By on November 12, 2009


Times are tough. Margins are tight. Carmakers are looking for savings anywhere they can. As mechanical work performed by a dealer under a manufacturer’s warranty comes straight off the automaker’s bottom line, it’s not all that surprisingly that we’re getting reports that certain manufacturers (cough Chrysler cough) are dragging their heels on paying for warranty work. In specific, we’re hearing that owners of Cummins diesel-powered Rams are having to stump-up for the cost of engine repairs, as the mothership blames “issues” on driver negligence, poor operating conditions and the knock-out punch “contaminated fuel.” Are you having any trouble getting warranty work on your vehicle(s)?

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25 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Are You Having Trouble Getting Warranty Work?...”

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I’m personally not having any issues, because I do my homework and buy cars from reputable manufacturers (i.e. not GM, Chrysler, et al) and also am very careful and buy only from dealers which have a good reputation in the area in which they serve the public (rather than the all too typical stealerships which litter the landscape). 

    I can most certainly see why Chrysler would be the LAST place to consider buying a car. 

    Did have a colleague ask me for assistance in locating a used Jeep Commander, as she and her husband had made up their mind to go there instead of through Ford or a transplant manufacturer.  I assisted but warned her that Chrysler had just gone bankrupt and it was potentially possible that it would be vaporized and go away. 

  • avatar

    I belong to a Dodge truck e-mail list with a healthy Cummins membership.  Those owners have been successful having engine-specific warranty work covered by local Cummins-certified heavy truck shops.
    Back in late April/early May of this year I needed a steering rack for my Ram.  A Mopar part could not be had.  A coworker dumped his early-model Intrepid because he couldn’t get dealer-only parts to keep it going.  We surmised that a combination of intentional inventory depletion and supplier non-delivery was part of the run-up toward bankruptcy.  I imagine it could take quite some time to dig out of that hole.

  • avatar

    Partially due to my fears of problems like this developing I dumped my  SRT-6 this summer.  Starting in July there have been reports on the forum of some Crossfire parts being on back order from Chrysler for months.
    Apparently at least one owner was told that a replacement convertible top was not available, and a predicted delivery date would not be given.  Owner was told that “no one is making them now.”
    Mechanical parts come mostly from Benz suppliers, so that’s not too bad, but body panels are in short, or zero supply.

    • 0 avatar

      Try to get a Ford Crown Vic instrument cluster in a hurry.  Many parts from all manufacturers have limited sourcing, so it can take a while.

      I am still waiting 6 weeks after ordering a part for my guitar.  This issue is not limited to vehicles.

  • avatar

    We take care of all customer warranty work, no problem, at our Caddy dealership. The only issue we’ve seen has been a slight crackdown on extended warranty work, and that’s mainly related to add on work (things found while performing other services), and even that’s not too hard to overcome with solid proof of a concern or condition. One thing I have noticed has been more phone calls from GM engineers investigating concerns in order to correct them at the factory.

  • avatar

    My I-35 (’03) was at the dealership for routine service, no problems.  I love these guys my car is out of warranty and they still give me a loaner.  My wife’s Volvo went for service 2 weeks ago, no problems.

  • avatar

    No problem with my ’08 Saab 9-3 SC. I had it in for the first service and had a short list of things needing attention: side marker that filled with water, sunroof that didn’t want to close from tilt position, and a slight spring noise when backing up and turning to full lock. They replaced the marker light, sunroof switch, and replaced the strut mounts (with updated ’09-spec parts) and did an alignment with no questions asked. I could have had a loaner but didn’t bother, I have multiple cars.

  • avatar

    I have a Honda.  What is this warranty work you speak of?

  • avatar

    No problems on my Mazda or Enclave.  I have read that were some parts availability problems with the Lambdas when they were launched, but nothing sense then.

  • avatar

    The Infiniti dealer replaced the front rotors and pads on our 09 FX35 even though we were outside of the adjustment period. The other half broke the lock button on the i-Key for our 07 G35 (totally our fault) and they replaced that under warranty. The last time I took our 06 Fusion in was 2 months ago and that was for an oil change, 60K and she’s running like a champ.

    They may not offer up bottled water, bagels and muffins at the local Infiniti dealer, but they sure do take care of your car. On top of that, every time I end up with a loaner it is an Infiniti not some random car from Enterprise.

