Can I Service My Own Car Under Warranty?
Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you with the basics of DIY car maintenance without sacrificing your warranty.by Bhavik Sreenath, on LISTEN 10:30
Car maintenance is essential not just for your car but also to keep enjoying the benefits of your extended warranty. While most people prefer taking their cars to the nearest workshop for routine maintenance, some prefer the DIY route. However, does service your own car risk voiding your warranty? In this article, we look at the dos and don’ts of servicing your car. We look at the cost and correct methods of servicing a vehicle that’s under warranty.
Car Servicing Overview
If your car has a warranty of any kind, it will require you to subject your vehicle to regular maintenance. Failure to do so could void your warranty. However regular maintenance does not necessarily mean taking your car to an authorized workshop. Most warranty providers will specify the guidelines that need to be followed for routine maintenance. Here’s a list of things covered under regular maintenance.
Routine maintenance covers several components that need to be replaced at different timelines to ensure optimal functioning of your vehicle which include:
- Oil Change
- Fluid Replacement
- Tire Rotation
- Oil Changes
According to AAA, motor oil should be changed between intervals of 3,000 and 7,500 miles depending on the type of engine you have but even if your car does not cover that mileage, it is still recommended to change your oil every 6-8 months. Oil changes are probably the most important aspect of car servicing as bad oil can lead to engine seizure. Other fluids that need to be checked, flushed, and changed every so often include:
- Coolant (radiator)
- Power steering
- Windshield wiper fluid
According to experts, coolant and brake fluids need to be changed at least every 2 years and transmission fluid should be changed every 50,000 miles.
Tire wear is also subjective. While some tires might last longer than others depending on tire type and use, Edmunds recommends tire change at least every 6 years. U.S. News suggests getting your tires rotated every 7,500 miles or 6 months to even out wear and tear and to make them last much longer which puts them on the same schedule as oil changes.
Other common parts that are subject to wear and tear and need to be replaced at regular intervals include:
- Brake pads
- Windshield wiper blades
- Car light bulbs
Depending on your vehicle and bulb type, your headlight system can last for years at a time. Brake pads and rotors on the other hand should last around 20,000 to 50,000 miles depending on use. Automakers such as Ford and Toyota recommend replacing rotors every 30,000 to 70,000 miles.
Wiper blades often need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months or as soon as you notice any squeaking noises, streaking on the windshield, or cracked and damaged blades, according to AutoZone.
Modern vehicles equipped with LED bulbs last much longer than regular halogens so if you have halogen bulbs, it is recommended to check them at least once a year but in the case of LEDs that interval can be as long as five years. Fuses will last an average of 10 years, according to YourMechanic, and besides aging, will usually only wear out due to electrical problems or component failure.
Can You Service Your Car And Keep The Warranty?
The short answer is yes. Under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, it is against federal law for car dealers and warranty providers to deny a claim or void a warranty if a vehicle has been subjected to proper maintenance by the owner. The only case where a warranty claim can be denied in the case of DIY servicing is if the job was performed incorrectly such that it causes damage or malfunction to the vehicle.
This is why it is always recommended to consult a technician or check the manufacturer’s online guide if you are unsure of what oil, fluids, or lubricants to use. Timely maintenance is also essential to ensure that your vehicle’s warranty isn’t void. If you neglect routine maintenance or fail to perform services such as oil changes or fuse replacement, your warranty claim may be denied and your warranty could be voided for pricier parts such as your car’s powertrain.
How Much Does It Cost To Service Your Car?
Whether you are a DIY enthusiast learning to get your hands greasy under the hood or just want to save some money, you should know a few things about maintenance before you get started. These include:
- Vehicle year, make, and model
- Mileage on your odometer
- Amount of exterior/interior wear and tear
- Type of aftermarket parts
- Whether you own or lease a new car or used car
- Whether there are covered repairs under your warranty
When servicing your car, you might want to know these average car maintenance costs for common vehicle repairs and replacements. Here are some estimates from RepairPal:
|Type of Repair or Replacement||Average Cost|
|Oil change||$87 to $90|
|Transmission fluid change||$92|
|Brake rotor replacement||$168 to $233|
|Windshield wiper blades||$35 to $52|
|Headlight bulb replacement||$69 to $79|
Not sure what’s included in extended warranty coverage and what isn’t? Our detailed guide on warranty coverage will set the record state.
