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Should you follow your car’s service schedule to keep the car warranty valid?

mechanic checking tires of car

Most new vehicles include a car factory warranty that lasts for three years or 36,000 miles. 

After that, you can extend comprehensive coverage through vehicle service contracts (also known as an extended car warranty) to remain covered.

Manufacturer warranties have specific rules you’re asked to follow for the warranty to remain valid, among them is keeping up with the service schedule.

What is the car service schedule?

The car service schedule is also called the car maintenance schedule. This is the recommended schedule you should follow to inspect, change and replace certain things in your car.

Not following the car’s service schedule may void the car warranty

Most carmakers will insist that you keep up with the service schedule to ensure that repairs aren’t caused by lack of maintenance. They will ask that you keep receipts of your maintenance services, but they can’t deny you coverage if you don’t have the receipts. However, a mechanic will be able to see if a repair is due to lack of maintenance and the carmaker can then deny you coverage.

In the owners manual, they usually ask you to take your car to the dealership as soon as a problem comes up. If you get services elsewhere, like through an independent repair shop, as long as the repair hasn’t caused other problems, you shouldn’t be denied coverage.

How can you know your car service schedule?

You should always turn to your owners manual to see the recommended service schedule. It’s an essential section of the manual.

Most carmakers will display the maintenance schedule in some sort of chart. The chart will show information like:

  • How often to rotate the tires
  • When to inspect engine drive belts
  • When to change the air filters
  • When to change various fluids

How often certain services are needed usually depends on your mileage. For example, some services are needed before you reach 30,000, like changing your air and fuel filters. Some are needed before you reach 60,000 miles, like inspecting your brake pads and rotors. And some are needed before you reach 90,000, like inspecting and changing your timing belt.

Note: If you’ve lost your owners manual, just visit your carmaker’s website. Most will provide an online version for your model.

Should you trust recommended services from the repair shop?

Be sure to take a look at the service schedule in the owners manual before you go to the mechanic. You should compare your maintenance schedule with any service recommended by the dealership or repair shop. 

Dishonest mechanics recommend services you don’t need all the time. Be careful when agreeing to extra services at the repair shop.

Read our blog: How to find a trustworthy mechanic.

What to do after your car manufacturer’s warranty runs out?

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