  • avatar

    Dodge + Chrysler dealer jerked me from stem to stern on “Remanufactured” transmission that turned out to be from a junk yard, pressure washed, and sold as such. Two half-rebuilds and two complete replacements later, they point-blank lied in my face about the noise, horrid shifting, and leaks everywhere.
    Two months later I took it to a different Dodge + Chrysler dealer. They replaced the solenoid pack, transfer gears, and a handful of seals then apologized that the 33 month-old “remanufactured” trans had any kind of an issue.
    Dealer telling you to go pound sand?  Go somewhere else.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Honda / Acura have always gone the extra mile for me. Recently they repainted the plastic bits on my TSX when I complained that they were fading to a radically different shade than the rest of the car. I honestly expected the they-all-do-that brush off, but instead they took the bumpers and other plastic trim off the car and repainted them. This on a three year old vehicle only 4k miles away from the end of the warranty period.
    When the time comes to get another car you can be sure I’m going to have Honda and Acura high on my consideration list because of how well they have treated me after the sale.

  • avatar
    billy doug

    hey looks like someone screwed up the best site I’ve ever found on the internet. It was good while it lasted.

  • avatar

    I’ve never had warranty issues with my Mazda (knock on wood), though it does have a habit of eating tires, but that is mostly my fault for not bothering to keep the pressure up to the recommended levels.
    My previous Mitsubishi Montero had a rattle in the dash, which was fixed easily under warranty, but later came back.  I traded it shortly after due to other reasons (fuel economy and cost of general maintenance mostly) so I don’t know if anyone was ever able to get the problem to completely go away.

  • avatar

    Warranty performance is where the Japanese in general (and Toyota and Honda in particular) have generally cleaned house.  The reliability may not have always been there, but, by god, you were not going to get the kind of run-around that was typical at an American or (shudder) European dealer.   They knew, early on, that treating your customers well at the repair desk would pay dividends on the sales floor and in the pages or CR et al.
    Chrysler, back before Daimler bought them, had made some strides in warranty performance and it was directly reflected in their reliability rankings.  Ford did the same in or around 2005 and it’s paid off for them.  GM has never really been good at this, and the Europeans have been terrible (the Germans are the best of a terrible lot).   It’s unfortunate that Chrysler has fallen back on the old ways, but it’s not unexpected since the slide was well on it’s way under Daimler’s tutelage.
    Related note: much of the problems people have with VW, and the disconnect between European and North American perceptions of reliability, have to to with the total screwjob VWAG and/or VWoA have pulled on their own North American dealer body.  It is very difficult for a NA VW dealer to get compensation for warranty work, and as a result they won’t go to bat for their customers because they know they’ll get screwed.

  • avatar

    I had good results from my dealership here in Reno. for the entire term of my 3/36 warranty on my KJ Liberty.  I can also report that the cupboard is bare of MOPAR parts.  I recnetly had my 3rd window rear window regulator fail and parts where on national backorder for 4-6 weeks.

  • avatar

    I had no problem getting my ’06 Dakota serviced under warranty… by Car Max. I assumed that the new car (truck) warranty would transfer so when I developed what is apparently a common brake shudder, I went to a dealer thinking they would be familiar with the problem and know how to solve it.


    They confirmed there was a problem but said that the problem had already been repaired under warranty by the PO so they couldn’t fix it under warranty.

    Took the truck back to Car Max and they fixed the problem… at least temporarily. The shudder is back (what is the deal with these Dakotas?) so I’m going to get it fixed out of pocket so I can trade it in for something for the wife that doesn’t have a Ram’s head on it.

  • avatar

    This is not a new trend… and not just a Mopar thing either.   GM regional reps have been ACTIVELY refusing warranty work for almost  a decade now.   GM dealers are also been ACTIVELY encouraged to add “hidden” costs to warranty work, you will often now experience “shop charges”, “fluid fees” and “diagnostic charges” on “supplemental” bills at GM dealers… Of course these fees will be dropped with a quick “my bad” if you ask to speak to the service manager… But this “nickle and dimeing”  has been going on for years now, in full view of GM’s regional reps and with GM doing nothing to control or eliminate it.

  • avatar

    When the Nissan dealer replaced one of my wheels due to peeling clearcoat, they put a brand new tire on the old rim and let me keep both, essentially handing me $1500 retail.  Peeling clearcoat didn’t really qualify for a warranty replacement, so they wrote it up like the wheel wouldn’t hold air anymore.  That’s how you keep a customer.    

  • avatar

    May GMC and all those responsible for the continuous screwing I received at multiple dealers with my new 2004 Silverado  see their pensions vanish and may their likely ample wealth will be stolen, leaving them destitute and seeking vittles in dumpsters.
    I bought GMC/Chevy to assist the “home team” when my first inclination was to buy Toyota.
    Not that Toyota is perfection but GMC/Chevy has, so far, in the past 35 years, that has EVER screwed me over continuously and thoroughly and had the nerve to lie to my face so MANY MANY times and… to insult my intelligence… the various dealers used the same uncommon words leaving little doubt in my mind the service writers were spewing the rhetoric memorized from a corporate memo.
    “… we could not replicate the problem…” heard over and over and over… dozens of times for various under-warranty defects.
    The EXACT same wording.
    “Replicate.”  Not other words and wording using simpler language more typical of the mentality and education of a service writer.
    And, what are the odds of the EXACT same language being used at various dealers AND the various service writers at the same dealer?
    ABS defect…. a safety issue.  When I retrieved the truck three days later not even ONE mile had been added to the odometer.  Buckled pavement where semi-trucks stopping on asphalt had created ripples on the pavement created havoc with the ABS system.  There was a spot three miles from the dealership with that rippling on the pavement.
    “…can not replicate the problem…” I was told yet not even ONE mile added to the odometer.
    Another time…. in for around the 6th or 7th time for the same safety-related defect. This time at the dealer for 7 days to allow sitting over night so the climate control (specifically windshield defrost) could achieve cold winter night temp for the morning crew to ignore and allow the service writer to proclaim the lack of replicability.
    GMC deserves to collapse and may whoever(s) decided to save a few bucks by ignoring warranty work??? May they suffer horribly.
    All the lost wages, having to rent a car at times (never ANY loaners at the dealers in the area), all the costs AND the lessened re-sale value when I can afford to sell the damnable thing cost me THOUSANDS of dollars over the three years of constant grief.
    Part of the problem may have been the near-worthless state lemon law that could not assist me.
    And, in a consumer-unfriendly state the courts were not an option.
    Many folks are quick to spew their knee-jerk rhetoric of “Take the SOBs to court” believing that is the answer to every problem.
    In my case the courts MAY have provided eventual relief… MAYBE, but the cost to attain that relief could easily have exceeded my losses.
    So…. I devoted myself to warning as many consumers of the danger of buying a GMC vehicle.
    I am not doing that here, I have already done so.
    However, I have spoken out in real-life MANY times and left a multitude of messages upon Web venues.
    It is impossible to determine to what extent, if any, my efforts diverted buyers away from GMC products.  Over the years, however, I observed comments to my warnings that included agreement due to other’s negative experiences with GMC and its makes/models and from those telling of negatives occurring to folks they knew who suffered as I did.
    Remember the extension of the warranty period to 5/50 not long ago? It has not been boasted about much in the advertising I have seen.
    I did not pursue that extension to ascertain coverage per make/model and other aspects of that longer warranty. I do find it interesting how little that longer warranty has been played upon in advertising I have seen/heard/read.
    Maybe the extreme negatives made public by folks such as I truly harmed GMC.
    I hope it did.

  • avatar

    I had a KIA that had lifter noise and I went to two dealers to try and get it fixed. I even called KIA and they still were unable/unwilling to fix it so I traded it in.  So much for the 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, lol!

  • avatar

    The Mazda stealerships in the Toronto area have continually given me the “they all do that, it’s normal!” line time and time again. It is especially insulting because I paid for “premium” Mazda Added Protection. Worst $1600 + tax I’ve ever spent!
    I have documented all of the problems with my 2006 Mazda5 GT here:
    Please comment!

  • avatar

    My Hyundai Santa Fe required its first warranty repair this summer, to replace a noisy stabilizer link.   The dealer had me in and out in 30 minutes, no charge.   My 2004 Nissan Quest was not so reliable, however the warranty service was excellent.  The dealer never balked at any of my numerous problems, and Nissan extended the factory warranty as a goodwill gesture.     I would buy from either manufacturer again.
    @newcarscostalot:  Many cars, including Hyundai/Kia, make a ticking sound at idle which is often mistaken for lifter noise but is actually normal fuel injector operation. Just throwing that out there.

  • avatar

    When I buy a car it’s usually depreciated to about 10-20% of what it cost when new.  What is this warranty thing you speak of?  Sounds like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

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