It is the Magnuson-Moss warranty act. This federal law was enacted in 1975 and is the official statute in the U.S for regulating warranties on consumer items. The act clearly states that manufacturers cannot regulate where clients decide to take their cars for maintenance or repairs. Thanks to this piece of legislation car makers cannot even require you use only branded parts, also called OEM spares, when repairing your vehicle.
This federal lemon law protects citizens from unscrupulous companies that try to cancel a warranty for bogus reasons. You can choose whichever auto care center you want for maintenance and repairs to your vehicle without any fear of losing your factory warranty. What is important is that you keep a history of your car's maintenance for your warranty to be valid. If you do not change the oil, or carry out other basic maintenance when your vehicle user's manual recommends you could risk losing your factory or extended warranty.
However, the key question is not if your factory warrant will be void if you choose an independent care center, but if you have chosen a good auto care center. It is important to make sure you have a good car service facility to go to when your car needs repairs. Good auto care centers can be found among dealerships, independent shops, and chain repair centers like Meineke or Midas.
Unfortunately there is not a magic formula that sets aside crooked shops from models of trust and efficiency. There are however some guidelines you can follow to help you make the best possible decision. The most important aspect of any auto care facility is their staff. Dealerships tend to pay their technicians more in order to attract the best qualified mechanics.
This will include ASE technicians, highly qualified technicians, who must renew their certificate every five years to keep it current. Dealerships also guarantee they only use OEM parts, which follow the highest engineering standards of excellence. All of this costs money, which is why dealerships generally charge over 20% more an hour for labor than independent mechanics. Nevertheless, independent shops also have their benefits.
They are often managed by highly skilled technicians, some of which leave the dealership they worked at and start their own business. Customer service tends to be better in smaller shops because you deal directly with the owner. Smaller independent shops have also fewer overheads which allow them to charge lower hourly labor rates. Remember that you are not limited to one type of auto care center, and you can decide where you take your new vehicle, as long as you keep your maintenance history current and to factory specifications.