Is It Worth Servicing Your Own Car?
Servicing your own car is a great way to save time and money and in some cases, it can be a greatly gratifying experience as well, but you have to make sure you’re using the right fluids and parts when doing so. If not, you could damage your vehicle and be at fault for mechanical issues or failures in the future. You must use the right tools and diagnose your issue correctly.
We have a guide to help you determine what a car warranty will cost so you can see if it’s cheaper to have a warranty or make repairs yourself!
|Pros of Servicing Your Car||Cons of Servicing Your Car|
|Save money on parts and labor costs||Risk of damaging your car or harming yourself|
|Gain familiarity with your car’s parts||Risk of misdiagnosing mechanical problems|
|Have more flexibility in getting the work done||Could void your warranty|
How Can I Service My Own Car Under Warranty?
Servicing might sound like a complicated endeavor but it isn’t. So here’s a list of instructions to help you get started on servicing your vehicle:
- Follow the car’s maintenance schedule: You can usually find it in the owner’s manual. Always know when tasks such as changing the engine oil, checking fluids and belts, and performing tune-ups need to be done.
- Learn what to check during oil changes: Certain components need to be serviced or inspected between regularly scheduled oil changes, so look at the air filter, exhaust system, brakes, fluids, radiator, and battery.
- Get the right tools and parts: Basic tools and materials include car jacks, oil and air filters, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pressure gauges. Thoroughly do your research to ensure repairs are done with the correct equipment.
- Keep a paper trail: Maintain records for each service as proof to keep the warranty valid for future claims. You’ll need to record the date, mileage at the time of service, type of service performed, and receipts for parts and fluid purchases.
Best Warranty Companies For Car Maintenance
Endurance is our pick of the lot in the extended warranty business and has established itself for its class-leading customer service and coverage options. They offer coverage for cars up to 20 years old and 200,000+ miles which makes it ideal for used car owners. They offer hassle-free inspection after which the claim can be filed, making the entire process foolproof and they aim to ensure that you don’t miss minor details which might cause you trouble in the future.
They also offer membership benefits called Endurance Elite which is bundled in for the first year, free of charge, and offers services like:
- Tire repair or replacement
- Key fob repair or replacement
- Collision discount
- Total loss protection
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Supreme: Bumper-to-bumper exclusionary warranty that covers most components of your car
- Superior: Stated-component coverage for hundreds of parts
- Secure Plus: Enhanced powertrain plan that covers steering, electrical, and braking systems
- Secure: Most affordable plan focused on protecting essential components
- Select Premier: Protection for high-mileage vehicles
- EnduranceAdvantage™: Covers mechanical breakdowns as well as maintenance such as oil changes and engine diagnostics.
Protect My Car is one of the top consumer-rated warranty providers with over sixteen years of experience in the business backed by high BBB. They offer combo plans that include maintenance packages along with the added warranty and even go the extra mile by offering services like Oil changes and tire rotation for added convenience. Coverage for older vehicles and long-term payment options are other highlights that make Protect My Car one of our top picks.
Protect My Car offers three extended warranty options with coverage options for vehicles with up to 125,000 miles on the odometer. Owners of used cars beyond 125,000 miles should look into the company’s Ambassador Maintenance Plans for discounts on routine maintenance and repairs.
- Supreme: Coverage for most vehicle systems
- Select: Coverage for major vehicle systems and a good choice for vehicles with over 50,000 miles
- Driveline: Enhanced powertrain coverage for essential systems
With a 4.1 out of 5 rating on google, CarShield is a highly reputed extended warranty provider, they have built a reputation for having some of the best agents in the business, who ensure hassle-free settlement. These plans are also some of the cheapest in the business. They are also the only warranty provider to offer coverage for motorcycles and ATVs, and even offer a specialized plan specifically for high-tech vehicles.
They cover used vehicles with up to 300,000 miles and offer added benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance, flexible payment options, and the ability to choose a garage of your choice, they have built a reputation for their excellent customer service which makes them one of our top picks.
- Diamond: Bumper-to-bumper warranty offering comprehensive coverage
- Platinum: Stated-component plan that covers the engine, transmission, electrical system, air conditioning, and more
- Gold: Mid-level plan covering a variety of essential systems
- Silver: Basic powertrain coverage for your engine, transmission, and drivetrain
- Aluminum: Coverage for high-tech electronics