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New Car Warranty – Do I have to have my car serviced by a dealership?

We clear up the confusion about whether car owners must have their cars serviced by a franchised dealership to protect their new car warranty.

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“Do you have to have your car serviced by a dealership to keep your new car warranty?”  Asked by reader Dave Thompson.

There is considerable confusion among car owners about their servicing requirements, especially regarding what is required for them to maintain their new car warranty. We get asked this question a lot in our forum and in general conversation.

Dave says:  “I just bought a new BMW and the salesman told me I have to have it serviced by a BMW dealership to maintain the new car warranty. Is this correct? I have seen businesses claiming they can service my car without affecting the warranty.”

The short answer is that, for warranty purposes, you don’t have to have your car serviced by a franchised dealership. However, that may affect your car finance agreement. Let’s explore those two points in more detail.

Servicing and your new car warranty

Assuming the above comment from Dave is an accurate portrayal of what was said, the BMW salesman has been very naughty here.  EU legislation requires all car manufacturers to offer a minimum two-year unlimited mileage new car warranty on all their new cars (from date of registration), regardless of any change of ownership.

Under EU Block Exemption legislation, which has been around for many years now, a manufacturer cannot force a buyer to have their car serviced by their official dealership network, and cannot refuse to honour a new car warranty simply because a car has been serviced elsewhere.  However, a manufacturer does have the right to set a servicing schedule which must be adhered to.

Cars outside their original new car warranty are a different kettle of fish altogether, and not covered here.

Once the UK leaves the EU, there is a remote possibility that a British government could eventually overturn this Block Exemption, but it is unlikely to ever happen. Not only will it not be a priority anytime soon, but local consumer groups would fiercely resist any attempts by manufacturer interests to compel British car owners to go to franchised dealers for servicing.

Many manufacturers offer new car warranty terms that are longer than the minimum two-year period, but you need to check that the warranty provider is the same for the whole warranty period. Some importers offer a longer period, but after two years the warranty is provided by the local importer rather than the vehicle manufacturer, so the terms and conditions may be different.

New car warranty and servicing – your rights and responsibilities

As a car owner, you have the right to take your car to any licenced garage or mechanic for servicing, but you must ensure that the servicing is carried out exactly as per the manufacturer’s servicing schedule.

This means servicing must be undertaken on time and must use any genuine parts or lubricants specified by the manufacturer.

If you choose to have your car serviced by an independent garage or mechanic, make sure they are reputable.  For some suggestions, check out The Good Garage Scheme.  Keep detailed invoices and receipts for all work done so you have proof that the car has been serviced according to schedule.

If your car requires repair work under its new car warranty, the manufacturer has the right to insist that this work is undertaken by its official dealerships.  This is entirely fair, since the manufacturer – rather than you – is paying for this work.

Basically, a good rule to remember is that if you’re paying for the work, you have the right to choose who does the work.

What if it’s not a manufacturer’s new car warranty?

Not all warranties are provided by the vehicle manufacturer, and here you need to be careful.

Many dealers will offer you extended warranties for a new car, or a used car warranty of some description, but these are usually not provided by the manufacturer and are basically aftermarket insurance policies.  As such, the requirements may be different and may tie you to a particular dealer or franchise for servicing.

What about my car finance obligations?

It is important to understand that although your new car warranty will not be affected if you service your car outside the dealer network, it may affect your car finance agreement.

Many PCP agreements will insist that the car has to be serviced by an approved franchised workshop to maintain the guaranteed future value (GFV) if you want to give the car back at the end of the agreement, and if you have a lease then you will also be expected to service the car with a dealership.

This isn’t a warranty issue but rather a question used car value. In theory, a car with a full manufacturer service history will be worth more than a car that’s been serviced at an independent garage, and the GFV is based on a car with a full manufacturer service history.

For more detailed information on this, have a read of our article about how a PCP can affect your servicing requirements.


Although not a legal requirement, it may be advantageous for you to take your car to a franchised dealer for servicing, depending on your car and your circumstances.

For more information on car servicing, read more about the difference between independent garages and franchised dealers.

This article was originally published in September 2012 and most recently updated with additional information in January 2019.

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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  1. I bought a Ford Focus Brand New it has 9,300 miles on the clock and is now 20 months old. Ford recommend 1 year or 12,500 whichever comes first for a service. Due to Covid distractions I didn’t realise until an orange gearbox symbol appeared on my dash last week that I was overdue service. I immediately took it to my nearest local garage who serviced it using genuine Ford Parts and it drives great no problems, They advised me to contact my Ford dealership to get the diagnostic check and get them to reset the light as it needs to be recorded on their database. I then contacted my dealership to inform them what i had done they said i couldn’t get the check done for several weeks and could not advise me whether to drive the car or not until this was done. As I am a key worker I asked if I could have a courtesy car as a long standing customer, they said they had none available. Their customer service insinuated my warranty may be void as in their opinion i may of used a ‘back street’ garage to service the car I assured them it was not. I was advised to have my car recovered to another nearer Ford dealership and get a courtesy car from them. This is the second time I have been fobbed off Q are they obliged to provide me with a courtesy car if advising me not to drive due to a potential fault under warranty? Q because I missed the 12 month deadline although under the recommended annual mileage, will my warranty now be voided? Thanks in advance Richard

  2. Hi Stuart
    I purchased a car and the garage was offering 3 months warranty I said I would pay the full asking price if they upped the warranty to 12 months which they did. I have this on the invoice from them. My gearbox has gone 8 months later and I contacted the warranty company and they said I don’t have a policy with them what are my rights on this

    Cheers Ian

  3. Hi I bought a car from motorpoint in May 2018. I specifically asked about previous ownership and the warranty status and if the service had been carried out in line with Hyundai standards and all queries were answered positively. Upon paying for vehicle as they insisted to pay first and then gain access to documents I eventually discovered that in fact the car was an undisclosed ex rental car and had a very late service carried out by Motorpoint themselves well over the excess mileage buffer provided by Hyundai. HYUNDAI rejected the validity of that service specifically due to the late timing of the service. At this point Motorpoint offered me a refund only to retract it due to the previous Supplier Enterprise providing a dubious document which Hyundai again refuse to accept to validate warranty because it was so vague. Motorpoint deem the issue resolved and after year long discussion we are getting nowhere and in limbo. The stress was too much to cope with and had to sell the car at a loss much earlier than expected and I suppose the only action now is small claims as the Motorpoint company does need seem to be complying.

