Pine View Auto Group | For over 40 years

May/13

6

Can I Service My Vehicle at my Own Mechanic

By Mike Romeo

“The dealer is so expensive. Can I service my vehicle at my own mechanic and will this affect my warranty?”

This is a common question customers ask when purchasing a new vehicle and it really is a loaded question. The quick answer is yes, but keep your receipts as a record that your oil, filters, coolant, and other fluids were replaced at the interval required by the manufacturer.

This is a correct answer to the customers question, but you must go into a more detailed answer so the customer understands some of the issues that may arise. Let’s take your basic oil change for example. You go every 3 months or 6,000 kilometres to your mechanic and he performs this service. One day you find the vehicle has an oil leak or is burning oil and you bring the vehicle into a dealer because it’s still covered under warranty. The dealer mechanic lifts up the vehicle and finds the leak or other problem is related to the aftermarket oil filter the mechanic is using on your vehicle. BIG PROBLEM. No automotive manufacturer will cover any issue related to an aftermarket part. Now you’ll have to pay for the inspection of your vehicle and take it back to your mechanic. Sure that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but what if your engine seizes and you bring the vehicle into the dealer and the motor has an aftermarket oil filter. That will cause an issue because the vehicle engineers manufactured that vehicle to operate with its designed oil filter. Now the manufacturer will ask for your oil change records and it’s up to the customer to prove their mechanic has been using manufacturer approved oil filters. If you had the work done at a dealership there would be no questions because the dealership would have all your oil change records and would be using approved parts.

The same issue will apply with coolant, transmissions fluid, and brake fluid. If you have them replaced by your mechanic and there is a failure with the vehicle related to these items it could cause an issue with warranty. There are all kinds of different companies out there selling automotive filters and fluids, but your vehicle was designed and warrantied to operate on original manufacturer parts.

The final issue that will arise is those “just out of warranty” concerns. When a customer has all their maintenance done at a dealership and has a warranty concern once their warranty has expired manufacturers tend to be more lenient. If a customer has had their vehicle maintenance done at their mechanic the manufacturer has no recorded of how the vehicle was maintained and as a result will be less lenient.

Many people take their vehicle to a mechanic because they believe it to be cheaper. Currently most manufacturers send out coupons with discounts on oil changes, tire rotations, brake pad replacement, coolant services, and so on making them competitive with general mechanics.  Also with vehicles becoming more and more technical you need the latest diagnostic tools to program modules and trace trouble codes. These brand specific scanners are only available to original manufacturing dealers.

My final point on this matter is when it comes to your personal health you have an eye doctor, physician, dentist, orthodontist, chiropractor, and so on. When it comes to your vehicles health would you rather see someone who’s a specialist on your specific manufacturer or someone who claims to be a specialist on all manufacturers?

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