The Factory Warranty Repair Process At Car Dealerships

What You Need To Know About Factory Repairs


The Factory Warranty Repair Process At Car Dealerships
Credit: Photo Copyright: MaxxiGo/Shutterstock
A CarProUSA Show listener from New Jersey called in recently, perplexed over the fact that his truck had been in a dealership service department for eight weeks with no end in sight. I see this with every brand vehicle made. I suggested he contact the manufacturer directly and if not resolved, to try to invoke the Lemon Law, which every state has. I get a lot of questions from listeners and website visitors about their vehicle warranty. Not just the initial warranty, but the powertrain coverage and extended warranties. I get enough that it is pretty clear that the majority of people do not really understand how the process works from the dealership side. So here's a look at how the factory warranty process works.

Factory Vehicle Warranties


It is your dealer with whom you interact when your vehicle needs a repair that is covered by any manufacturer’s warranty. Not all automakers handle warranty repairs exactly the same, but generally here is the way things work.

Although it is a complicated process, I will do my best to make it simple.

Let’s call the car manufacturer Acme Automaker just for simplicity sake. Acme Automaker builds a vehicle and sells it to Roadrunner Auto Sales (your dealer). Roadrunner Auto Sales then sells the vehicle to a consumer. At the time of purchase, it is explained what your warranty coverage is for the vehicle you purchased. One of the main things you need to understand is that it is Acme Automaker, the manufacturer of your vehicle, that is responsible for, administers your warranty coverage, and pays for your repairs, not the dealership.

Given that, what is the responsibility of the dealer, Roadrunner Auto Sales? It is simply to make the repairs as prescribed by the manufacturer of the vehicle. This is one of the biggest challenges dealers face today…how do they make you (their customer) happy, while at the same time get the manufacturer (Acme Automaker) to pay the bill? You can see the problem here for the dealers.

So, you have a problem pop up with your car, either major or minor and you return to the service department of a dealership. You just want your car fixed, but the dealer also wants to be reimbursed by the factory for making the repairs, so there are complex procedures that have to be followed with every repair order that is written on your car. If the dealer does not do everything exactly right, it doesn’t get paid for performing the repair.

Most people think it is the dealership that decides what is a covered repair and what is not, but that is not true. It is all laid out by the manufacturer. On the other side of the coin, the manufacturer opens itself up to abuse by some dealers who would cheat the system if not for the rules set forth by the warranty policy manual.

The dealers are always stuck in the middle on warranty repairs, they have to please you so you will come back and continue to do business with them AND they have to satisfy the entity paying the bill, which is the manufacturer that built the car.

Luckily, for most dealership customers, the process of getting your vehicle fixed and all the “behind the scenes” paperwork and computer entries are transparent, but sometimes the dealership has to call the factory for approval before the work can be done, especially with extended warranties. If the factory declines, the customer will generally get mad at the dealership.

It is also noteworthy to mention that the factory pays the dealership very well for work performed, but only once. If you take your car back for the same problem, the dealer generally eats the second and subsequent repair costs. This can be why cars sometimes have to be taken back multiple times for the same repair. If the technician is not very good, or inexperienced, it can be a real issue for the customer.

Since dealers are paid well to perform warranty work, the dealers welcome you with open arms no matter where you bought your vehicle. That is a little different than it was some years ago.

I hope this gives you a little insight into what dealers go through to repair your car under the factory warranty. It is not easy, but the goal is to keep both the consumer and the factory happy.
Robj
HELP!! My 2015 Camaro has been at the dealer for 80 days now waiting for a bell housing and there is NO relief in sight.... what can I do?!?!?! All they keep saying is that the Pontiac, Michigan plant is "retooling" and they dont know.. this is warranty work and I feel if they cant repair my car, they should buy it back..... help!!!
The Car P.
These things happen and your dealership cannot control it. If they have you in a loaner, there is not much you can do. I know it is frustrating, and equally so for your dealer, they want you to get your car back so they can get paid. You can call Chevrolet (the factory) and make a complaint to see if they can expedite the needed parts.

