Do I have to have all services performed at the dealer to keep my warranty valid?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

I don't have a problem with my new Buick, but I need some information. To have the warranty honored, is it necessary to go to the GM dealer for maintenance and regular oil changes? I'm not completely satisfied with my dealer, and would like to go elsewhere. Would my warranty still be good if I choose an independent mechanic that services all makes?

TOM: Of course it would. You can go anywhere you want, Elizabeth. Some unscrupulous dealers will tell you that you have to come to them for service and maintenance, or the manufacturers warranty will be voided. But that is, as we say in the business, complete bullfeathers.

RAY: They may also tell you that you need to use, for example, "genuine GM oil filters" to keep the warranty in force. That's also a bunch of baloney. There are many, many filters (made by companies like Fram, Purolator, and others) that meet all of the manufacturers specifications, and are perfectly acceptable for regular maintenance. The same is true for most fluids, filters, and lots of other things.

TOM: But it's not true for most mechanical parts. So if you need a new water pump, or alternator, for example, then you SHOULD go to the dealer. Not only will you be sure you're not voiding the warranty, but those parts are probably COVERED by the warranty, so you'll get them replaced for free.

RAY: So you can go anywhere you want for regular maintenance. Just keep copies of your receipts in case you need to make a warranty claim later on. It won't matter if those receipts are from your GM dealer or from Fred's Auto Repair and Dancing School. You'll still be covered.

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