How to Get a Warranty Honored

When you run into a road block with a warranty issue, you need to be sure to cover all the issues in getting it resolved. Planning ahead for a potential problem can save a headache, as well as some cash.


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    Read all the information in the warranty statement from the manufacturer. Often there are exclusions of certain items in the "fine print". Don't give up too easily, though, some of these exclusions are regulated by laws which vary from state to state.
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    Keep detailed records of all maintenance required on your purchase. In the case of an automobile, this will include oil changes, lubrication, the engine air filter, and possibly other things pertaining to a specific vehicle. You will have very little luck settling a warranty dispute if the maintenance schedule has not been followed and documented.
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    Keep all paperwork that supports your claim, including sales receipts and prior warranty work which has been covered. On some occasion, a replacement part or service work may have an extended warranty for that particular item.
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    Notify the warranty department of the seller immediately when the problem occurs. Some minor problems manage to become major ones if not dealt with properly. An example would be a car with low engine oil pressure. If this is corrected, it can be a simple repair, but if left uncorrected, it will cause engine failure.
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    Do not let the service people talk you into partial repairs, or using rebuilt or after-market parts. They will sometimes do this to cut cost, but most warranty work calls for factory replacement parts.
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    Talk to the salesperson who sold you the item if the service department refuses to help you. Remind him/her of any promises they made when selling the product, and try to get them to stand behind their product.
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    Go to the store manager or owner, if possible, and make your case as honestly and forthright as possible. Let them know you will go to the top of the corporate ladder if needed...and follow through.
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    Hit the internet. Visit the corporate website, look for executive email addresses and FAQ (frequently asked question) links. Write an email detailing the problem, your perspective on why it is a warranty issue, and a description of the response you got from the dealer or seller. Stick to the facts, the date of purchase, the implied warranty if there was one, and the exact nature of the problem.
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    Go to government and public service websites. When dealing with car problems, go to car websites, and look for Technical Service Bulletins and Recalls. Often, the manufacturer does not want to admit a defect exists, but over a period of time, the industry and any federal government agencies with jurisdiction on the product will force action to remedy common problems, especially safety issues.
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    Use good judgment. Do not fight a long uphill battle over a small repair charge, but do not compromise safety or quality of life out of stubbornness to make the manufacturer pay for the problem.
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    Keep records of repair costs and loss of use, if you are forced to pay to have the repairs done. You may continue to have problems with the item, and even be forced to take legal action. In this case, documentation may allow you to recover all your costs, and repayment for lost use.


  • Go to experts and get their opinion, and even a written statement of the cause of product failure, as well as a repair estimate. Car dealers, especially, will occasionally, hopefully rarely, deny there is a problem, but when confronted with a mechanic's diagnosis of the problem, relent and correct it.
  • Consider purchasing an extended warranty when making a major purchase that involves long term financing. Even when purchasing a new home, extended warranties can cover everything from appliances to structural elements of the home.
  • Some credit card issuers offer double warranty period if you use their card.
  • Keep all receipts and warranty papers for any purchase you may later need warranty work or replacement for. Small, cheap, or disposable items may not be worth the trouble.


  • Watch out for yourself if you make an expensive purchase "As is", this means the product carries no warranty. This may include discounted, or discontinued items, or items off the shelf and out of their original packaging.
  • Check publications like Consumer Reports, they often contain articles pinpointing problems with specific products.

Things You'll Need

  • All original purchase related documents.
  • Receipts and records of periodic maintenance.
  • Receipts for repairs you have had done yourself.

Article Info

Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair