Under European Regulations renewed in 2010, car owners are no longer obliged to go to their main dealer during the vehicle’s warranty period and an independent garage can service a leaving the warranty intact. Vehicle manufacturers have a duty to honour the vehicle’s warranty when it is serviced outside of the dealership – fitting non-OE parts is an insufficient reason for the warranty to be declared invalid. Motorists must still stick to the recommended service schedules as outlined in the manual and independent garages should fit parts of Original Equipment (OE) standard.
To ensure motorists continue to receive a competitive and high quality customer service experience from independent garages, you should:
- Always use parts and fluids of matching quality to those used by the car maker and be able to demonstrate as such.
- Make sure you keep your technicians training records up to date and have it available for customer assurance.
- Under Block Exemption Regulations, garages can now access the vehicle producer’s training programmes and they can’t charge garages more than they charge their own dealers.
- Review your equipment – does it need changing? Most garage equipment suppliers will be able to offer you equipment at affordable monthly payments. Are your tools and equipment regularly checked and calibrated, and do you have the records to prove that?
- Be open and transparent with customers – keeping them informed at every stage of the repair, servicing and MoT process.