  4. Hello Stuart,
    Please can you answer my question.
    I purchase a ford fiesta from a ford dealership, it had two years
    manufactures warranty, it has develop two faults that seems related
    the car has been with the dealership for just over a month and the
    last time anyone worked on it was 24th May, am i entitled for a courtesy
    car, also am i entitled to claim for out of pocket expenses, also would i be
    entitled to ask for my money back or another car in exchange.
    please try your best.

  5. Merely wanna comment on few general things, The website style and design is perfect, the subject material is rattling great. “By following the concept of ‘one country, two systems,’ you don’t swallow me up nor I you.” by Deng Xiaoping.

  6. Hi
    My daughters 1 series BMW is 4 weeks out of warranty and the radio head has packed up. BMW have charged her £100 plus VAT to diagnose the problem. They told her what we told them that the radio head was broken.

    They said it would be £1000 plus vat plus labour @£120 per hour to fix. They said they would contact BMW to ask for a contribution however they said they would offer around 10-20% max.

    The car is on a 4 year PCP and has 1 year to run. Surely this is not right and the radio head should not pack up after 3 years so is not fit for purpose.

    Please can you offer any advise. Shall I stop paying the PCP


    • Hi Philip. You are right that three years seems poor for a car stereo, but then again, that’s why cars have three-year warranties rather than ten-year warranties.

      I would imagine that you would struggle to win an argument (or a court action) based on the car not being fit for purpose because the radio isn’t working, but that’s not a legal opinion.

      You definitely should not stop making your PCP payments, as that is only going to lead to a world of trouble.

  7. Stuart
    Could you please assist with a question or direct me to the right person?
    Can a machinery manufacturer insist on specified lubricants (Shell, Mobil etc.) or does the lubricant just need to be at the same standard – In order not to void the warranty?
    Sorry, i know it’s a bit inappropriate for this!!

  8. Stuart….my six month old Golf R has developed a fault with the front screen wash. Can I take my vehicle to any VW dealership for the car to be inspected/repaired under warranty or must it be the dealership where I purchased the vehicle? The car was bought outright by myself, no finance or leasing. Looking at the VW new car warranty T&C it seems to indicate it would be ok but can you confirm. Thanks

  9. My Toyota Aygo is due a three-year service. The Toyota garage initially quoted me £145. On ringing again they are now quoting £175 which they say includes a recommendation of oil filter change and emission check. If I don’t have these two things done does it invalidate the manufacturers warranty please . I thought the emission was checked as part of mot and as I only do 4000 miles a year do I need a oil filter change every year. Is this garage just trying to squeeze more money out of me?
    Your comments would be greatly appreciated.


    • Hi Ann. You will need to check your car’s service manual to see what work is required by Toyota at each service. Some jobs will be required each service, regardless of mileage. If you know what does and doesn’t have to be done at the service, a garage can’t take advantage of you.

  10. Hello, I thought I would ask your advice for the situation I am currently in. I have a Toyota Verso it has the 1.6 Diesel. Last Thursday the timing chain either jumped or broke, I have approached the Toyota garage because it should be covered under warranty as its a 2014, yes it does have 93k but the warranty is 100k.
    I have provided all receipts for the servicing that has been carried out by an independent garage, they have even supplied copies of their suppliers invoices for the parts as proof that they are OEM parts, they have used Quantum III oil, and it has been serviced within the specified times according to Toyotas requirement. They are saying they could give some goodwill, but why should I pay anything, it should be covered, it is the old BMW N47 engine what had exactly the same issue which is discussed all over the internet.

    • Hi Deborah. You haven’t said what reason the Toyota dealer gave for the timing chain failure not being covered under warranty. Usually, it would be because servicing hasn’t been done correctly or on time (regardless of where it was done). Goodwill payments are usually offered for recognised issues but the repair is not eligible for cover under warranty.

  11. Many thanks for the reply Stuart. I managed to speak to a few Suzuki dealers today. One of them said it is possible to use a non-Suzuki-approved body work repairer. However, the repair must use Suzuki paint and follow Suzuki bodywork/paint procedures AND the repairer must also be able to guarantee the work and I think he meant guarantee that it meets Suzuki specifications. In practice therefore I guess most people would choose (perhaps because it is ‘safer’) to use a Suzuki approved repairer for bodywork.

  12. Useful article that confirmed what I thought regarding servicing. However, having read through your replies to questions can I ask, does the same apply to non-warranty body repairs done during the warranty period? Our 6-month old Suzuki has just received a minor dent in one door. The dealer says the bodywork warranty will be void if we don’t get it repaired by a Suzuki-approved body repairer. Is that correct?

    • Hi Trevor. I’m not sure, but I think that the manufacturer can insist that you have any bodywork or paintwork repair undertaken by one of their authorised repairers to maintain warranty on the body and/or paint.

