Businesses with a fleet of vehicles could save thousands of dollars each year in repair expenses just by reading and following the recommendations spelled out in the warranty booklet that comes with every vehicle. But all too often, the warranty booklet stays tucked away unopened in the glove compartment, until the business finds out that the warranty won't be honored by the manufacturer due to negligence or lack of required preventative maintenance. By then, it’s too late.
Each manufacturer’s warranty is different and even the same manufacturer’s warranty can vary year to year, so it’s important to stay up-to-date especially as new vehicles are added to a company’s fleet. What may have been covered previously may either no longer be covered or required intervals for preventative maintenance may have changed.
Often, the business finds out that the warranty won't be honored by the manufacturer due to negligence or lack of required preventative maintenance. By then, it’s too late.
If the vehicle’s warranty booklet is lost or misplaced, it may be possible to access the information on the manufacturer’s website. Most, if not all, manufacturers also have a toll free number that you can call to order an additional booklet. Although there may be a small charge for the booklet, it is a lot less expensive than not qualifying for warranty coverage on an expensive repair.
Working with a professional fleet management company that is familiar with every manufacturer’s warranty can help a business stay up-to-date with required maintenance schedules that comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations. In addition, because each and every receipt for work done on a vehicle may be documented and recorded by the fleet management company, if a dispute arises over warranty coverage, having a comprehensive detailed record makes a huge difference.
The most common warranties are bumper-to-bumper and powertrain. Bumper to bumper covers a majority of the vehicle’s components, including air conditioning, but not maintenance and wear-and-tear items such as brake pads, alignments and fluid replacement services; powertrain covers everything from the engine and transmission-transaxle-transfer case to front-wheel and rear-wheel drive assemblies.
In addition to other warranties that may cover emissions and safety components, sheet metal corrosion and rust-through, there may be provisions for roadside assistance, towing for mechanical breakdown, and transportation assistance if a vehicle is not operable and must be kept overnight for warranty repairs.
However, coverage can be denied if the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance is not completed or if there are other signs of neglect or abuse. For example, in addition to regular oil changes, it’s just as important to check the oil level in your vehicle’s engine on a regular basis Similarly, it’s important to understand that a vehicle with extended idle times requires oil changes at much shorter intervals than generally recommended.
The bottom line is that the quickest and easiest way for a business to avoid paying for unnecessary repairs or those that may already be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty is to be familiar with the warranty coverage for every vehicle in its fleet, require drivers to adhere to all recommended maintenance schedules, and document with receipts work done on every vehicle.
Hollis Allen is the manager of Enterprise Fleet Management’s National Service Department and works with Enterprise’s team of veteran mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians to serve the fleet maintenance needs of businesses with mid-size fleets. Enterprise has been recognized with the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) “Blue Seal of Excellence” award for 14 consecutive years, an industry record. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.