Many motorists with vehicles under manufacturers warranty are
under the misguided impression that any servicing, maintenance
or repairs must be carried out by the authorised dealer
otherwise their warranty is invalidated.
They are still unaware that, since June 2010, European
competition rules which cover agreements between vehicle
manufacturers and their authorised dealers, repairers and
spare parts distributors, have confirmed important rights
which help the motorist.
Under the rules, car manufacturers will no longer be able to
make the warranty conditional on having the car serviced, or
even simple things like oil changes, done in the dealers
The introduction of these rules means that motorists can shop
around for the most competitive price and convenient location
for servicing their cars.
Servicing and maintenance are calculated to represent around
40% of vehicle running costs over the whole life of the car.
Motorists using their Right to Choose have found that there
are more competitive prices available from Independent garages
and workshops. This has helped go some way to offset the
overall increase of motoring costs such as fuel and insurance.
Unsurprisingly, dealers choose not to tell car owners that
their warranty is still intact wherever they choose to have
their cars serviced*, but the RIGHT TO CHOOSE campaign aims
to put that right.
• In order to retain the vehicle warranty it is essential that the car manufacturer’s
service schedule is adhered to and that full records of the vehicle’s service history are
retained. In addition, details of any parts fitted or consumables, such as oil or coolant,
should be retained in order to refute any allegation by a dealer that the warranty has
• The rules referred to above are the European Regulation 461/2010 (Motor Vehicle
Block Exemption). Regulation 461/2010 has been introduced, along with a set of
Supplementary Guidelines on Vertical Restraints in Agreements for the Sale and
Repair of Motor Vehicles and for the Distribution of Spare Parts for Motor Vehicles
(the ‘Supplementary Guidelines’). The new Regulation contains a list of hardcore
restrictions applicable to the motor vehicle aftermarket – repair, maintenance and the
sale of spare parts – which came into force on 1 June 2010. It also extends the
application of the provisions of Regulation 1400/2002 relating to distribution
agreements and concerted practices of new motor vehicles until June 2013. After that
date, the exemption of such contracts will be regulated by the general regime for
vertical agreements, the newly adopted Regulation 330/2010.
• One of the sponsor organisations, the Independent Automotive Aftermarket
Federation (IAAF), has successfully challenged hundreds of cases where dealers have
misleadingly told motorists that servicing vehicles outside the dealer network has
invalidated the warranty.