  13. Hello there,I bought brand new Peugeot 3008 in 2015 and I had first service by Peugeot dealership. But now is due to second one. So I called them for booking and they told me it will be cost around 400 pound,which is too much. Can I do that service with any other vat registered garage using original Peugeot parts? But my car still under manufacturing warranty, thanks

  14. Hi Stuart…..I bought an astra in November 2015 with 8500 on clock it now has 43000 on clock August 2016 I have had it serviced (filters changed and twice oil changed) by my mechanic who works for lookers kia and ford but done mine on his driveway to keep costs to minimum what with being self employed…..however extended warranty may now be playing hard ball to pay out for a coil pack (coil correded) despite warranty running till October 2017 and car blatantly being looked after still awaiting decision after 6 days of them having car……can I get my mechanic to confirm by writing he carried out works should they reject warranty due to no offical service stamps etc ?? If not what can I do to get them to pay out as car has been looked after would be alot worse state if it hadn’t of been looked after, after 35000 in 9 months lol.. .if they reject it can I claim a refund on the year or so warranty I have left in place as what’s point if they always gonna reject claim

    • Hi Arran. The warranty company will almost certainly be within their rights to reject your claim if you have not had the vehicle servicing done by an accredited service centre and had the books stamped accordingly. It will be spelled out in your terms and conditions.

      You can cancel your remaining warranty, but whether you get any refund will depend on the warranty contract – again, cancellation details should be noted in your paperwork.

    • Hi Stuart thanks for reply…..would it help if my registered mechanic who works for a major cooperation (lookers which are ford and kia based) writes a letter confirming work was carried out etc or would that be a waste of time… really can’t afford the 100 for new coil pack myself so need to make sure try every avenue first before giving up (providing it’s rejected) any advice on if rejected what’s best thing to do to help an appeal ?? Many thanks for your time

  15. Hi Stuart… I recently purchased 55 plate 320d , 40k on the mileage. What warranty rights do I have based purely on mileage and NOT age

    • Hi Naz.

      None based specifically on mileage. Most used car warranties will be x months or y miles, whichever comes first (along with whatever conditions they also have in place regarding servicing).

  16. Hi, I am close to purchasing a used nissan quashqai, which was made in March 2015, the dealer is Glyn Hopkins (nissan approved used car dealer) I am just wondering if I am covered under the 3 year manufacture warranty? I asked the dealer and they said No. Only if purchased as a new car then I would get the 3 year warranty and I am only entitled to 1 year used car warranty. Can you confirm if this is correct?

    • Hi Adam. The New Car Warranty runs for three years from new, regardless of any change of ownership. So your Qashqai’s New Car Warranty would run until March 2018, and you are covered for the balance of that period. The dealer is incorrect.

  17. I have bought my car from a 2nd hand dealer, it is a 14 plate Corsa. it is coming up to the 2 year mark since it’s manufacturing date and I believe it to have a coil pack issue.

    The dilemma I have is that I am not sure if the car has valid warranty because I have not had it serviced at all. Can anyone confirm if this is the case or not?

    • Hi Jevan. The manufacturer can’t force you to have the car serviced with a Vauxhall dealer, but you do have to have the car serviced on time, every time. If you have not done so, they are likely to decline any warranty claim.

  18. hi

    i have new vauxhall corsa that is now just over a year old, i bought it new, i have it on a finance plan of which i own the car after 5 years, i have my second service coming up where i am reaching 40,000 miles. i don’t particularly want to go through vauxhall as they are so expensive, and i have really good friend who is a mechanic, he has said i can use him and he can give me a certificate/stamp to confirm it should be a validated service that vauxhall will recognize, and it should affect my warranty on the car, i just wanted to double check this is true, hes a great mechanic and good friend so i would rather go through him but i dont want my warranty affect because i cant afford it

    • As long as he’s working for a recognised garage and not out of his own back yard, and as long as the service is completed according to Vauxhall’s requirements, it should be fine.

  19. We have a used car warranty with wms and our car needs repairing. Have tried 6 garages and they will not touch it because of the warranty how do we find a garage that will take on the work

    • Hi Elaine. It does suggest that the warranty company might not be entirely trustworthy to deal with…

      You will probably have to call the warranty company and explain that the six garages you have tried have refused to take on the work because of them, and ask them who they would recommend.

  20. i need to replace the tires on my car (only 1 year old) do i have to replace it with a manufacturer approved one and not void the warranty? or can it be any? there’s only two ‘approved’ ones in the manual and obviously they are by no means cheap!

    • Hi Ashley. Usually the brand of tyre is not mandated, but it has to meet the manufacturer’s requirements (dimensions, performance rating, etc.). In some cases there may be a specific brand and model of tyre that is required, but that is very rare.

      The “approved” bit usually refers to the tyres fitted by the factory when you buy the car, and that is usually a commercial relationship between vehicle manufacturer and tyre manufacturer(s). Most large car companies work with several manufacturers.

      Check with a couple of tyre shops and they should be able to tell you which tyres are suitable for your car.

    • Thanks for the quick response, i wasn’t too sure as there’s that many loopholes they can wriggle out of, or so it seems. it seems to be if you stand and fight your corner, but it shouldn’t be like that surely.

    • That’s sometimes the case, but often there are good reasons for it. In your example of tyre choice, a manufacturer will spend hundreds of millions of pounds developing a new car, and then a customer will go and fit the wrong specification of tyres which can completely alter the handling, steering and braking performance of the car – especially in wet or slippery conditions. A manufacturer can only approve equipment they have tested for confirmation that it will not adversely affect the performance of the car.

  21. My car is 18mrhs old with 3 yr new car warranty. After stopping quite sharply (not emergency) the airbag light stayed on. I rang the dealer who advised a fault & covered under warranty. They ordered a part & now fixed – no charge. They later rang to ask where I had service done & current mileage to complete warranty form. Will they now want to charge me?