Jerry Reynolds,
Donna H
I took my 2016 charger into the dealership with a check engine light. It is still within the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Less that 3 Years Old and Less that 36,000 miles. They verified the Check engine light was on and scanned for code P0302. They swapped the coil to cylinder# 4 and performed compression test and leak down test. The light was cleared and concern did not return. (light stayed off). They charged me 2 hours labor stating that because they are not replacing a hard part and didnt find anything really wrong, they could not submit a warranty claim. I am confused. I came in with a check engine light, the car is still under bumper to bumper, how can they charge me? Any Ideas
The Car P.
I would check with the Service Manager, I would think this would fall under the bumper-to-bumper warranty. I am sure he or she can explain this and if you were improperly charged, they should give you a refund.

Jerry Reynolds
Dennis
On the 1st warranty Service write up - the dealership verified clunk noise in driveline, re-flashed software, dealership said noise gone, Truck down 13 days (July 03, 2019-July 16, 2019) mileage 2252. I took the truck back to the dealership a 2nd time on July 29, 2019. The service writer accepted the truck and handed me the 2nd write-up and I signed it. After I got home I discovered that he handed me the original service write-up dated ( July 03, 2019-July 16, 2019) with mileage 2252. This was inaccurate and misleading as the service write-up did not show the correct date of July 29, 2019 and the current mileage of 2563. In fact there is no evidence that my truck is now at the dealership. Is this legal what the dealership did? Should I contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair to file a complaint?
The Car P.
Dennis, there is nothing illegal or immoral, sounds like just an honest mistake. He or she probably added the second visit to the first one. It has no affect on your warranty, but I would ask for an updated repair order when you pick the vehicle up.

Jerry Reynolds
Tania
Ok so i have a 2017 malibu lt .. And i happened to need to leave town as an emergency, but on my way back home my check engine popped up .. I have this thing called hum and pretty much gives me diagnostics of my vehicle .. And it said my car has some powertrain issue .. Do you happen to know if itll have to come Out of my pocket? Or does the warranty help out? Ive only had my vehicle for a yr and a half...if u would please give me some sort of guidance i would gladly appreciate it.. Thank you
The Car P.
Tania, sorry I can't tell you. I have no idea how many miles you have on your vehicle. You just need to get it diagnosed at a dealership to know for sure.

Jerry Reynolds
Jason G
I have 2019 Jeep Cherokee. It needs jump start after turned off. They done all the test can not even figure out the issue. I left car in the dealership, they can NOT even provided another car for me to drive. I NEED to rental the car by myself and they reimburse me $35 per day. Is that for real? Am I getting the right service? Thanks
The Car P.
It doesn't sound like the dealership is trying very hard, you need to contact the factory and hopefully they'll send an engineer to look at it and get it fixed once and for all.

https://fcacommunity.force.com/Jeep/s/

Jerry Reynolds
Jack H.
SO glad I came across this site. I appreciate the honesty and professionalism in your answers.

I would like to as if recalls and any additional work needed for said recalls done by dealerships are under warranty? I purchased a 2008 Jeep Wrangler with over 150,00 miles from an individual. While running the VIN through registration, 3 recalls popped up. As a safety precaution, I took it into the local dealership and was told the parts were on hand and the recalls would be corrected in two or three days. I was given a 2019 rental Jeep to drive in the meantime which is really nice, but must cost a fortune to the dealership! While working, the technician snapped a bracket that holds in the airbag and the entire steering wheel would need to be replaced. The service department contacted me to say the order had been placed but showed no Estimated Time of Arrival. Every week I was told they were working to find another part but there were none to be found anywhere.
In other words - "We just don't know when it will be available". THEY HAVE HAD MY JEEP FOR SIX WEEKS!

After exploring the Internet and making a few phone calls myself, I located the part at a dealership in another state, spoke to a polite service manager who told me they had not been contacted by any other dealers regarding that part and that they would happily sell it dealer to dealer for less than I could purchase it. Upon bringing this to the service managers attention, I was told they contacted the other dealers but none would sell to them and that it would probably speed up the process for me to purchase the part for $1500 and then reimburse me. No way! Finally, I contacted FCA and MOPAR directly and made them aware of the situation. Within 3 days the part was delivered from other dealer and installed in my vehicle. I do not expect to pay a dime and need to ensure that the work done on my jeep and replacement part will all be under warranty by the dealer as I plan to NEVER take my Jeep there again

I appreciate your time and advice in this matter - Thank you
Amy P.
Jack, you would be correct to not take your vehicle back there. There are clearly careless and not pro-active when it comes to customer satisfaction. I'm sorry you had to go through that, better luck with the next dealership.

