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Will my warranty be invalid if I miss a car service during coronavirus crisis?

Time 6:27 pm, March 27, 2020

Warranties are great at providing peace of mind for motorists – and dealers are very good at selling them.

They vary in quality, but a reasonable monthly fee may allow you to get your vehicle serviced, protect against unexpected repair bills and perhaps provide breakdown cover, too. In exchange, manufacturers and warranty companies will want you to keep your side of the deal, not surprisingly.

Miss a service or fail to get that accident damage repaired and you could find your cover invalidated.

Of course, during the coronavirus crisis, getting cars attended to could prove to be a bit of a challenge, especially with dealers closed, so we’ll try to answer a few questions for you.

As in any situation of this nature, if you’re encountering warranty-related problems of any kind, or even if you have concerns about being able to make your regular payments, talk to your manufacturer or provider. And it won’t do any harm to keep your dealer in the loop too.

I can’t get my car serviced because dealers are shut during coronavirus – will it affect my warranty?

We can’t say for certain but we’d be very surprised given the current circumstances. The mood music during this awful Covid-19 scare is all about making allowances.

Tenants are being let off rent; businesses are being given breathing room with their business rates; even the banks are waiving overdraft fees – unheard of! It would be a harsh warranty provider who would invalidate your cover if (a) your regular garage or workshop was closed and (b) you were doing the right thing by staying at home self-isolating.

Are car manufacturers allowing people to miss a service because of coronavirus crisis?

One carmaker that has decided to announce some pretty significant concessions is Kia. Its dealerships have closed as far as new car sales are concerned but approximately 40 per cent of its workshops will continue to run an essential-only service for key workers.

For customers who have a Kia Care service plan, this will remain valid and cover the cost of services regardless of when they are undertaken.

And regarding Kia’s seven-year warranty, if a customer’s latest scheduled service has been delayed during the period where the UK is under government measures, Kia says it will honour valid warranty claims.

Additionally, if there is a valid warranty claim on a customer’s car but the repair could not be completed before the warranty expired because of the lockdown, Kia will be flexible and honour those claims. All other warranty terms and exclusions apply, the manufacturer points out.

Car dealerships are closed and I can’t get my car serviced – is there an alternative?

There might be independent workshops in your local area that are still operating and able to give you that all-important stamp in your service book but a word of caution – more to do with manufacturer warranties than the type of product provided by third-party suppliers. But this is not essential and will not be classed as essential travel so our advice is don’t bother for now, stay at home, save lives and protect the NHS.

Manufacturer warranties which come with new cars often stipulate that to remain valid, you must take your pride and joy to a franchised dealer workshop to be serviced.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact dealer you bought it from – you might move house in your first few years of ownership or sell the car to someone who lives hundreds of miles away.

Bear in mind too, you may well already be paying for a certain number of services to be carried out as part of a finance package – if you opted for an independent outlet, you could find yourself paying twice for the same thing.

MORE: What to do if your PCP is coming to an end during the coronavirus crisis

MORE: Can I cancel my car finance or insurance during the coronavirus crisis?

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Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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