    • Hi Jules. As long as the service was done on time and followed the manufacturer requirements, it should not invalidate the warranty. It is likely that the dealer needed to provide the information to the manufacturer (who would be paying for the repair).

  22. Hi a have a 2010 vauxhall astra on finance which icomes with 2 years warranty which i plan to keep once paid,can i use my local garage to service the vehicle instead of main dealership thank you

    • Hi Soz. Yes you can. Have a read of our article about this topic.

      Using your local garage will probably invalidate the GMFV, but if you are planning to pay off the balloon and keep the car then it won’t matter. The only consideration is that if your plans change between now and the end of the agreement, you won’t be able to give the car back and claim the GMFV.

  23. Hi I have an Hyundai i10 i bought it brand new in 2014 and it was due for a service in nov 2015…. I am now having it done next weel butwill this delay void my waranty?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Humza. It will depend on what Hyundai’s requirements are, and whether they have a published standard for any leeway they allow you in servicing dates and mileages.

  24. guys

    i have just had my 3 year old astra j gtc serviced by a well known garage company.
    i paid for a 3 yearly service and by all accounts all they have done is visual look, i checked my air filter which was black not replaced, my oil is black only after one days use, should the air filter and oil filter/ oil be done in a 3 year sevice.

    kind regards

    • Hi Dave. You will need to check the service manual to find out exactly what was due at this particular service, but you should certainly be able to challenge them for work they claimed to have done but have clearly not done.

  25. It won’t not influence your guarantee, but rather unquestionably it is ideal to have a repairman who has really been prepared on your auto taking a shot at your auto? I don’t perceive how a repairman at an autonomous carport can be a specialist on a Ford, a Vauxhall and a Mercedes too. Thanks!

  26. Hi please could you give me some advice. Unfortunately I reversed into a Mazda a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t at great speed but there was a small dint to the drivers car door, approx size of 20p. We agreed that I would pay for the damage to avoid losing my insurance premiums. The driver said it shouldn’t be more than £100-200. He sent me the estimate via email a couple of days ago an shockingly it was £2000 to repair the door. He said it was so much as it needed to be done at an rrg approved garage so he wouldn’t lose the warranty. He said he’d gotten another quote for £300 but the garage was not rrg? Please could you advise as £2000 seems extautionate! Many thanks

    • Hi Nic. Unfortunately, if you are not going through your insurance company then you are largely at the mercy of the other driver. £2,000 is a ridiculous estimate for a door repair and respray, regardless of the repairer. Even if it’s a complicated job for some reason, it shouldn’t be more than a few hundred quid.

  27. Hi, I have a citroen ds5 which I purchased from Motorpoint in January. It was registered on 30/12/13 and so hs some warranty left. The problem I have is that Citroen state that the warranty certificate is required and this forms the front page of the service booklet. Motorpoint did not supply this service booklet until two weeks after purchase and it has not ben stamped by the first retailer to validate the warranty certificate. Where do I stand since the 3rd year is dependant on servicing and I am getting close to the 1500 mile window above the mileage interval. By the way, does 20000 miles mean what it says? The service indicator does not apear to agree. Many thanks.

    • Hi Steve. Yes, the manufacturer is entitled to demand that the car is fully serviced (with proof that this has been done) as part of its warranty terms and conditions. If the selling dealer has advertised the car as having a full service history but it turns out that it hasn’t, you should be entitled to a discount or to return the car for a refund.

      Not sure what you mean about “does 20,000 miles mean what it says?”

    • Hi Daryl. It’s likely that a garage will be VAT registered. If they are not, it means they are either not generating enough income to reach the VAT threshold (which is unlikely if they are a profitable business), or they are not disclosing all of their income to HMRC.

  28. Hello my wife bought a vw 61plate golf just around a year ago with 20kmiles and just under 2 weeks left on warranty and 1year free manufactures all components covered warranty to start at end of manufacturing warranty . I had a look around the car and noticed oil at one of the injectors witch I put down to oil top up spilage but I have checked the car again and found that there is oil at the same injector again so I booked the car in vw to have it checked under the warranty. I then get told that the oil is not from the injector seal but from the oil filler neck and not covered under warranty but issued me with a tpi on the fault oil loss in cylinder head / cylinder head cover and how to repair the fault and at the end of it it has warranty account details so would I be right in the saying it should be covered as this fault was there when I purchased this car but was un aware of it being an issue until now and the service next service is due 27th this month so it's up to date as of just now

  29. When is a fault not a fault !. so the voice command system which operates the phone ,music, climate etc in my car stops working intermittently, fortunately on two occasions i was able to drive in to the Ford dealer where the service manager witnessed the problem, a mechanic suggested it could be the blue-tooth module which need changing, the manager said booking in and we will sort it out , did that and booked it in, after a couple of hours the manager phoned me to say Fords would't authorise the warranty repair because "its working ok at the moment and its not in the fail state" , but YOU witnessed it not working I said, yes but its working now and Ford wont authorise the repair !!!. Think twice about a Ford as their customer service is getting worse ! .

    • This sort of issue would need to be taken up via a complaint to Ford UK's head office. The service manager at the dealership is correct that the manufacturer needs to authorise the work (Ford pays the dealer for warranty work), but it seems odd that the problem has been witnessed on two separate occasions by a service manager and Ford won't accept that the unit is faulty.

      Complaining to the dealership or going to another dealer won't help, as they are simply doing what Ford tells them. You will have to make a complaint to Ford UK and go through a song-and-dance routine to get anywhere, which will probably involve going back to the dealership for them to look at the car again.