Jerry Reynolds
Dawn C
I am so glad I came to your sight. I was going to ask about the fact that my 2012 Hyundai Tuscon has been waiting for a motor since April 2nd and there are no motors. It threw a rod and is under warranty, but how long is too long to wait for a motor? I am making payments on a car that is sitting at the dealer waiting to be repaired. I was at 99,408 miles and was first told that I was coming to the end of my warranty, luckily I had purchased an extended warranty and a gap warranty as well,,due to the fact that even though Hyundai was cetifying the vehicle that only had about 34,000 miles in 2015 when i bought it, it had been in an accident so I got the extended coverage, etc. gap because I am on the road a lot, etc.

There is a recall on this engine and my guess is they are going to need many engines, they have not said what the repair is but my problem is covered , I was given a rental car, a ford hybrid fusion brand new, but no room in the trunk for groceries, etc. So how long is too long to wait, do I have any other options. I was told 4-6 weeks for the engine and it is now 6 weeks or more and it is still back ordered.

Trying to be patient but I miss my car, it had no problems ever, not even a flat tire in 4 years, then it just started making a weird noise on the freeway and lucky for me I was able to get off safely and on to a side street. I am also worried once it is replaced, it will never be the same.

I enjoy your show very much and appreciatat all the good information and advice you give.
Amy P.
Dawn, these are hard questions, every case is different. Not sure where you are located, but most states don’t have Lemon Law coverage for vehicles purchased new. They will want to get this solved ASAP given they are paying for a rental. I wish i had a solid answer for you and hate you are having the issue, but thankful for your warranty.

Jerry Reynolds
.
Hi I have a 2017 Honda Accord 47000 miles on it. I think the transmission is gone in the car. I have taken it to the Honda dealership and it�s still under powertrain warranty up until 60000 miles. I also have extended warranty through Honda. It has been with the dealer for over a week and they informed me that they have still has not done any diagnostic yet. They keep stalling over and over . Please kindly advise what my options are? Thank You
Amy P.
I would take it to a different dealer OR contact Honda directly:

https://automobiles.honda.com/information/customer-relations

Good luck!

Jerry Reynolds,
.
I had a new engine put into my Dodge Ram. It�s an S&J engine. I drove my truck for almost 3 months and the engine blew. They replaced the engine and it was good for about 5 months. It was running really rough. I took my truck in a month ago. I blew the head gasket. The dealership fixed it right away. But now I can�t get my truck back until the engine manufacture pays the dealership. It�s been a month and the dealership has no idea, when they will get payed.
Amy P.
Hi there! What year is your Dodge Ram? Thanks! Amy
Bobby - San Antonio
My 2016 Hyundai Sonata (50,000 miles) had a recall for an engine knock sensor. After the sensor was installed at the dealership my car did not drive properly and they determined that the engine would need to be replaced under warranty. My car has been at dealership service since January 2019. They gave me an Enterprise rental car to drive for free, but its been over 3 months. They continue to say that Sonata engines are on back order and cannot give me a estimated completion date. Do I have anything to worry about?
Thanks!
Amy P.
Honestly, I think you are OK, sounds like the dealer is probably shooting you straight. They want the car off their lot, the rental charges to stop, and to get paid for the work, none of which can happen until the job is complete.

I hope they get the engine soon and get you back on the road!

Jerry Reynolds
Bobby
Thanks for the quick response!
Nicole
Oh no! Yes I was just told that my Senada needs a new engine. With 41,000 miles on it. They told me it will be at least 13 weeks to order the engine?? Oh no!
Amy P.
Nicole, I am sorry to hear of the problem, this is unusual with a Hyundai. I assume they are going to provide transportation for you while yours is in the shop. I will tell you too, most dealers in cases like this will give you the worst case scenario on time. Let's hope they get the engine in much quicker.

