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

Bradley Jando | Thursday 2nd April 2020 9:07am

female technician servicing a car at a repair centre

We’ve heard numerous examples of vehicle owners being told their warranty has been voided because they took their car to be serviced at a local repair centre instead of to their dealership or car manufacturer.

Find out more in this post about what the guidelines and regulations are and what you can do should you be challenged by a dealership.

Where can I service my car?

If it’s time to have your car serviced, you may have lots of questions, including what the service includes as well as how much it could cost. But before you consider the answers to these, you need to figure out where you can take your car to be serviced.

Can I service my car at any garage or repair centre?

Many people worry that if they don’t take their vehicle to the manufacturer to be serviced, the warranty on the car will become void. This is more likely to be a concern for those that have a personal contract purchase (PCP) deal as they are required to give the car back at the end of the term.

No matter whether you own your car or have it on loan through PCP, you can service your car at any repair centre and not just with the manufacturer. But there are still some other things that you should know.

If you have a PCP vehicle, you may have heard of something called the Guaranteed Future Value (GFV). The guarantee means that you won’t have anything to pay when you return your vehicle after its term is up. You simply return the vehicle back to the dealer with no unexpected payments. However, a GFV is only valid if:

  • you haven’t exceeded the previously agreed mileage
  • the car doesn’t have large scratches, dent or scuffs
  • you’ve had the car serviced in line with your PCP contract.

Many people believe that this final point means that you cannot take your car to a repair centre of your choice for its service, however this isn’t necessarily the case. Your contract will likely state that the vehicle must be serviced every 12,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. It may also say that the vehicle can only be serviced using genuine car parts that match the brand of your vehicle. So, as long as the repair centre you take it to uses genuine parts, you won’t be breaching the terms of your PCP contract.

If you own the vehicle and are out of warranty, you are able to take it to be serviced at any repair centre under EU legislation. But it is still important that you take your car to a reputable centre that will complete a good job, so do your research before you go. You could look at reviews that have been left by other customers or see if your family and friends have used them before.

Can I get my car serviced anywhere under warranty?

Under the European Block Exemption legislation, car manufacturers cannot invalidate your warranty if you take it to a non-franchised dealership. However, you must ensure that the repair centre uses genuine parts and that they make a note of the work they’ve done, the changes they’ve made and even the type and grade of oil they’ve put in the car. This will protect you in case the vehicle manufacturer says that the service was not up to standard or the incorrect parts and substances were used.

Should further work be required on your vehicle, the manufacturer can insist that this is done at their repair centre if they are covering the cost of the work. If your vehicle is out of warranty, you can choose where these repairs are made as you’re paying for them.

It’s worth noting that the warranty offered by the manufacturer and an extended warranty that is offered by the dealer are different, so do check the conditions to double check that you can take your vehicle to a repair centre of your choice.


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