Do I have to service my car at the dealer to keep my warranty?

You finally found the car that you love and worked out a great deal. Now they send you over to the finance & insurance (F&I) manager’s office to sign some paperwork. It’s the F&I manager’s job at a car dealership to finalize the transaction, and in doing so, upsell you on extras like an extended warranty. The manager will no doubt espouse the virtues of the dealership, thanking you for your business, while trying to maximize their profit. Somewhere in this discussion the manager, in an effort to shore up future business, says that you have to have the car serviced at the dealership if you don’t want to void the factory warranty.

So, do you need to have regular maintenance performed at the dealership to keep your warranty valid?


By law, automakers and dealerships cannot make you perform regular maintenance at a dealership for a new car warranty to remain valid. In other words, you’re free by law to get oil changes, tire rotations, and other regular maintenance performed by just about any mechanic, and the automaker and dealership will still have to honor the new car warranty when you are using only genuine OE parts.

How to Keep Your Warranty Valid

Of course, it would be easy if things were exactly that simple, but they’re not. Even though a dealership or automaker should honor a warranty regardless of who performed the maintenance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

This is especially because a dealership or automaker can easily claim you did not perform maintenance if they have no record of it. As a result, we suggest you document everything.

For example, if you get an oil change performed at an independent shop while your car is still under warranty, be sure to save the receipts. The same goes for a tire rotation, a fluid flush, or any other regular maintenance you have done outside the dealer. Keep in mind that depending on the type of service/repair that you need, you should choose your auto repair shop wisely, so you don’t have problems after that. Find out why you should choose Bestiale over the dealerships and other shops.

That way, if there’s ever a question or a problem, no dealership or automaker can ever assert that you didn’t perform the maintenance required to keep your warranty valid.

How Your Car Warranty Could Get Voided

There’s still one situation where an automaker could legally void a warranty. If you have regular maintenance performed at an independent shop and an error made by that shop causes damage to a component.

Say, for example, you get an oil change at an independent shop, and the shop forgets to replace the oil, which destroys the engine. In this case, the automaker warranty will probably not cover any replacement parts, and your claim would be with the shop that performed the work. But if you keep your receipts and keep a record of the services done. That way, the manufacturer, or the dealer will know that you have been keeping up with the car’s maintenance per the warranty’s stipulations.

Tips to keep your warranty valid

If you want to ensure that you get the most out of your warranty – and not get it voided – then check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Read your warranty: The car that you bought should come with a warranty guide that’s separate from the owner’s manual. This booklet will have the details and guidelines that you can follow.
  • Know your warranty period: Many drivers forget how long their warranty period is, so it’s a good idea to know when it expires. If you don’t know, then you can always call a dealer and have them look it up for you.
  • Service your car regularly: If you want to make sure that your car’s warranty stays intact, then it’s a good idea to keep your car maintained according to the schedule outlined in the owner’s manual.
  • Keep a record of all of your services and receipts: Just as we said before, keeping a record of the maintenance done and receipts for the parts can save you a hassle down the road in the event your warranty does get voided.

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