  30. If you've moved since you first bought your car, or if the manufacturer simply doesn't have your correct address on file, you may have no clue there's an open recall on your car. Dealers should automatically check for recalls when you come in for service.

  31. I bought a Hyundai i20 diesel which the owner manual told me required a service every 12,500 miles but now Hyundai tell me that they have changed the service interval, so as to standardise across their models, to 10,000 miles. This will cost me a lot of extra servicing….

    Hyundai will not apologise or offer any reduction in servicing costs.

    Any comments?

    • Hi Rob. Not a lot you can do, unfortunately. Manufacturers are not required to guarantee service intervals, and it has happened a few times that service intervals have been reduced as a result of problems discovered with customers' cars.

      In fairness, it's one additional service in 50,000 miles, so you have to be doing a lot of miles for it to be really costing you "a lot of extra servicing".

  32. A well-maintained car is also more efficient, so you’ll save money on fuel as well. If you need to claim on a warranty you’ll normally have to show that you’ve got a complete service record. So I think that car should be serviced by a dealership.

    • You are perfectly entitled to claim on warranty if the service history has been followed correctly, regardless of whether a dealer or another accredited garage serviced the vehicle.

      A manufacturer cannot reject a valid warranty claim simply because the required servicing was carried out elsewhere.

  33. I bought a used c-class c220 cdi at 18 months old. at 21 months and 21,000 miles the car had it’s first “B” service at a Mercedes main dealer. Some minor work was carried out under warranty with no questions asked. I have the “B” service “digital service record” which states my cars is filly compliant with Mobilio, Anti-corrosion, and Daimler servicing requirements.
    At 29000 miles and 30 months old my vehicle has a major engine failure. Mercedes are now questioning the validity of the 3 manufacturers warranty as there is not a record of the first “A” service on their computers. I do not have a paper record of the “A” service and just assumed that the vehicle would have the record on the on-board computer.
    The Mercedes warranty had book says only the most recent “digital service record” is valid for warranty claims (which makes perfect sense) so why are they now going back on that?

    • The on-board systems on your C-Class do not keep a record of what service work is undertaken (since it may not have been done by a garage with access to the car’s electronic systems). If the work is done by a Mercedes-Benz dealership, the records are stored centrally so that any other Mercedes-Benz dealer in the UK can see and print the detailed service record. If you are having the car serviced elsewhere, you need to purchase an old-school service book from their parts department (costs £10) to get stamped by the servicing workshop.

      A manufacturer is well within their rights to insist that a car is fully serviced as per its servicing schedule to benefit from warranty cover, although they can’t force you to have the servicing done by their own workshops (as outlined above). While you were in having your B service done, they obviously decided to do some minor warranty repairs, and the dealership would have probably authorised this using their own discretion, which is allowed to a certain degree by the manufacturer.

      However, when we are talking about a major engine failure and quite probably an all-new engine (worth many thousands of pounds), the dealership has no authority to repair this under warranty and would need approval from Head Office. And the first thing HO will ask is whether or not the warranty records are complete. If not, the warranty is voided and they are not obliged to repair your car. If the first service had been done by a Mercedes-Benz dealership, the record would show on the central system, so it is a reasonable assumption that the first service was not done by a dealer. As you don’t have any service records, there is no evidence that the first service was ever done and therefore you are in breach of your warranty obligations.

  34. I own a C220 CDI SE Exec , registered 26th June 2102, so still in warranty. Current mileage 28k.
    I bought the car at a trade auction from Mercedes retail finance in December 2013 with 18k miles.

    On 23rd March 2015 whilst driving about 40 mph on the A127 flyover the car started to shake violently and send out a lot of exhaust fumes. The car also began accelerating on it’s own and I had to apply brakes to slow it down.

    The car was taken to my local MB main dealer. Mercedes Uk recovered the vehicle and arranged a courtesy car for me which I am still using.

    The main dealer diagnosed a catastrophic engine failure and advised there is a hole in the engine. They said they are awaiting approval from MB Germany to go ahead with the installing a new engine.

    On the 1st April the main dealer advised that they could not find a record of the cars first “A” service and that the warranty on the car may not be intact and that they want £7.5k off me to go ahead with the repair which will cost £14kn in total.
    The faulty engine will be sent to Germany and if MB agree it’s an engine fault I will get my £7.5k back. I find this totally unacceptable.

    I had a “B” service carried out on the car in May 2014 at 21k miles at the main dealer that has my car now. When I asked for a print out of the service history they said they could not find a record of the first “A” but that I should not worry as the car was now fully compliant with warranty requirements as it had just been serviced by them. Well they are now trying to move the goal posts.
    They have also said they want the courtesy car back next week if I do not pay the £7.5k to get the work progressed.

    The car has a OM651 engine and on reading the forums there have been issues but with these engines MB gave not acknowledged it but they have been making ” good will repairs”.

    Any advice on how I can move this forward appreciated.

    • The best advice is to get some professional legal assistance. The car’s warranty requires that the service schedule be adhered to as per the books. Whilst they can’t force you to have the work done by a Mercedes-Benz dealer (so you can take it to any service centre or garage), they have every right to demand that the servicing requirements are met properly and that the workshop complies with the service schedule. If the first service has been done, the car does not meet its warranty requirements. Therefore, their first response will always be to turn down warranty claims – especially when the cost is going to be £14K.

      However, if you can show evidence that there is an acknowledged problem with that model engine, then you can argue that the vehicle was not fit for purpose. This is where your legal assistance comes in.

    • Pleased to say I have got this issue resolved by having the car inspected by an Independent automotive consultant who diagnosed an engine component failure and that this failure was not service related. The engine had Delphi Piezo fuel injectors and one of them remained stuck open and caused over fuelling and this melted a piston. It's been a tough battle but I should get my vehicle back next week with a new engine.

