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OK this may not help everyone but maybe this Article could help just one of our members here. Thought it was worth the time and space here, and Good Luck!

Handling a Warranty-Related Problem or Dispute
Written by Eric Peters
May 01 2008

The good news is - you're covered.

Those are happy words to hear when something goes wrong with your car. Sometimes, though, it can be a hassle getting the dealer (or the automaker that built your car in the first place) to make it right - without also trying to make you pay for it.

How should you handle a warranty-related repair or problem with your vehicle?

* First, make sure you are, in fact, covered -

Most new cars and trucks come with not one but several warranties. The first - and most comprehensive - is often called the "bumper to bumper" (or "basic") warranty and it covers just about everything except routine maintenance items, such as oil and filter changes, brake pads, etc. Most new cars today come with at least a three year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. After this, and overlapping it, is the so-called "powertrain" warranty. It typically covers the engine, transmission, axles and so on. The powertrain warranty often lasts much longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty; for example, several new cars (Hyundai, Kia) have powertrain warranties that are good for as much as 10 year/100,000 miles - whichever comes first. There are also separate warranties for the emissions control systems, hybrid components (on hybrid gas-electric cars) such as batteries and electric motors, even a warranty for the tires.

Information about your warranty coverages - all of them - should be in your glovebox, with the literature that came with your car when you bought it. It's a good idea to read through this all stuff, ideally before you have a possible warranty-related problem. Know your coverages; then put the paperwork someplace safe. If you do have a problem at some point down the road, dig up the appropriate paperwork and get ready to take the next step.

* Schedule an appointment at an authorized repair facility -

"Authorized" is very important. Excepting emergencies (and sometimes, even then), most warranty work must be performed at a shop specifically authorized by the manufacturer (the people who built your car; GM, Toyota, etc.). That doesn't mean it has to be a dealer; independent shops are sometimes ok. It just means the shop - dealer or independent - must be authorized. (If you do have an emergency, such as a breakdown miles from home that forces you to seek help at the first place you can find - "authorized" or not - warranty coverage will sometimes still be honored. But you must follow the procedure (see your paperwork), which usually involves calling or otherwise notifying the manufacturer (GM, etc.), documenting everything that happens (keep receipts) and so on.

* Discuss the problem/repair with the service advisor -

It's important to be on the same page with them - and them with you - regarding any work that may (or may not) come under the provisions of your warranty. If it's warranty work, be sure the service advisor agrees - and that it is so noted on your invoice. You don't want to argue with the guy after the work has been done.

* Keep records (and documentation) of any and all service work related to a warranty issue -

Sometimes, problems recur - and if that happens, you want to have evidence of an ongoing problem so that the dealer will have a harder time trying to claim later on that "it's just normal wear" should the same part fail once again - after the warranty has expired. (In such cases, you may still be able to get them to fix it again at no cost or partial cost - or pursue recourse under state "lemon laws" - and so forth.)

* In case of dispute -

If you feel the dealer has dealt you dirty - or are unhappy with any aspect of warranty-related service - the first step is to attempt to communicate with the manager (or owner) of the dealership. Try to reason with him; present your paperwork and explain your grievance. Hopefully, the problem can be resolved at this level. If, however, you still feel like you've been shafted, the next step is to call the manufacturer's Customer Assistance Center (this number will be listed either in your new vehicle owner's manual or the warranty paperwork). They will try to mediate between you and the dealer to arrive at some mutually satisfactory agreement. But if that doesn't work for you, the next step is to get in touch with the Better Business Bureau's Auto Line Program; this is a free out of court program run by the Better Business Bureau to settle disputes without lawyers (and the expense of hiring a lawyer). The BBB Auto Line Progrm typically takes 40 days to handle a complaint; the tool-free nationwide number is 1-800-9555-5100; you can also obtain more info at US National Learn More About State Lemon Laws.

The final resort, is of course court. Hopefully, it won't go that far - and you should try mightily to prevent it from getting it that far. The cost to litigate a warranty claim can literally be more than it's worth, though you may get some satisfaction "on principle."

Article Link:Eric Peters :: Automotive :: News, reviews, & articles related to cars, trucks and motorcycles - Handling a Warranty-Related Problem or Dispute
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