March 26, 2019Does Getting Your Car Serviced by an Independent Void Your Warranty?
Following a recent survey carried out by Halfords Autocentres across the UK, nearly half of the drivers questioned believe that having their car serviced by an independent garage, mechanic or service station will void their manufacturer warranty.
Not only is this belief not true, it is also making life more difficult for the huge number of independently run service centres across the UK — it’s also detrimental to drivers themselves.
A frustrating misconception
With this misconception, many drivers think that they must take their car to a franchised dealership when in need of a service. This is false. In fact, there has been EU legislation in place since 2003 which specifically protects your manufacturer warranty when servicing your car at an independent service centre. This is known as the Block Exemption Regulation. Let’s take a look at this regulation in more depth.
What is the Block Exemption Regulation?
Introduced in October, 2003, the Block Exemption Regulation means that a manufacturer of a vehicle cannot force a driver to have their car serviced at a franchise dealership. It’s a legislation designed to ensure freedom of choice and parity for drivers — and to prevent monopolisation of the market itself.
Taking your car to be serviced by a non-licensed, independent mechanic doesn’t sacrifice your rights with regards to the manufacturer — they cannot refuse to honor your manufacturer warranty simply because you’ve had your car serviced by a third party. However, your manufacturer can set a servicing schedule (Treadfirst can follow the schedules and have access to what is recommended for each vehicle), and this must be followed in order to protect the warranty. This also means you must retain all servicing records, regardless of where you have had your car serviced.
Why is the Block Exemption Regulation important?
For drivers, having this freedom of choice can only be a benefit. This legislation — which, we should reiterate, has been in place for years — has allowed drivers to enjoy a high level of personable service from licensed mechanics of their own choosing, without having to break the bank — and without voiding their manufacturer warranty!
The regulation is important because it’s a fair arrangement, both for drivers and independent mechanics and service centres. It also helps drivers who have a local garage nearby, rather than having to travel further distances to franchised dealerships. It simply makes more sense.
Having manufacturer servicing schedules in place — and by choosing quality-assured service centres — helps to maintain the highest possible standards for servicing across the country. This protects both manufacturers and drivers alike, and is a balance beneficial to everyone.
Why go independent?
Often, it’s much more convenient for a driver to visit a local or independent service centre than driving to a franchised dealership. The level of service is also different, with independent centres more likely to see repeat custom, being able to deliver a more personalised service. This is also brought about by the nature of an independent centre; smaller premises and a sense of community from the staff often leads to a more considered level of service to customers.
Of course, it’s essential that you choose a service centre that you trust and one that is experienced in the industry — and can demonstrate this through reviews, testimonials or qualifications. At Treadfirst, we’re proud to have a wealth of fantastic reviews from previous customers, and our highly experienced mechanics deliver a meticulous service every single time.
Unfortunately, despite the Block Exemption Regulation being in place for over a decade, it seems drivers remain unaware of their rights with regards to their manufacturer warranty. Numerous campaigns — including ‘Right to Choose’, ‘Right to Repair’, and ‘Your Car Your Choice’ — have been run in the past, pushing awareness of this legislation, but evidence suggests more still needs to be done.
However, we hope that by reading this article you’re more clear on this issue. If you’d like to learn more about Treadfirst and our range of maintenance works for cars of all makes and models, contact us today. Our team will also be happy to arrange a service for your vehicle at a time convenient to you.