty or goodwill repair. By choosing a dealer that is on very good terms with his manufacturer and is trusted, you greatly enhance your chances of getting your warranty or goodwill repair paid for by the manufacturer.

(7) Now, here’s your “ace in the hole” play when all else fails. If you can persuade your dealer to reduce the cost of the parts and labor that he charges the manufacturer for your warranty or goodwill repair, it greatly enhances your chances of getting your repair 100% paid for by the manufacturer or, at least, a significant reduction in cost to you. Why? Firstly, it proves to the manufacturer that the dealer isn’t “BS’ing” him about believing that you’re a good customer entitled to assistance. Secondly, it significantly reduces the cost of the repair to the manufacturer. I hate to brag, but I invented this ploy and I’m “batting almost 1000 on winning” approval. I offer to sell my parts at my cost to the manufacturer and do the labor at what I pay my mechanic. I make ZERO PROFIT on the repair; only my mechanic makes money. If this is the only way you can have your warranty/goodwill taken care of, why wouldn’t your dealer agree?

Good luck with your next warranty or goodwill repair.

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