  35. Hi. My 4 year old C MAX suffered from water ingress on the passenger side. I took it to my local garage for investigation. They found a seam weld under the caulk was missing. They refused to release the car to me in safety grounds and the car required a weld to be carried out. Ford now say I will not be recompensed because I didn’t take this to a dealer. According to the warranty (12 year perforation) I thought I didn’t have to take it to a dealer and was covered under an emergency situation? I assume I’m scuppered?

    • Hi Tony. Unless you can show that you were completely unable to get your car to a Ford dealer, they are unlikely to honour warranty claims for work done by an independent garage. And given that there are about 3 million Ford garages around the UK, you’ll be hard-pressed to explain why you couldn’t get to one.

    • Thanks Stuart. Yes I suspected as much. The cost of getting the vehicle to the local Ford guys i.e. tow or back of a hired transported, would have been too much for me to stand. Thanks for the swift reply.

  36. I have bought an 18 mth old Smax from a ford dealership and have since found out that they have stamped my service record without actually completing a service and they are now trying to back track offer me free servicing, breakdown etc and want to swop my service book for a new one. They have told me that my manufacturers and extended warranty’s will not be affected by this, but I believe them to be wrong and also think this is fraud……what should i do and am i correct???

    • Ni Nickie. Call Ford UK’s head office to discuss with them, as they are the provider of the warranty. The dealer is obviously trying to cover themselves, and it’s unlikely to void your warranty as long as they get the car serviced up to Ford standards, but get confirmation directly from the manufacturer rather than taking the dealer’s word for it.

  37. Interesting thread going on, amazing how many new car buyers are unaware or falsely advised as to their rights when making that big, new car purchase.

    As someone who has worked in the independent repair sector for over 20 years, I can tell you that main dealerships will often try to wriggle out of their responsibilities under their new car warranties even when the car has been serviced at the dealership, let alone somewhere else. As with most things nowadays, it depends on the attitude and quality of the customer service at the particular dealership. Often, the customer will be repeatedly fobbed off in the hope that they will relent and not pester the dealership further. Remember that the dealership and manufacturer are distinct entities, the dealership is only authorised by the manufacturer to sell and look after its products when it takes on the franchise. In these cases, it always pays to contact the Customer Services department of the manufacturer when the dealership doesn’t want to play ball. The threat of a bit of negative publicity always seems to lubricate the gears and get the machinery moving, so to speak.

    An example we have heard of through our trade association is one of a 2 year old Audi that had been serviced by an independent in accordance with the manufacturers service schedule but then suffered a premature timing belt failure causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the engine. The independent referred the customer to the Audi dealership under the terms of the warranty as the belt had failed well before its recommended replacement interval. The Audi dealership then refused to honour the warranty as they saw that a Fram oil filter had been used when the car had been serviced, therefore claiming that the warranty had been voided. The disgruntled customer returned to the independent accusing them of not having done the service properly in line with the warranty requirements. The independent then got in touch with the trade association, the RMI, who took up the matter on their behalf and contacted Audi directly. As soon as the RMI pointed out that a Fram oil filter is a genuine equivalent and is often used by manufacturers when building the vehicles anyway, and that also an oil and filter change would not cause premature timing belt failure, surprise, surprise, Audi decided that the dealership had been wrong to turn down the warranty claim and fixed the car at no cost to the customer.

    Lesson to be learned is that you have to be persistent, know your rights and don’t let yourself get fobbed off.

  38. Dear Stuart
    Wish you a happy new year. I have a Toyota 2011 which is covered under Toyota’s 5 years manufacturer warranty. I recently got it serviced at a toyota dealer and they advised me to get the front brake pads and discs replaced, since their price to do this was 150% of the cost quoted on toyota’s ‘fixed price repair’ scheme I decided not to get the repairs done by them. My query is if I were to now get the replacement done by for eg Halfords (who offer life time replacement on pads and discs for the same price as toyota fixed price repair), will it void my Toyota 5 year manufacturers warranty.
    Many Thanks for your time in advance.

    Best Regards

    • Hi Sam. Having the brake work done by Halfords should not void your warranty, as long as they use the correct specification parts and follow Toyota’s processes to do the job.

  39. Hi Stuart. I really need some advice please.
    I leased a new car from mercedes benz finance via contract hire. I got the car serviced by an independent garage. On return MB finance are charging me over 800 pounds for not using an official dealer to have it serviced. They say and refer me to the contract ‘The vehicle must be serviced and maintained in accordance with Mercedes-Benz published service intervals within the Official Workshop network.’

    Can they penalise me or can the block exemption legislation help me?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Dan. Unfortunately the finance company (Mercedes-Benz Finance) can penalise you – the penalty is due to the resale value of the car being less without a full MB service history than if it did have one. They are perfectly entitled to stipulate these conditions if they are going to be taking the car back again for a given value.

      From a new car warranty point of view, the manufacturer (Mercedes-Benz) cannot penalise you or refuse warranty claims if the work has been done outside their network, as long as the correct MB procedures have been followed and approved parts fitted.

  40. How about Repairs to a car not being done at the Main Dealer?. I had parking sensor issues for a while on my 2012 911, It went into Porsche twice to resolve, they failed to fix it. I then had a scuff on my rear quarter ad rear bumper repaired outside the Porsche network at a local decent bodyshop, Now Porsche wish to wash their hands of my issues saying unless I can provide receipts showing works were done at a Porsche approved bodyshop they no longer need to warranty my vehicle at all.
    They saw the vehicle twice with the damage and agree it was minor surface scuffs. However they say I was not allowed to get the car repaired outside the Porsche network. Is this correct?

