Q. Is it true a car warranty becomes invalid if repairs and maintenance are not done at the dealership?
A. No. “Consumers can have maintenance services done by their local independent service shop without affecting your warranty—even though dealers and manufacturers often suggest the opposite,” says Rich White of the Car Care Council, an association that promotes auto maintenance. The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits manufacturers from voiding a vehicle warranty if service is done by a nondealer.
But to avoid any potential hassles, if using an “indie,” keep service records and receipts, and adhere to the recommended maintenance requirements. If you receive a manufacturer’s recall notice, you can have an authorized dealership make that particular repair, usually at no charge.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.