GOOD LUCK, again I am sorry this happened.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Karen L.
I have a 2015 fiat 500x. Was purchased Car Pros Fiat in Renton Was. Oct 2016. It now has 20,000 miles on it. The dealership where I purchased my car has closed down. My car is in need of repair from my understanding it's under warranty. My car is disabled. Please advise what to do.
Jerry R.
Karen,

Your warranty is good at any Fiat dealership, I would find the next closest to you and take it to them. By the way, we never had any affiliation with that dealership.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Becca .
I have a mazda cx7 2011 that have a check engine code p0011, since May.milealege of 91 have warranty that covers to fix it according to the auto dealer. Did many trips before to the mechanic shop that the auto dealer said I had to go, for the same problem. Now its been 3 weeks, they still have not fix my vehicle because he said they have to wait for a another guy to approve to fix it which he said last week. The auto dealer also told me that if the insurance or warranty person calls me and ask if something is wrong with my car, that I should say no. How long does it usually take just to approve & fix a check engine light code?
Car P.
Becca, sorry for the problem. Every warranty company is different so I can?t say how long it takes. This seems excessive. I would contact the warranty company, get a claims supervisor and tell them you?ve been patient but you need something done.

Hopefully that will get them moving!

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Amy .
My new 2016 Jeep Renegade started having electrical problems 4 months ago- dashboard indicator lights randomly popping up, seatbelt light beeping when passenger seat was empty and I had fastened the seat belt to try and stop the alarm. Service airbag, parking break, ABS, engine light went off and on. Signal lights began to work or not work. Took to Dealership three times - the computer did not store any engine light message, the rear signal light was replaced and the front left running light. All covered under warranty. Computer updates listed. Took it back again for dashboard alarms going off at random and to replace left front running bulb again since it went out immediately. All covered under warranty but all they did was computer updates and reset dashboard indicators.
Driving to school one morning with my son, the car stopped accelerating and then stalled while still in drive. I coasted to the side of the road and it wouldn?t start immediately. When I finally got it started it was very difficult to drive, the acceleration was jumpy or insufficient. I took it to the dealership again who didn?t call me the day it was done so I had to rent my car another day.
Dealership service Department said they did computer updates and drove it around to check it.
I picked it up and it still felt like it was struggling and rattling when I accelerated and the next morning it died again while in drive, I got the car off to the side, and it wouldn?t start in Park. The engine made a soft humming sound that?s it. I took video this time and when I got home I called the service manager. I told him the issue and he picked me up, got me a car to drive and now I could possibly have them buy the car back from me since it?s still under warranty.
If they buy the car back will I loose money or could I get a replacement car of the same kind?
Car P.
Amy, I am sorry for your troubles. I don?t know where you are located and every state has different Lemon Laws. I would google Lemon Law & your state, the DMV will have a page, and you can determine if you will qualify. If so, I would contact the factory and tell them your intentions to file. They may just go ahead and do a buy back.

I hope it works out!

