Wednesday, May 22Serving the aftermarket

Motorists still unaware of rules around vehicle warranties

Almost half of Britain’s car owners (44%) believe that getting their car serviced by an independent garage will invalidate their warranty, despite a change in the law nearly 15 years ago that prevents this from being the case.

The statistic was uncovered by nationwide servicing and repair chain Halfords Autocentres, which surveyed over 22,000 motorists via the Halfords Autocentres Roadworthiness Quiz, which tests drivers’ knowledge of car maintenance and motoring laws.

Motorists legally have the right to choose where their vehicle is serviced and repaired without invalidating their warranty as they are protected under the EU Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation 461/2010. This means owners have a greater choice of where to have their car repaired and can consider non-franchise dealers and independents without the fear of penalty.

Motorists have a choice and can legally take their vehicle to be repaired or serviced at any independent garage, franchised dealer or autocentre, according to the IAAF’s Your Car – Your Choicecampaign. Providing parts and fluids of Original Equipment (OE) quality have been used in accordance with manufacturer’s service schedules, drivers will not invalidate the warranty.

The Roadworthiness Quiz, part of Halfords Autocentres Roadworthiness Week, also found that 40% of drivers are unaware of new MOT legislation that came into effect in 2018, which tests items such as diesel particulate filters, reversing lamps and dashboard warning lights.

This comes as little surprise as DVSA has revealed more than a million motorists have failed the MOT test due to dangerous defects, since the new rules came into force in May 2018.

Other statistics the quiz uncovered were that 40% of drivers had no idea what the minimum legal tread depth on their tyres was, and couldn’t correctly identify the date stamp on their tyres to tell how old they are. A further 22% believed that there was no law against driving with an empty screenwash bottle, but this could lead to a fine of up to £1,000 and three penalty points.