What is a Manufacturer Warranty?
Under EU legislation all vehicle manufacturers have to offer a two-year warranty period from the date of registration. Many manufacturers offer a three-year warranty period, specific to certain mileage. The warranty will expire after a certain number of miles are reached or after three years, whichever comes first. Some manufacturers offer a longer warranty period, KIA currently have the longest with 7 years. It’s also possible to extend the warranty period in most cases however it’s likely that the terms and conditions will change.
The specifics of manufacturer warranties will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, however the consensus is that problems caused by wear and tear or an individual driving style are not included. This tends to include bulbs, brakes etc. The warranty should cover electrical and mechanical faults.
What is the Block Exemption Regulation?
The Block Exemption Regulation was introduced as a method to create competition within various industries. The regulation prohibits organisations within the industry from certain activities to create a fairer system for all parties involved.
How does this relate to the automotive industry?
The effect of the Block Exemption within the automotive industry means that drivers have more choice with what garage they decide to use when it comes to honouring manufacturer warranty. It doesn’t have to be the main dealer. This offers flexibility with regards to pricing and available time slots.
How do I keep my manufacturer warranty valid?
For your new vehicle manufacturer warranty to be valid you will have to adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines, for example the servicing schedule and using the correct parts and fluid. There may also be other stipulations, it’s important to read the terms and conditions making sure it’s fully understood what’s required from you, the driver. Doing something wrong, improper or late could invalidate the warranty policy.
The main maintenance required by the manufacturer warranty is the full service.
How do I know my full service is required?
When purchasing a new car, you should check what type of servicing schedule it has. There are two main types: fixed-schedule servicing and variable servicing. The manufacturer may stipulate which type of servicing is required or depending on driving style the driver could pick.
Variable servicing depends on sensors fitted around the car and its on-board computer. The sensor will light up on the dashboard when a service is due. Motorway driving puts less stress on vehicle components. This style of driving allows for larger mileage between services. In comparison driving within a town or city with frequent accelerating and braking will require earlier servicing. With this type of servicing it’s important the service light is reset after completion.
Fixed servicing takes place when a certain amount of mileage has been reached, or within a certain time. With this type it’s important that as the driver you keep an eye on the mileage and time as there is significantly less leeway with this type of service.
Does my vehicle need to be serviced by the main dealer?
In short, the answer is no. Due to the Block Exemption Regulation any capable mechanic can do the work. The terms and conditions of what needs to take place within the service will be stipulated by the main dealer and as long as this is adhered to, it does not matter where the work is completed. OE quality parts will need to be used, these are parts with a quality equivalent to those used when your car was built and those that the main dealer use.
In theory many independent garages will be able to do the full service, however not all garages will have the software to update service records online if that’s something the vehicle requires.
It’s also important that if any repairs are needed during the service, OE quality parts are used.
What parts need to be used?
As mentioned above if an independent garage is used, the parts needs to be OE quality. This means parts for the service and any parts needed for repairs.
OE quality means original equipment, the same as genuine. OE quality parts are more expensive than cheaper alternatives but will ensure the warranty is valid.
Pros of using an Independent garage
Using an independent can be a very wise decision. You are often able to save a bit of money due to more favourable labour hour charges and if a garage that is specialised in your model is used there is no reason why they cannot do an excellent service.
Repeat customers are crucial for the livelihood of the business so added perks and great customer service are normally provided.
As a driver you will also have a lot more choice, as a result it should be easier to get booked in at a time that works for you and a price that suits.
Pros of using a main dealer
Firstly, it’s no secret that a main dealer doing the work could possibly be more expensive however there are a few benefits to this.
You will get the service stamp from the main dealer which will be useful when it comes to selling or part exchange as this can help retain the cars value.
Benefits of the Block Exemption Regulation
As you can see the block exemption regulation offers more choice and flexibility to the driver. The final decision lies with the driver and where they feel comfortable. It’s worth considering all options and thinking about the future of the vehicle.
Whichever route is taken make sure all documentation is kept and looked after. It will be necessary if a warranty claim is ever required and when and if it comes to selling.