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Fabiola .
I bought a Hyundia veloster 2015 and not even a year the car start given me problems with the engine. To make story short I dont remember how many time I took the car to the dealer under the manufactured warranty and they change the engine. I just had the car back almost two months and again the car start smoking and it stop on me . there was oil everywhere. Now the dealer its telling me that its the engine again. That apparently I hit something and the oil filter come out. Really I didnt hit anything and Now they dont want to cover it. I told them that probably they didn't put it right. Now what should I do.
Car P.
I would contact Hyundai (not the dealer) for them to investigate. If indeed it was caused by something you hit, and may not have realized it, your insurance should cover it.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Lisa .
I bought my car at Kia, 6 yrs ago.. I had to replace all cylinders in it after a week.. ok dealership pd to fix it... On my 6 the yr, my car only has 59,800. Miles on it.. they said tj that couldn't really figure out what the problem was they spent 4 hours trying to figure it out and went ahead and put a coil engine coil on it without even coming out and telling me and it told me on the phone it was under warranty and when I get there they give me a bill for $372?
Car P.
Not sure what to tell you on this one. I would talk to the service manager at the dealership to see why you were charged. I just can?t tell you.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Michael .
I bought a new 2018 pickup dec 2017 it sat in my yard for a couple of weeks till got a bed on it. On jan 11 with 312 miles it quit running and wouldn't start hauled to dealership they couldn't get to start either turns out it had to bad injectors that were stuck open and washed the cylinder walls down they replaced two injectors and one piston. Now its july 2018 the engine seized up same two injectors, one cylinder is egg shaped the other the piston is froze solid. The engine is an inline six with a common rail fuel system and the vehicle now has 15,000 miles on it the manufacturer is not wanting to fix it and the dealership is whining that they just got paid for the first repairs. I am a farmer rancher and use it for work, in january they offered to loan me a car which I said no to because it was of no use to me. Now I am moving cows and hauling hay they will give me a pickup to use but not one that will serve my purpose which they know and also more than likely offered because I told them what I needed manufacturer will pay $40 a day to rent a rig but that wouldn't come close to covering cost of vehicle rental and I am told it could take several weeks before they decide what to do with vehicle as far as to repair or not dealer claims manufacturer has indicated that there inclined not to. Was just told yesterday by dealer service manager that the first time it broke down when manufacturer tore into the injector that it had a piece of aluminum in it that cause it to seize up now numbers 3 and 6 have done the same thing not sure cause yet this time. Manufacturer asked about fuel where I purchase fuel, first time it was still on tank full that dealer put in it, this time dealer says he has jar of fuel on his desk and its as clear as can be even after sitting there for a week. The first time it was a dealer for 28 days 20 business days. This time its been a week and manufacturer person I talked to says it will be another couple of weeks more than likely before they decide what to do another week to get engine if they decide to repair and another week to put in, and in the meantime I make payments don't have use of the rig and am bartering renting and borrowing ones to haul livestock and hay.
Car P.
Hi Michael, what's the make and model of the 2018 truck and is it a diesel?
Alex .
I bought a new Honda and noticed there were rust on the wheel hub on both front sides. It appears the protective grey paint has worn off prematurely and allowed to rust on the lot. Other vehicles of the same model and even older ones dont have this problem. Seeing as this was a defect on a new car. I took it to a dealer and they said it was normal and did nothing. Now I?m stuck with a ugly rust on a new car that should not have been there. Is there anything I can do? Thanks.
Jerry R.
I would take it to another Honda dealer to see if they agree, and if they do, I would contact Honda directly. Doesn?t seem right to me at all. I hope you can get it resolved!

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Art .
Ok, I just bought a new Subaru Outback. Nice car. But on the way home, we found after stopping at a store that the hand unlock on the drivers door didn?t work. Yes the passenger side did. And yes she could dig in her purse for the fob. But still, a small inconvenience. That was a Saturday. Now Monday she takes it to the dealer. Humm no openings for 9 days to get it in. This is brand new. Why? So appt time, drops it off. Calls the next few day to find that the dealership has no clue. It?s never happened before. It?s still there by the way waiting for a module that was bad. It?s now going on 3 weeks and the mod is ordered.
So my question is, can a dealership fix a problem with a car before they sell it and still be reimbursed by the factory. I want to know if they had to sell this car to me before they could actually fix it. Failed disclosure.
Jerry R.
Dealers get paid on warranty claims before the vehicle is sold. It?s not uncommon to discover a problem during the pre-delivery process when a vehicle arrives. It happens all the time in hope of delivering a perfect product. Sorry this happened.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
C E.
Concerning extended warranties. You did not address the fact that a number of after market warranty companies have gone out of business. A friend of mine had two out of three go out on him. That?s probably why I now own two Korean vehicles
Robert .
Who got the money paid to for my extented warranty from the Bank
Kohta .
Learned. I sell parts everyday to many people from different walks of life. They all treat dealerships like some money satanist. I know it's more expensive, but they get instructions straight from the factory that MADE the vehicle. Who would know the car better? A shadetree mechanic? No, the person with step by step instructions to fix the car would; like a dealership mechanic.
Billy Gibbons
Was told my repairs were covered by warranty. After they repaired it under warranty they call me a week later asking for documentation of past service, or they will bill me for covered repairs. Seems shady no?
The Car P.
Nothing shady here, the dealer is just doing what the factory tells them to and the factory has that right since they are paying the bill. The dealer has no say so in this.

Jerry Reynolds