A car warranty can play an important role in protecting your finances, but to make sure your cover stays in place, there are certain things you must avoid doing. If you’re wondering what voids a car warranty, keep reading. Here we look at some of the things that can jeopardise your protection.
Misuse of the vehicle
Driving your car outside of normal use will void your warranty. This includes competitive racing or off-roading of any kind. In fact, manufacturers are able to cross check unexpected damage with licence plates recorded as having participated in racing events. Misuse such as hitting curbs can also lead to the voiding of your warranty. Although a single accidental instance may not be a problem, deliberate or repeated instances would be. Make sure you review your warranty details for the definition of misuse.
Altering your odometer
Any disconnection, alteration or replacement of your car's odometer is fraudulent and will void your warranty. Mileage is a really important factor in the valuation of a vehicle and so it cannot be tampered with. Any accidental damage to your odometer should be reported immediately and repaired by an approved specialist, but this is an unlikely event as odometers are deliberately made to be very robust.
This one is a little more open to interpretation, but obvious examples of neglect might include failure to undertake oil changes, filter changes and alignments. While missing the odd service may be okay, extended failure to maintain your car could void your warranty. It's important to keep service and maintenance records for your car so you can prove that you have followed the manufacturer's advised maintenance schedule.
Use of improper or unapproved fluids
This covers putting the wrong fuel into your car. Putting diesel into a petrol engine can cause significant damage and void your warranty (hence all the warnings at petrol pumps). Using other unapproved fluids in the oil tank can be problematic too, so do be wary of using poor quality substitutes when it comes to the likes of oil and brake fluids.
Check your owner's manual carefully as this is one area where there are real differences between manufacturers’ restrictions. As a basic rule, any permitted modification carried out by an approved expert is fine, but anything not on that approved list, or carried out by an unapproved person or garage, is likely to void your warranty.
If you plan to head on holiday with your caravan or you need to transport a trailer, make sure that what you intend to tow doesn’t exceed the maximum towing capacity of your car. Bear in mind that the total weight also includes other items, such as luggage, that you plan to transport. Overloading can make driving your car unsafe, and it will void your warranty if it causes a fault.
If your car has been in a serious accident and has been written off or totalled, it will have been given what's called a salvage title, and any manufacturer's warranty is rendered void if it’s discovered that your vehicle has been through this process. Dealers conduct a title search on preowned vehicles to check this. If you're buying privately, we strongly recommend that you undertake a title check yourself.
To keep your warranty intact, follow these simple steps:
- Read the terms and conditions of your warranty carefully to make sure you are familiar with what is and is not covered.
- Have your car serviced at regular intervals by an approved garage, following your manufacturer's recommended service schedule.
- Keep service records up to date and keep receipts for any work done on your car.
- If in doubt, call your warranty provider for advice.