Reader Question: My car is still under warranty, do I have to take it back to the dealer for repairs?
Dear concerned car owner,
I get this question all the time. Granted if the dealer is willing to repair your vehicle for free please take advantage of it. You do not have to take you car back to the dealer for anything if you don't want to. Oil changes and other minor maintenance items can be performed by anyone, and your warranty will not be jeopardized in any way.
If you have a legitimate and possibly costly complaint, you should take the vehicle back to the dealership for repair. You do not have to return to the dealership where you originally purchased the vehicle. A Honda is a Honda regardless of where you buy it. Honda Motor Corporation is the manufacturer, and they will honor the warranty at any dealer. In my hometown there are many dealerships representing the same manufacturer, and some are better than others in quality and speed of their service. I have customers who will not take their cars back to the dealers for warranty work--they prefer to pay me to fix their problems rather than putting up with the runaround at the dealership, which often results in a minor repair taking two days to fix.
I recently took my new car back to the dealer for a recall notice that I had received in the mail. I have to say that some of the recalls are just plain stupid, and I have opted not to respond to the recalls. I got one recall for the cigarette lighter element jiggling its way out of the socket and possibly starting a fire while I am waiting for it to get hot enough to light my cigarette. Now what on Earth are these people thinking? For one, I don't smoke, and two would I really waste my time to correct the one-in-a-million chance that this would happen to me? I took my car in for a more serious recall, and the dealership took it upon itself to repair some other work they felt was also needed while my car was there.
I did not tell them anything else besides the fact that I was bringing my car in for the recall about the wheels coming off while on the freeway. I did feel that this was important, and I wanted to take advantage of this recall. A great source for recall information is Alldata.com When I picked up my vehicle (two days later, mind you), I saw on the invoice that they had also replaced all of the window moldings because "they have noticed a problem in a few other cars like mine with their window moldings." At first I was happy. These guys are looking out for me, and it did not cost me anything. What was I supposed to be mad about? Well, they accidentally left one of the rear doors open all night long and ran the battery down with the dome light staying on.
I had to wait (and so did my ride from work) in the parking lot for a mechanic to charge my battery. The dealership had not cleaned up their mess off the floorboards, and the windows all had handprints on them now. I still got something for free so I should be happy right? On my way home I kept hearing a hissing noise coming from the back seat area. The new moldings that they had so joyfully replaced did not fit the rear door properly and were causing an annoying air leak!
Man was I upset. All I wanted was some silly wheel lock thing and I got way more than that. I am still not real sure they even put on the recalled part in the first place. If you have a dealership that you are happy with and they do quality work please bring them some donuts because you found a gold mine. The service advisor is usually the one who is doing the good job for you at the dealership and just like at an independent shop. When you find a good one let them know you will be a loyal customer as long as you are treated fairly and with respect. Speaking with the general manager will usually not solve the problem and could actually infuriate you more. Service advisors are usually commission people and love to see you ask for them by name when you drive up to the service counter.
Austin C Davis
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