Will A Late Oil Change Void Your Ford Warranty?

by | Feb 18, 2020

PSA: Before reading this – if you haven’t read our guide on whether or not you should purchase a Ford Warranty, give that a look first. Consider it required reading.

If you have ever purchased a new or certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealership you know that a huge value point is a sweet warranty that comes included in the price of your car. 

This is pretty standard across the board when you are purchasing from any of the large automobile producers and dealers, though the effective time period and mileage counts do vary from company to company.

A manufacturer’s warranty essentially protects the consumer against faulty vehicle purchases. Under a warranty, most repairs are covered at no cost to the policyholder for the length of the contract. 

This excludes repairs needed due to extenuating circumstances like weather patterns and natural disasters and owner negligence. Ford offers this warranty only as a remedy for malfunctions in the manufacturing process 

Remember though, these are repairs, not maintenance. So for instance, if your head gasket cracks and needs to be replaced a warranty will likely cover the full cost of repair if routine maintenance has been performed and properly documented. 

Again, what your manufacturer’s warranty will not cover are going to be maintenance items. So think things like oil changes, new tires, fluid maintenance, alignment, etc. 

Now that we have a base of information standard across most warranties let’s get into some Ford Motor Company specifics. 

 Types of Warranties

Manufacturer Warranty

A manufacturer’s warranty is generally all-inclusive or “bumper to bumper” and comes standard with new cars among most brands you may decide to purchase. Traditionally these warranties will last X amount of years or miles depending on the manufacturer.

For instance, the standard manufacturer’s warranty from Ford Motor Company is for 3 years or 36,000 miles. This warranty automatically comes included in the price of your purchase of a shiny, new Ford vehicle. 

If you bought a used car that is under 3 years old and 36,000 miles the warranty is valid and will transfer with the vehicle when it changes hands. Make sure (if you are purchasing) that you get detailed maintenance records from the previous owners. You will need these if you ever have to make a claim.

In addition to this, there are several other warranties included under Ford Motor Company’s Manufacturer Warranty without additional cost to the consumer.

Powertrain Warranty

The is a big one. Ford’s Powertrain warranty is valid for 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first and it covers the key players in your car. A powertrain warranty from Ford covers the engine, axles, transmission, transfer case, driveshafts, all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, front rear-drive, and differentials. 

These also tend to be the most expensive parts in your car. Transmission replacement can cost upwards of $3000 to repair or replace. Engine repair is even more than that with the average cost of replacement at $4000. 

This makes powertrain warranties incredibly valuable to the policyholder. If these parts are broken within the time and mileage dictated by the warranty, an authorized Ford dealer will fix your vehicle totally free of charge to you! This protects the consumer against manufacturer defects. 

Miscellaneous Warranties

Believe it or not, there are not just one or two warranties on your new Ford or Lincoln. There are several other minor warranties that are included in your new vehicle price. You don’t need to negotiate for them or pay any additional costs. Here they are. 

  1. Corrosion Warranty: the corrosion warranty is valid for 5 years after the purchase of your vehicle with unlimited mileage. It covers the perforation of the body panels of your vehicle. It essentially covers any rust that may form on your car in the first five years.
  2. Safety Restraint Warranty: The safety features on your vehicle are also covered under your manufacturer’s warranty. This includes the safety components such as airbags, seat belts or safety restraint system (SRS). The coverage here lasts 60,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first.
  3. Emission Warranty: the constraints of time and mileage for this warranty vary from vehicle to vehicle and from state to state. It covers numerous parts in the vehicle’s emission system including the catalytic converter and exhaust manifold. Check your vehicle’s specific emission warranty as different state laws dictate variation. You can contact your local dealership to discuss the terms. 

Diesel Engine Warranty: If you purchased a vehicle from Ford Motor Company that has a diesel engine, then your car has a specific warranty. This warranty covers your direct injection engine, timing equipment, intake and exhaust manifolds, injectors, turbo, injection pressure sensors, cylinder block, and other various components. This warranty is valid for 5 years or 100,000 miles. 

Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance is also covered under your vehicle’s new car limited warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. This roadside assistance includes towing to your nearest authorized Ford Motor Company dealership, lockout assistance, fuel delivery, and flat tire changes. 

Exclusions

While this new car limited bumper to bumper warranty is quite inclusive it does have several exclusions. They are all relatively straightforward and common-sense style limitations. They include repairs caused by:

  • Alterations and aftermarket upgrades not performed or authorized by Ford Motor Company (see below)
  • Theft, vandalism, and rioting
  • Accidents (luckily we have car insurance for this one)
  • Natural disasters or severe weather
  • Improper or contaminated fuels or fluids (check your owner’s manual for approved fluids)
  • Driving your car through high water
  • Racing your vehicle
  • Etc. 

