Car warranty and dealer services

Submitted: Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:33
ThreadID: 103943 Views:2130 Replies:8 FollowUps:17
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I am a firm believer that if you look after the car it will look after you so I am not looking at saving money, cutting corners or cutting back on servicing the car but I would like to get it done closer to home. The nearest DMax dealer is 80+ kilometres away and I have a perfectly competent mechanic working a few blocks away. So what is the requirements and obligations regarding car warranties? In particular new car warranties?

I am happy with the dealers work, don't want to jeopardize the warranty but would like to avoid making a day and a 160+ k round trip out of getting the car serviced.

I have heard a lot of pub talk about this issue and I know what the dealers tell you but would like to get some advice from someone independent and in the know.
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Reply By: Member - Legendts - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:46

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:46
As I understand it as long as a competent person, and that could be you, does the servicing to the book and uses genuine parts the warranty stands. The fact you indicate you have a competent mechanic he would stamp or sign off your service book so no issue. Agree with your comments totally.
AnswerID: 516728

Follow Up By: John and Regina M - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:52

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:52
Hmmm, here comes the pub talk. 'As I understand it....'

Define 'competent person' or 'competent mechanic'
Has read the manual?

Here comes the can of worms.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:07

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:07
Competent person would mean a licensed and qualified motor mechanic wouldn't it?
I can't imagine it would go well for you in a legal dispute if your "competent person' was just a mate Jimbo from the pub who was a bit handy with a spanner
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 08:58

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 08:58
[QUOTE] "I have a perfectly competent mechanic working a few blocks away"

Good question....... competent at what?

For starter it means very little, everyone is competent until something goes wrong and they can't fix it.

In automotive today a once really good mechanic is worth nothing if they don't have the knowledge, backup or equipment to support a customer and his vehicle.

I know a few really good mechanics in country areas and yes city areas, there only downfall is they don't believe in attending training courses, are not subscribed to any automotive information databases like Boyces, Autodata, TAT or Repco Autotech, and there equipment is outdated.

But they are really good mechanics.

We do a lot of training and are members of the above four databases, we get regular information on recalls, known problems to look for, how to fix and tips and tricks on these vehicles...... and regularly buy updated or new service tools and equipment.

Things have changed and if a really good competent mechanic doesn't keep up to the times they fall behind very fast.

What I am saying is what you might think makes a good mechanic might be different to what I think a good mechanic is.

A service is more than just changing the oil and a quick visual inspection....

Plus your Dmax only has to get serviced every 10,000k or six months, I'm sure you could schedule a service to coincide with a trip to the BIG smoke.
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Follow Up By: Member - Coldee - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:45

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:45
As I said, I am a firm believer in looking after the vehicle. Walking home isn't an option so the person in question is a qualified, registered mechanic. I am not interested in saving money or cutting corners on servicing
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Reply By: John and Regina M - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:47

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:47
'Someone independent and in the know'

There are many experts on forums. Some even know what they are talking about. However you take what is said with a considerable degree of caution. People have cried....

Not sure I'd be asking a forum on manufacturers legally required servicing requirements. I'd talk to the manufacturer, probably not a dealer, or perhaps a reputable motoring organisation.

Big expense is possible if you get it wrong. But at least you will only have yourself to blame if you do stuff up.
AnswerID: 516729

Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:39

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:39
Actually the manufacturers legal requirements are in their handbook
You don't need genuine parts either heck dealers often don't use them
However you hsvr s point on Internet advice
Your local raa or whatever will give you the best info legally
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:06

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:06
It just make life a hell of alot easier for a warranty claim if you use genuine parts as opposed to aftermarket..... and why would you not use genuine parts, $14.00 for a genuine oil filter or $6.00 for a aftermarket one..... if you can't afford $14.00 extra a year for genuine maybe you should not have a new car!

We always use genuine parts on vehicles under manufactures warranty.

To comply with new vehicle warranties all you have to do is use a licensed mechanic, a business doing mechanical repairs and follow the factory service schedule.
FollowupID: 796190

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:13

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:13
Agree with Olcoolone. if you stick with genuine parts at least then if you end up in a dispute you are only arguing incorrect installation rather than trying to prove that the aftermarket product did not cause a problem, very difficult and costly grey area that you enter into.
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Follow Up By: Member - Coldee - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:48

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:48
Saving money was never the question
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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:54

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:54
I have always bought new cars except for one odd occasion & I do ALL my own servicing right after the first free inspection. I have had few minor warranty issues over the years but never had a problem with the dealer trying to blame the fact they have not seen the vehicle for some time.

