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. Keep detailed invoices and receipts for all work done so you have proof that the car has been serviced according to schedule.
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.