Personal Experience Dealing with Ford Motor Company 

To try to give you a better idea of what exactly will void your Ford warranty, I spent some time tracking down a copy of the exact Ford warranty protecting your car.

My efforts were less than fruitful – so let me save you some time and hopefully some frustration if you ever need to do the same thing.

I spent several hours over two days and many phone calls discussing warranties with Ford Motor Company’s personnel. Overall the experience was frustrating as I was transferred from department to department sometimes receiving contradicting information. 

I had several excellent phone representatives, others who hung up on me and one who was unwilling to give me any information at all until I said I was interested in buying something.

I even had a representative who told me he thought it was unlikely that I was doing what I said I was doing and I was probably someone who had had a claim denied and was scraping for information. I found this conversation particularly entertaining. 

What I heard from pretty much every person I talked to whether at a local dealership level or at the Ford Motor Company’s corporate extended service line, was that there was no paperwork I could view regarding Ford’s warranty commitment to new vehicle owners. 

How could this be? I was under the impression that a warranty was a legally binding contract between the manufacturer and the owner of the vehicle.

The final person I talked to was Steve at the local Brandon Ford in Tampa, Florida. Steve was the first individual to inform me that Ford’s 3-year 36,000-mile new vehicle warranty is what is called an implied warranty. 

What In The Heck Is An Implied Warranty?

An implied warranty is essentially an unwritten warranty. These warranties are enforced by state laws that mandate that consumer purchased items must work for their intended purpose. 

Where written warranties are federally regulated by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, limited warranties are not. United States law does however back the enforceability of these unwritten contracts.

Businesses have a responsibility to honor the reliability of their products. This protects consumers from lemon products that do not serve their intended purpose. 

So how do I know what will void my implied warranty if there is no paperwork?

I asked specifically this question to the Ford employee I spoke to towards the end of my research and the question seemed to baffle him. The answer he gave me was to follow the service schedule detailed in the owner’s manual provided by my dealership. 

He recommended that all services are executed in the time frame and mileage range detailed in the handbook. He also recommended that full documentation including location, date, mileage, and receipts of service be kept should any issues arise. 

Will failure to change my oil in a timely fashion void my warranty?

So here it is the question of the hour. What happens if I don’t follow my suggested maintenance guide? Am I going to have to pay for the cost of repair?

The simple answer here is yes, your warranty will be partially voided if you do not change your oil in a timely fashion with proper fluids. However, the dealership must prove that your failure to service your car did without reasonable doubt cause the malfunction and need for repair. 

 You are required to maintain your vehicle and a warranty only covers manufacturing flaws, not the repairs due to lack of service. 

Therefore, if you fail to perform regularly scheduled maintenance items and a part of your engine breaks in direct relation, you will be liable for the cost of the repair. 

Be sure to keep your receipts and other service maintenance documentation. When you make a claim you will be required to show proof of maintenance. 

What oil blend should I use?

The service technician from Ford Motor company who I spoke to recommended an oil blend with the ratio 1:1 of synthetic and conventional oil. Specific oil suggestions for your vehicle will be provided from Ford and are detailed in the owner’s manual that came with your car. 

If you have any questions on this you can call a Ford dealership or the Ford Customer Support Center. The wait times on these calls are relatively low. I waited around five minutes to speak to someone each time that I called. 

How often should I change my oil to keep my warranty valid?

Again, I was encouraged by a Ford employee to seek out the owner’s manual to my vehicle and follow the guidelines for oil changes there. He did encourage oil changes every 5,000 miles or every six months to be safe. His reasoning was that oil breaks down over time regardless of miles driven. Waiting a full year to change your oil could be detrimental to your engine. 

Do I have to go to a Ford Dealership for my routine maintenance?

You are not required to go to an authorized Ford Motor Company dealership for the maintenance on your vehicle. It is illegal under federal law for a company to void your warranty for using outside maintenance companies or doing the work on your car yourself.

So say you are an engine guru and you’ve been doing all the maintenance on your own vehicles for years. As long as you keep a detailed record of when the maintenance was performed, the mileage on the vehicle at the time of service, and keep the receipts for any parts and equipment used, then you will be good to go should you ever need to make a claim. 

Will aftermarket upgrades to my vehicle impact my warranty?

The answer to this question is a little tricky. No, your aftermarket upgrades will not void your warranty unless they are the cause of the part failure. 

For instance, if you add on a power chip to your diesel truck (which then boosts engine performance to a level of combustion and chamber pressure that other engine parts are not built to withstand) and you end up with a blown head gasket, you’re probably going to be paying that bill. 

Other common mods to vehicles that can void warranties include upgrading the computer inside your car, lift kits, suspension modification or tire use that is not recommended or approved by Ford Motor Company. 

Dealerships are required to prove without a reasonable doubt that your modifications are the source of the repair. 

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