Can You Service Your Own Car and Keep The Warranty?


You can service your own car and keep the warranty. According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty act, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, it’s illegal for manufacturers or dealers to void your warranty or deny you coverage because you performed the work yourself.

If you’re handy with a wrench and don’t mind getting dirty, by all means, you can service your own car. However, there are some limitations you need to be aware of before getting under the hood.

Firstly, not all warranties are created equal.

The term “warranty” or “extended warranty” is often used as a catch-all term for true warranties and vehicle service contracts, even though they are quite different.

What’s A True Manufacturer Warranty?

A manufacturer’s warranty, which is also know as a factory warranty, is a promise made by the manufacturer of your car that it will work as it’s intended to. You may hear these called bumper-to-bumper warranties or factory limited warranties and they come only with new cars.

Typically, these last about 3 years / 36,000 miles, although companies like Hyundai have begun offering 5 year / 60,000 mile manufacturer warranties.

To be a warranty according to the FTC, the contract has to be between the manufacturer and the end consumer. The warranty must be included in the price of the car, and it has to be available for you to read prior to purchase, even if you plan to buy online. 

True warranties are regulated under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty act, which you can read more about here.

What’s An Extended Warranty/Vehicle Service Contract?

A vehicle service contract, on the other hand is a promise to pay for certain covered repairs. A service contract can be from a manufacturer, a dealer, or another company. Although commonly called “extended warranties” a vehicle service contract is not a warranty as defined by Federal law, so it doesn’t have to comply with the Magnuson-Moss warranty act.

There are generally two classes of vehicle service contracts. There are manufacturer service contracts, and 3rd party vehicle service contracts.

A manufacturer service contract comes right from the manufacturer and is typically billed as an extension of your warranty, even though it’s different in the eyes of the law.

A 3rd party service contract comes from a company that’s not associated with your manufacturer. This includes us. 3rd party service contract companies are generally what are associated with the “extended warranty scam calls” that consumers sometimes receive. Fortunately, when you deal with a reputable company like us, you’ll be taken care of. But not all companies will extend you the same courtesy.

To break things down even further, there are direct contract providers and indirect contract providers. It’s an important distinction we’ll get to in a little bit.

Here’s How You Can Do Your Vehicle’s Service Yourself And Keep Your Warranty

Now that you understand the difference between a warranty and a vehicle service contract, we can get a little bit deeper. There are a few considerations when performing your own maintenance that you’ll need to keep in mind.

Before you do any work, you should first make sure that you’re performing work that isn’t covered by your warranty. Typically, your manufacturer warranty doesn’t cover things like:

  • Brake pads
  • Tires/wheel adjustment/tire rotation
  • Spark Plugs
  • Belts
  • Oil and fluids
  • Body panels and non-electrical interior components
  • Bulbs and fuses
  • Windshield wiper blades
  • Wear and tear items, scheduled to be regularly replaced according to your car’s maintenance schedule

If what you plan to work on falls outside these exclusions, it’s most likely covered by your warranty. If it’s covered, don’t put the time in to repair it and just take it to the shop instead. It’s not worth the hassle, and you’re going to spend more money buying the part and fixing it yourself then you would just taking it in.

That being said, if you’re going to perform one of the excluded services yourself, you should be aware that if you perform the service incorrectly, it could invalidate your warranty.

For example, if you performed an oil change with the wrong grade of oil and it somehow damaged your engine, your manufacturer’s warranty would not cover the engine. For example, Hyundai cites “improper repair” as a warranty exclusion.

However, in order to invalidate your warranty, the manufacturer has to prove that it was your improper repair that caused the engine damage to be able to deny your claim. The warranty would still remain in effect for the rest of your car, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

You’re also allowed to use aftermarket parts without voiding your warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty act makes it illegal for any company to void your warranty or deny coverage simply because of an aftermarket part.

But, if that aftermarket part decides to fail and it causes damage to your car, your warranty can be voided, although the warranty company has to prove it was the aftermarket part that caused the damage.

Assuming you navigate these two hurdles with no problems, the last thing you’ll need to do is document the service you’ve performed, as your documentation may be required if you make a claim in the future.

You should record the type of service performed, what parts you used for the service, and when the service was performed. You should also include an odometer reading as well. By documenting your repair, you’ll save yourself a major headache in the future if you make a claim.

What Is A Direct Warranty Provider?

So you’re probably wondering what the direct warranty provider bit is above. It’s an important distinction that is worth talking about.

A direct warranty provider is a warranty company that administrates and services its own claims, legally speaking. What that means, is when a direct warranty provider sells you an extended warranty, they are responsible for paying your claims, as well as handling any customer service issues that arise.

Direct providers can offer lower prices for their plans and better customer service because everything is handled in house. 

Currently, only Protect My Car and Endurance are direct warranty providers.

Other extended warranty companies aren’t selling their own plans.  When you buy a policy with them, they then transfer the responsibility for your future claims to a 3rd party finance company. They get paid, and then that finance company that you didn’t choose becomes the legal entity responsible for paying your claims.

This can be a huge hassle. Claims take longer to get paid, and we’ve seen prices that are more expensive.

That’s not to mention that the 3rd party finance company has no connection to you as a human being and has every financial incentive to pay as little as possible on your claim.

With over 13 years in this business, everyone will tell you that choosing a direct warranty provider is the best way to go. You’ll avoid getting a run around from claims agents, and instead will get help from a real person who wants to see you off smiling.

Want To Get The Best Value On An Extended Warranty That Let’s You Service Your Own Car? Protect My Car Can Help

As it stands right now, your coverage options for your head gasket are limited to higher cost premium plans that will cover almost all of your car, but for a potentially expensive fee each month. Protect My Car, on the other hand, has a range of lower-cost plans to help cover the cost of repair.

Best of all, we’re able to do this at up to a 60% lower price than our competitors because we’re a direct warranty provider, and you’ll never be dealing with another company but us.

As a proud direct warranty provider, you’ll also never be mistreated when you join us. There’s a reason our average review score (TrustPilot, Consumer Affairs, BBB) is a 4.3/5.0, and I want you to find out why.

We know there are a number of other great extended warranty companies out there, we know we’re the best extended car warranty and we want to prove it to you.

That’s why, for a limited time, we’re giving away $50 dollars in rewards just for getting a quote with us. From there, you’ll be able to shop all of our different plans, online, with no phone call needed.

Because we’re a direct warranty provider, you may find that our plans are significantly cheaper than what you’re paying right now.

So don’t wait, get your free quote today and claim your $50 dollars in free rewards. You’ll be one step closer to not having to shell out thousands for an expensive car repair.

About Protect My Car

Protect My Car is an extended auto warranty company. Our goal here at Protect My Car is to eliminate your worry of being financially responsible for an expensive mechanical breakdown. With our extended auto warranty, you don’t have to worry about being fully burdened with the cost of a covered repair.