I always fill out the service record & sign it. I guess they would reject a claim if they could prove some negligence on my part or using non approved replacement parts.
Don't want to start a dealer bashing thread but I never really trust anyone else to work on my cars as many years back I had a couple of negative things happen when I had some work done by a dealer on the company cars I used to drive.

So in answer to your question it should be fine but I guess some dealers could make a big deal about it but never an issue for me.
AnswerID: 516731

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:50

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:50
I'm with you.

I would take the vehicle to the dealer for the first 12 months and after that do all oil and filter changes myself.

The A/ C on my Colorado failed after 2.5 yrs of the 3 year warrenty and as I took it to a non GM workshop for diagnostics the GM dealer wanted me to pay for all work ( at their prices) and to make a claim on GM who would make a determination as to weather or not they would pay up.

My next ute will be a D-Max.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:14

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:14
Jerry; thats a bit silly on your behalf, why didn't you take it further and it would of got fixed under warranty.

If you pay a non authorised repaired to diagnose a problem then yes you have to pay for it and claim it back from the manufacture...... if the dealer sublet the work then it has be authorised and you pay nothing.

We do a lot of work for dealers and if we find a problem on a new vehicle still under warranty we notify the dealer.

A dealer makes more money out of subletting work when under warranty then the do if they did it in house.

The only stuff that may be declined for a warranty claim is if you caused the problem and it's not the manufacturer's fault..
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Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:40

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:40
Ah Olcoolone its all water under the bridge now. I got so pissed off just talking with the dealer etc. etc. I just paid for it to be done by the A/C people. I learned my lesson though.

FollowupID: 796200

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:57

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 19:57
I have seen a sign in a number privateers mechanic shops referring to the law and warranty repairs on new vehicle, I assume your local guy will have that same information available or you.
My own personal experience with a new vehicle that received one dealer service and then was looked after by local mechanic. Towards the end of my three year warranty I took the vehicle back to dealer for a warranty claim on injectors and an air conditioning compressor replacement. They checked my service book to see that I had correctly maintained it with servicing and there was no problem with getting the warranty work done.

Where this can change is if you want to take out an extended warranty often it is done on the proviso that the dealer maintained your car throughout the original warranty period
AnswerID: 516732

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:35

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 at 20:35
Always an interesting question.

The ACCC says that the car companies cannot make servicing in dealerships that they authorize a condition of the warranty they offer.

So no reason why you can’t get a local mechanic, who has appropriate trade qualifications, to do the service. The question is do they have the expensive equipment that authorized dealerships are required to have that provide access to all the ECU codes etc?

Probably not, so what happens if they don’t detect something that may not quite be right in the service that leads to a warranty issue later?

I suspect that is where is gets messy.

You may find yourself arguing with a vehicle manufacturer who says the service wasn’t done completely to its specifications…

If you service via the car manufactuer’s preferred method, via a dealership network it authorizes it gives less opportunity for a car manufacturer to argue against a warranty claim…especially something that might be line ball.

Like many things, whilst it appears black and white, it may not clear cut when it goes wrong...

My two bob's worth anyway...

AnswerID: 516736

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:52

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 09:52
Hi ya The Landy,

Re: The question is do they have the expensive equipment that authorized dealerships are required to have that provide access to all the ECU codes etc?

These codes are really easy to access and modify. The plug carrying the data bus is accessible under the steering column and there are heaps of units available available to read and modify the codes.

There is even a bluetooth dongle made by Garmin that access these codes and displays relevant data on their navigators... See ECO Route.

FollowupID: 796204

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:08

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:08
To be a little bit more helpful here is a reference to Onboard Diagnostics:

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 11:54

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 11:54
Jeremy.... I can honestly tell you you are so far of the money it's not funny.

If it was so easy why do you think we have 4 scan tools in our workshop....each at $7000-$14000 each.

There is stuff we still can't access and it has to go back to the dealer for programming, a lot of dealer programming is now done on-line from the manufacture.