    • The Porsche dealer is putting you in a difficult position, because they clearly haven’t fixed the problem but are now trying to deny warranty on repairs. If you had first gone to Porsche after having the bumper repaired, they would have a valid point as it could be argued that the body damage may have damaged the sensors, but since you had already spoken to them about this previously it shouldn’t be an issue. I would suggest contacing Porsche GB HQ directly and see if they can help resolve the issue. Unfortunately Porsche dealers do have a reputation for being difficult to work with as soon as a customer has any work done outside the dealer network, even when it does not affect warranty.

  41. Hi Stuart – great to come across this site!. I have a 59 plate Mercedes benz C-Class 180 Kompressor that i bought from Mercedes main dealer just over a year go as an “approved used”, and it came with one year extended warranty. When the latter expired few months ago, I purchased an extended warranty from Mercedes – the provider of the policy is actually called “mondial” and I was told that in order to be eligible for claim under my warranty, i need to ensure my car is serviced at the main dealer. I hope I haven’t stupidly agreed to the policy as i have since serviced my car/do MOT once at the same “independent garage” that deal with Mercedes cars only. Please advise if mondial is right that i have to service the car with them to be eligible for claim under my warranty cover? and indicate if there is any law that contract their stance, if that it the case.

    • Hi OA. In this instance, the warranty provider (Mondial) can insist that the car must be serviced by an official Mercedes-Benz service centre to be eligible for any claim. The EU Block Exemption laws on servicing only apply to the manufacturer of the car (in this case, Daimler AG – owners of Mercedes-Benz). Although the warranty you purchased is an ‘official’ Mercedes-Benz warranty (ie – it is authorised by Mercedes-Benz UK to be sold from its dealerships), it is provided by a third party and does not constitute a manufacturer’s new car warranty, so and is not bound by the laws.

      Basically a used car warranty is an insurance policy. And like any insurance policy, if you want to be able to claim then you have to follow the insurer’s requirements.

  42. Hi I’m looking at purchasing a brand new 64 plate Mercedes B Class via a PCP agreement from a Listers Mercedes dealership and I have been told by the salesperson that part of the PCP agreement (due to the guranteed future value) is that I have to have the car serviced at a Mercedes dealership, is this correct and due to the PCP agreement does this mean it falls outside the EU legislation mentioned in the above article?


    • Hi Rich. The GMFV that Mercedes-Benz Finance offers you as part of the PCP finance agreement is based on the car having a full manufacturer service history. Therefore if you want to hand the car back at the end of the term and claim the GMFV, you have to have the car serviced by a Mercedes-Benz dealer. If you don’t want to claim the GMFV (so you either pay out the balloon and keep the car, or take whatever you get as a part-exchange) then you can get whoever you want to service the car. It has nothing to do with the car’s warranty and therefore is not affected by the EU regulations.

  43. Curtis

    we are thinking of buying a car 1 years old, doe’s it still have 2 years manufacture warranty and can i have it serviced at any garage to keep the warranty going. thanks

    • Hi Gerard. Check the car’s documentation to see how long the factory warranty runs for. The new car warranty is transferable, so you can benefit from it and all of the detail in the above article is valid. Aftermarket or extended warranties may not be transferable, so check the details before buying.

  44. I bought a new car in April and it’s been back to the dealers 3 times with a particular problem with the passenger door. The problem has come back again, do I need to take it back to the same dealer or can I take it elsewhere/to a different dealership to hopefully be sorted?

    • Hi Nikki. You should be able to take your car to any authorised dealership of the brand. If you are not happy with how your dealer has handled your door issue, then you are well within your rights to ask another dealer to investigate the problem. The main negative of doing so is that you are effectively starting again in explaining yourself and your problem, and they will probably start again from Square One, but they may well find the problem and fix it properly and permanently.
      You can also contact the manufacturer directly of you are not happy with how the dealer has addressed your problem, and you should also search on the web to see if anyone else has reported a similar problem, as it may be a wider issue that affects other cars too.

  45. I bought an 11 plate Corsa 1.2 in October last year from Evans Halshaw and took out a 2 year extended warranty which starts in mid August. My water pump has gone and is with Vauxhall now under the original manufacturers warranty for the free repair. My interim service is due in October and they have rang me to say I need some pads replacing over the next few months. With regards to my service will I need to take it to Evans Halshaw to maintain the extended warranty or can I take it to a VAT registered garage for this on the understanding they do any work using original parts??? Help……..

    • There is a difference between a New Car Warranty and a Used Car Warranty. With a new car, the manufacturer cannot force you to use their own workshops. A used car warranty, however, is an aftermarket insurance product and not bound by the same legal requirements. Check your warranty paperwork, as it should state whether or not you have to have servicing done by their dealership.

  46. Brought new kia sportage on feb 1st 2014 noted a crease appear on the drivers seat after a month thought it was the new leather now it looks like it is starting to tear kia areclaiming it is something I have done will not repair it so upset can anybody help me

    • If your dealership is not being helpful, then you can always contact Kia UK directly to explain your position. The dealers are usually franchise operations and the quality of after-sales care will often vary across dealerships. Certainly you would not expect the leather to behave this way under normal use on a car which is only a few months old, so you should have a reasonable case if you have looked after the car to an acceptable standard.

  47. Brilliant post Stuart! A lot more vehicle owners need to read this and big companies need to stop playing their dirty tactics as there are a great number of decent mechanics that can provide the service without the dealer price tag!

