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In what situations can your car warranty become void?

Feb. 21, 2023
5 mins
Car warranty

When you purchase a new or certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership, it comes with a warranty. A warranty protects your car from expensive repairs caused by manufacturer errors or faulty components. Depending on the conditions of your warranty, it is usually valid for the first three years of purchasing the vehicle or until you drive it for 60,000 kilometers.

It’s important to note that a warranty covers damages from collisions that are caused by manufacturer defects, like a brake fail. But it does not cover damages from collisions caused by other reasons, like bumping into another car or a tree falling onto the hood of your car.

It’s also important to note that for your car warranty to remain valid, there are certain conditions that the owner must adhere to. Violating these conditions could result in your warranty claim being denied or your entire warranty being deemed void.

Let’s look at some of these situations.

In what situations can your warranty become void?

Aftermarket alterations: Modifying your car or installing aftermarket components won’t necessarily make your car’s warranty void. However, any damage caused to other parts, like the wheels or alloy while upgrading tires, will not be covered. Further, if you are replacing parts of your vehicle, make sure that you’re using Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)-certified parts.

OEM parts are either made or approved by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Altering your car’s record or odometer is also illegal and doing so will make your car’s warranty void.

Improper maintenance: Every car has a recommended maintenance scheduled outlined in the owner’s manual and failing to adhere to these guidelines may void your warranty. It’s also important to ensure that you’re servicing your car with the proper fluids, like oil, coolants, and fuel. Any damage caused to your vehicle by using the wrong fuel won’t be covered by your warranty.

When servicing your vehicle, it’s helpful to keep all service records and receipts to prove that you have followed the maintenance guidelines suggested for your vehicle.

Total loss: After a severe collision, a vehicle is given a salvage title if the cost to fix it exceeds or is equivalent to the vehicle’s market value. Repairs on a car after total loss tend to be around 60 to 90% of the vehicle’s total value, which are not covered under warranty. If a vehicle is given a salvage title, its warranty will be void.

Here’s where auto insurance comes in. Depending on your policy, you will be covered for damage to your vehicle that occurs from collision, natural disaster, fire, or theft. Auto insurance is mandatory, but you can shop around for insurance companies that provide the lowest rate for the coverage that you require.

Misuse of vehicle: Violating regulations on the proper use of your vehicle, for instance, by using it for off-road racing or towing loads that your car isn’t authorized to tow can lead to your car’s warranty being deemed void.

Environmental disaster: While a natural disaster isn’t in your control, any damage caused to your car by a fire, tornado, flood, or earthquake will make your car’s warranty void.

Do you have to get your car serviced at your dealership to keep the warranty?

The short answer? No.

You don’t need to get your car serviced at your dealership to keep the warranty. Canadians are protected by the Consumer Protection Act which allows them to get their vehicle serviced at any certified repair shop of their choice.

“Preserving the warranty means ensuring those components are repaired and maintained the way a dealership would,” explains Stefan Tirschler, product and underwriting manager at SquareOne Insurance.

“Within Canada, as long as you adhere to the required service under the terms of your warranty or as outlined by the car manufacturer, using a different provider does not make the warranty void,” he says.

While you are not obliged to get your car repaired at the dealership, make sure that your third-party provider meets the requirements of skill and reliability. As long as the third-party provider is certified, you don’t need to service your car at a dealership to keep your car’s warranty for its specified duration.

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Julia Stratton

Julia Stratton is a freelance writer living in Ottawa. When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a book, running, or cooking up adventurous new recipes in the kitchen.

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