THIS WEEK:Warranty problems after missing a service

From TS: I think your readers should be aware of the necessity to read the fine print in warranty contracts very carefully, particularly about servicing their car. I happened to get my car serviced at 60,000kms by a highly reputable local garage that was not part of the manufacturer’s network for economic reasons. I also missed a service interval due to the same economic issues.

Now I’m paying the price as the requirements were for all services to be carried out. As it approached 75,000kms the engine started giving problems.

It’s now back with the official dealer and Im told that the work will not be covered by warranty. It’s not that the mechanic in the other place didn’t do a good job, it just seems that he was not up to speed with all the requirements and “manufacturer recommendations”. It’s a costly lesson for any motorist: you are at the mercy of the car firms if you want to keep your warranty.

We have dealt with several similar stories in recent years, particularly from people who find their household budgets under pressure and simply can’t meet the servicing demands of their cars.

We contacted the manufacturer on your behalf but as you say, they were adamant that the criteria for warranty cover needs to be met by the customer and that means the car needs to be serviced at the required intervals and that the proper criteria be met at each service.

When buying your new car, people need to think about more than the colour, the selling price and the motor tax. You need to work out the average costs of running the car over the years and that’s not just about the fuel.

Always ask about the cost of servicing and how often this needs to happen. Warranties are becoming major selling points for new cars, particularly on the back of the deals being offered by the Korean brands.

Other firms are following suit, but just as the deals are getting better, so you need to consider the fact that over that time of ownership you need to be sure to meet their requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson about these costs. Longer warranties serve to reassure customers but there is little or no leeway if you don’t meet the criteria or skip a service. Some car firms are now offering a service package with a discounted rate for all the service costs during the first few years of ownership. These are worth considering. Saving on a service can cost you dearly in the long run.

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