What is a service?
A service for your vehicle is routine maintenance, such as an oil change and filter replacements. These are usually scheduled for certain mileage milestones or when your vehicle tells you through your driver information display. Servicing is a must to keep your vehicle in good running order. Services are different from repairs.
What is a repair?
Repairs are when something goes wrong with your vehicle (which does happen) that isn’t supposed to, such as the radio not working, or a u-joint going. Depending on the year and mileage of your vehicle, some items that need to be repaired may be covered under warranty. A warranty on a brand new vehicle is kind of a guarantee that the vehicle will not break under normal operation. So if it does, the manufacturer will repair the problem free of charge under warranty.
Do I risk voiding my warranty if I don’t go to the dealership I bought my vehicle from?
For routine maintenance and servicing, no. You can take your vehicle to any lube shop or dealer to have routine servicing such as oil changes done. These are usually pretty straightforward and Consumer Reports says, “Federal law gives you the right to service your vehicle wherever you like without affecting your warranty coverage”. You may have bought a Toyota from a Dodge dealership, but if you want, you can take it to GMC or a local lube shop to get serviced.
Are there advantages to taking my vehicle to the manufacturer dealership?
Yes. Regardless of which brand vehicle you drive, every dealer is an expert in their own particular brand. They also have a lot more access to information on their brand than a local repair or lube shop would. You may take your vehicle in for a routine service like an oil change at your local lube shop but they will be blissfully unaware of any recalls. they also won’t be aware of TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) or common issues with that brand.
When taking your vehicle to your manufacturer dealership, even for just an oil change, they will be able to tell you if there is an open recall. The advantage is that they may be able to do it at the same time as the oil change, meaning you don’t have to make appointments at various places. This makes life a little less inconvenient and there is no extra cost for recalls and sometimes TSBs. “Mechanics in your dealership’s service department are specifically trained and certified in all aspects of your model’s service needs, and the shop will be equipped with all of the necessary diagnostic equipment”.
Keep your receipts
It’s worth noting that if you do ever have to make a warranty claim with a manufacturer that they may ask for proof of routine servicing. Check to see if the local lube shop keeps records, if not keep your receipts. Dealerships will keep records electronically and these may also be reported on Autocheck reports. This means that everyone can potentially see that the vehicle has been maintained.
“Where to Go for Maintenance and Repairs.” Where To Go For Maintenance And Repairs | Car Maintenance – Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports, Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: