How has COVID impacted vehicle warranty?

Car buying has changed dramatically over the last 6 months as a direct result of the ongoing pandemic. However, while actual sales fluctuated massively during the crisis and subsequent lockdown, the change in policies and the next steps for buyers and owners has been a bit confusing.

Driver POV (point of view) looking over the windshield wipers through the wet, blurry, partially opaque, partially transparent, spot speckled windshield of a car traveling on a rural highway during an autumn rain storm. Hazy, blurred headlights of approaching vehicle traffic are just blobs of light through the streaking and splattered raindrop water. Canon 5D Mark III.

For example, the extension on vehicle MOT checks within the UK and changes to servicing recommendations have created a backlog of bookings and uncertainty around vehicle checks in general. Here, we’ll look at how COVID has impacted the auto market when it comes to vehicle warranty.

Warranty viability

When you take out a warranty on a vehicle, it’s often stipulated that the warranty will be void if you don’t keep up with regular servicing. However, throughout the coronavirus crisis, getting your car serviced was something of a problem, to say the least. So, what if you missed a scheduled service or failed to get some minor accident damage repaired because of COVID?

There is, of course, no one correct answer here as it will depend on your provider or manufacturer. However, the negative press that would be associated with a manufacturer or provider invalidating a warranty due to circumstances beyond owner control means it’s more likely they will make allowances for you. Providers such as Warrantywise will always offer the most up to date information so be sure to check here first.

During the lockdown, we were all told to stay at home time and time again. It’s understandable that a regular service check or getting that dent bumped out are things that might have slipped your mind. Also, if your franchised dealer was closed but a local workshop wasn’t, you might have been forced to go there instead.

In pre-COVID times, this might have meant a warranty invalidation, as it’s often stipulated in warranty agreements that all servicing is undertaken by an accredited or franchised dealer, not simply Bob the Mechanic from up the road. But these are post-COVID times and the gloves are off. If you’re uncertain, we’d recommend getting in touch with your warranty policy providers and seeking their assistance.

When to start asking questions

  • Have you booked a service that’s been cancelled? If so, your warranty will be honoured. So carry on using your car and book it in for another servicing slot as soon as possible.
  • Is your service due? If your servicing date is due soon then get in touch with your dealer and ask them if they are currently operating and if they can fit you in.
  • Have you checked your manufacturer’s specific stance? Every car manufacturer from BMW to Volvo will have a different response so you must be specific with your enquiries. According to Citroen, for example: “If a vehicle is serviced late it will not invalidate the warranty at this time.”

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