London News & Search
It’s a great and secure feeling driving your new set of wheels home from the dealership. You don’t have to worry about breakdowns or exorbitant repair bills, or just about anything else associated with owning a vehicle – at least, for a while. You can just drive and enjoy the ride, or can you? What few drivers ever think of, or even know about, is how vehicle warranties are a lot like liability insurance policies when it comes to the responsibilities placed on the customer.
Almost every car owner with any time behind the wheel knows that you have to maintain your ride. There are oil changes and tire rotations to be done, and most of us know we can’t take our wheels to a racetrack for some hot laps and then expect the car manufacturer to foot the bill when we blow an axle. But automakers, like insurance companies, expect us to take reasonable action and steps to mitigate any damage when something goes wrong.
Here’s a real-life example: Joe is driving his three-year-old sedan along on a warm summer day and a warning light or two appears on the dash, but everything seems normal. Within a few kilometers the engine starts to stumble and then suddenly stalls. He rolls it to the side of the road and tries to restart it but his turn of the ignition key is met with silence. After a few minutes of flipping through the owner’s manual and using his cellphone to call road-side assistance, he tries the key again and the engine sputters to life but only long enough to let him move the vehicle to a safer location a few metres away.
The vehicle is towed to an independent repair shop where mechanics soon discover the engine has been badly overheated, and since the car is still under the terms of its powertrain warranty, it’s towed to the nearest authorized dealership. There, the dealer’s tech finds the engine is damaged beyond repair from overheating, but also discovers that the cooling system warning system is fully functional. They report this to the vehicle manufacturer, who then denies any coverage and leaves the car owner to foot a very hefty bill. The reason given was that the driver should have taken steps to shut the engine down when the first warning light came on, and that the damage was a direct result of negligence.
When it’s something minor, like needing a new brake caliper because someone drove around with a failed brake pad too long, many service departments will overlook a customer’s responsibility and simply claim it under warranty. And some damage is impossible to avoid or hard to detect, such as when a charging system goes wonky and overcharges the battery. But let an oil or coolant leak go, for example, without treatment long enough to cause internal engine damage, and you can be walking on a tight-rope without a safety net.
To protect your investment and your wallet, when something seems wrong, call your service provider to ask for advice. They might not be able to diagnose your problem over the phone, but at least they can arm you with enough knowledge to take steps to avoid further damage. And they’ll know you’ve done the right thing.
London News & Search