There are so many manufactures of components and parts on one given vehicle it's beyond a joke..... each manufacturer will only provide enough information to a vehicle manufacture and each other thats needed.

It's not uncommon to have a Bosch system talking to a Denso system talking to a Delphi system and each manufacturer is very protective of the proprietary information.

AArrhh the internet makes it seem so simple.

So you have done code modifications on ECU's, what have you done?

We had to get a function modified on a vehicle's ECU for a specific job...... $9000 later and having to get it done in the USA we had to solution, this included purchasing a licence to access the software..... guess what it was on a Commodore.
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Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 12:57

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 12:57
Have I modified the ECU ?

Absolutely none !!

Just pointing out some of the stuff I was interested in. I guess there will be all levels of kit available just like the stuff that I used professionally and the stuff I use at home.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 13:29

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 13:29
Jeremy, reprogramming automotive stuff is very hard and expensive, the only time someone will develop limited access software is if there is a need like Holden, Ford and Subaru power upgrades.... but it is limited in what can be done other than changing fuel mapping, boost, ignition and cam timing.

You read stuff on the net and it seems so simple, but it's not..... people get the impression a scan tool will tell you everything easily, we have customers who come in and we tell them we will have to use a scan tool...... there most common comments are "oh so it's an easy fix" or "as simple as that".

A scan tool will only tell so much and may not even lead you to the problem, we use data logging software and data flows more to diagnose a problem than just looking at fault codes..... I often refer to a scan tool as a street directory, it will tell you roughly where to look but it won't give the house number..... really bad if there is 356 houses on the street.

Then the rest comes down to good old diagnostics..... checking voltage, earths, resistance, loose or corroded pins, wire, plugs and sockets. We also have a big magnifying glass to look closely at boards for signs of damage.

Getting back to this Holden problem we had; in the early development stages we actually crashed 3 Holden ecu's... we corrupted the boot sector and it would not load any software or firmware..... back to Holdens for ecu replacement and reprogramming, it cost us about $500 a pop.

FollowupID: 796226

Follow Up By: Jeremy W - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 16:01

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 16:01
All noted Olcoolone. I'm of the school that preaches " If it's working then don't fix it". Modifications? I try not to ! Understanding ? Yes. So if a scan tool helps in the "understanding department" then that's good for me. Playing around with the control codes takes very specialist knowledge and understanding ... Not my field, but still very interesting stuff.


PS. I have given up using the name Jeremy. For 30 yrs at work they called me Jerry then the yanks called me Jeremiah (was a bull frog)
Then I gave up.

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Reply By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 16:33

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 16:33
I'd rather have a mechanic that I trust than a dealer. I'm a bit like you, it's too far to the dealers anyway so I download the service schedule and leave it at the mechanics for him to follow. I have a Jeep and a Land Rover so you would think I would need warranty or dealer intervention but I haven't had much worry with either and they are getting up near 200k on both. I've used the warranty on the Land Rover for a non critical problem and they didn't blink about the lack of dealer services. I've probably saved half the service costs going by bills I have heard about as normal. Then there is the guy with the Forester who religiously serviced it at his dealer and the gearbox karked it at 90k and the dealer regarded it as normal wear and tear.
AnswerID: 516794

Reply By: Member - Coldee - Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:57

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 at 19:57
Thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate all the feedback. It is a can of worms. I think I will play it safe for the time being. I think I will also contact the NRMA about legal obligations. As I stated earlier I am considering convenience rather than cost cutting so I am in no hurry to make a decision.
AnswerID: 516810

Reply By: Member - The Crow - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 at 21:04

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 at 21:04
I have had my cruiser serviced by dealers around the country and I have to say you cannot trust any of them to service your costly purchase correctly. I have had to return my cruiser a number of times because I have been charged for things that haven't been done as stated. They especially neglected to grease the drivetrain. Even in Alice Springs where you would think they would be on to this because of the dusty conditions. One dealership even put LSD oil in my previous 76 Series that had factory lockers. When I quizzed them they said all landcuisers have LSD's. This was from the dealership that sold the cruiser to me. You really need to check things before you drive away. They certainly wont own up to their mistakes if you come back the next day.
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Thanks for the Rest Flying West and Flying Very Low along the track not coming back. The Crow

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