  48. I can’t understand why the governments allow this bullying over here with car warranties. All legitimate car parts sold should pass a minimum requirement performance. Therefore, any equivalent part should be allowed on the car. Proof of this is when the dealer uses a ‘genuine’ part, and it happens not to be made specifically for your brand of car. e.g daewoo parts on Kia. Most parts that you can buy on the market, ae made by the same companies tht the maufacturers yuse to supply their branded parts anyway. The USA had this right when they passed ‘Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.’ It states that the car owner doesn’t have any such obligation and that they are free to get their vehicle serviced by their favorite independent and skilled service station, without losing the warranty on their car.

    Furthermore, you can employ quality car parts from any brand name for car service. So, it ‘ isn’t necessary for you to employ only original car equipment by the manufacturer such as brakes, filters oil, spark plugs and others unless they are made available for free’.
    I know the arguement is that their parts are tested on the car. I would agree to a point. However, if I am allowed to put any tyre on my care that is equivalent to what the manufacturer reccomends, then why should any other part be singled out.
    I just had my car in for its 2nd service. I opened up the hood to see what genuine ‘Kia’ parts were used, only to find a ‘FRAM’ filters, parts that are available at Halfords.
    I love living in the UK, but I am surprised at how little is done for consumer protection on large purchases. I will digress and say that normal purchases through stores covered by SOG legislation is better than in the USA, but ‘BIG’ ticket Items are still a worry. Car manufacturers should not have that kind of power.

  49. Hi Stuart

    Can you clarify something for me. I own a Hyundai IX35 under a PCP contract. The car is due it’s first service, am I duty bound to have the work done at the Hyundai Dealership or can I use an independent garage without jeopardising my contract?

    Thanks for listening

    • Hi Kathryn,

      You will need to check your PCP documentation for this. Most manufacturers now insist on you having the car serviced by an authorised dealership if you want to claim the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value at the end of the contract. If you are planning to pay the final settlement figure and keep the car, then it won’t matter. stuart.

  50. Can someone clarify, if I use an independent to service my car, they have to use parts that are authorised by the manufacturerer. Otherwise my warrant would be invalidated if there was a problem!

    • Hi Andy,

      It may depend on the country in which you live, and the individual manufacturer, but generally you would have to use authorised parts. This is fair enough, as if you want the manufacturer to provide a warranty on the vehicle then you should be expected to use the correct (and fully tested) parts for the vehicle. Non-genuine parts may have unintended effects on the vehicle’s operation, so a manufacturer would be within its rights to refuse a warranty claim if a problem was caused (or influenced) by non-genuine parts.


  51. Good Garage Scheme is owned by lubricant company and you have to use and push their products in order to stay part of their “Scheme”. It is not an independent scheme that looks out for good garages. AND you have to pay to be a part of it. Who would really be profiting then: the Customer,? I think NOT!

  52. Is the air conditioning system fall under manufacture waranty?
    I have a two years old BMW bought from new but when i took it in for service, i was asked whether i also wanted the Airconditioning unit servicing which i have to pay for £106 plus VAT. I did egree forit to be serviced but i’m still have some doubt about what part is under this manufature waranty and what is not. to put it simply, i don’t trust the dealer.

    • Hi Lee. From what I understand, you are talking about servicing and not a failure. If the air-conditioning system was not working, you would be entitled to ask for BMW to fix it under warranty, but a service (presumably filter and flushing the coolant) is not a repair. As such, they are entitled to charge you for servicing the system.

      Hope this helps, stuart.

    • Thank you for the prompt reply.
      Yes , the system was working fine but they asked me whether i want it servive if i don’t then i will have to pay for the repair when it fail, knowing that my car is still in the waranty (only 7000 miles on the clock). As you have mentioned that if it fail the dealer have to fix it under the waranty therefore they should never asked me to have it service in the first place, unless it’s outside the waranty and needed servicing. This is a BMW in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK,

    • If the system requires servicing as part of the car’s service schedule, then you are obliged to have it serviced to keep your warranty valid. If the air-conditioning service is not part of the car’s service schedule as set out in the service book, then you are not obliged to do so.

  53. Spot on with this write-up, I am seriously fed up with main dealers trying to scare customers into paying their heinous service rates when any reputable can do the job just as well. Finally the EU did something good for a change.

  54. It might not affect your warranty, but surely it is better to have a mechanic who has actually been trained on your car working on your car? I don’t see how a mechanic at an independent garage can be an expert on a Ford, a Vauxhall and a Mercedes as well.

    • Ah, now that’s a different point, Connor. I deliberately didn’t say that you shouldn’t have your car serviced by an authorised dealership, merely that you are not obliged to. As a car owner, you need to make your own judgment as to who you trust to service your vehicle. As a rule, a franchised service centre will charge more than an independent garage, but the mechanics will have been specifically trained to work on your model of car and you will also have more options for dispute resolution if there are any problems.

    • Er, what do you mean by 'rectified' Pete? Are you asking how mileage can be wound back? Because I'm not going to help you with that, nor publish any comments that may try to…

    • bear in mind that some of the technicians trained at the dealerships sometimes end up working for independent specialists and they CAN therefore be a specialist as advertised

    • The engine blew up in my car and I love 170 miles from my dealer. The car is still under warranty I had a mechanic that I know get a new engine and place it in the car. I am being told that this voided my new car warranty.

    • Hi Jason. Any new car warranty work must be carried out by the manufacturer’s appointed service centre (usually at a franchised dealership). You can’t undertake any of your own work and then expect the manufacturer to pay your bills. Warranty work at a dealership has a very specific process which must be followed before the manufacturer will agree to pay for replacement parts and any labour.

      Your best bet is to speak directly to the manufacturer’s head office and explain that, due to the distance you live from the nearest dealership, it was simply not possible to take the car to the dealer to have the work done. It almost certainly won’t help, but it’s probably your only chance of being even partly reimbursed for your costs.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.