Will an oil change void your manufacturers warranty?

April 22, 2009
By: Robert Silverman

An interesting article today in AOL’s automotive section sparks a debate we have seen many times over the years: Will an oil change void your manufacturer’s warranty? A consumer starts to encounter problems with their engine. The car starts to sputter, the service engine soon light comes on, and then all of a sudden, the distressed driver finds himself stuck in the middle of a busy highway. He has his car towed to the dealer. After all, he is under manufacturers warranty and therefore there should be no issue with the car being fixed, right?

Wrong.  The dealer blames the problem on engine sludge and asks to see the driver’s oil change receipts confirming that they have cared for the car as outlined in the owner’s manual.  Fear starts to set in the driver’s face.  He doesn’t remember if and when he got his oil changed.  Perhaps, he went to a franchise, but when and how many miles were on the car?  Did he take it to his mechanic?  Did he change the oil himself?  Before he knows it, the consumer is socked with a repair bill in the thousands and there is nothing anyone can do about it, including us.  Why?  because the consumer did not keep proof that he fulfilled his responsibilities.

Now more than ever, as manufacturers continue to look at the bottom line, it is imperative that you keep records of all maintenance.  There is nothing wrong with going to Jiffy Lube or Grease Monkey but hold to those receipts; do not discard them with the egg mcmuffin wrapper from the sandwich you enjoyed in the waiting room. Those receipts outline the date and mileage of the service.  If you choose to change the oil yourself, you want to keep the store receipt and the proof of purchase, as well as keep a written log.

If you have proof that you have covered all of your responsibilities and the manufacturer still is not covering the repair under warranty, that is where we step in.  We have represented many organized drivers in these types of breach of warranty claims and manufacturers have no idea what hit them!

On lemonlaw.com, we have tons of resources available to drivers so they can learn about their rights.

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18 Responses to “Will an oil change void your manufacturers warranty?”

  1. #1 Lindsay Doering says:

    Hi there I live in Prince George British Columbia and my husband just bought a 2007 Ford in January 2010, which came with a warranty and he also purchased a $3,000 extended warranty.
    He took the truck into the Ford dealership when he starting hearing noises from the engine, they told him that the problem with the engine was from the filter and the WHOLE engine needed to be replaced. We have always gotten his oil changes for the vehicles at Great Canadian Oil Change, but because it isn’t a FORD filter BOTH of the warranties are now void and we are now stuck with a truck that doesn’t work and needs to have a brand new engine which we can’t afford.

    • #2 Art Collins says:

      I purchased a used car with a extended warranty. After 300mi I put the car in the shop for oil leak and water not staying in the surge tank.
      While in the shop the tech found sluge in the engine. Engine works find. My Question is can the extended warranty be voided even thought I had no engine oil changes therefore no records. Who can help me understand how I can protect myself from my warranty being voided Thanks Art

      • #3 LemonLaw says:

        It certainly can. You must address this with your selling dealer as soon as possible.

        • #4 Traci Crow says:

          I have a problem, My 2010 Nissan Sentra engine went out, nissan repaired vehicle under warranty but they are saying they will only pay for rental for 5 days and say i have to pay $560.00 for rental before I can pick up my car. What can i do about this?

          • #5 darlene ozeri says:

            I have a 2010 infinity G37and the engine went. the manufacturer is saying sludge, and I have receipts for all maintenance, but he will not cover under the warranty. what should I do, he claims that I should have had all maintenance from Dealer

            • #6 Robert carney says:

              I own a 2012 ford F150. The transmission cover has fallen down 2 times .I tightened it back in place. This time it fell off. I took my truck to Morrow motors,where I purchased the truck. They said I voided my warranty by having my oil changed at another service center.And they would not pay for the replacement part.Even tho they admitted they have had them fall off even after they remove them to change the oil then replace them. Every time I take my truck to this dealer they find some reson not to cover the cost,wan’t me to pay,I paid 32,000 for this truck and take very good care of it just waiting for the next thing to happen to it so they can say no again.

              • #7 William says:

                My Mother purchased a 2012 chevy cruze, she was told she must get her oil changed at the dealer where she purchased the car or her powertrain warranty would be voided. Is this correct and legal. This was told to her by the dealer were she purchased the car.

                • #8 Reggae says:

                  I have a new 2015 Kia Optima on a lease. I was out of the country and my older brother was using my car. He did not get an oil change for 9,000 miles and the engine blew due to oil sludge when I was driving it. The oil light never came on and they’re asking 6,500 to replace the whole engine. What should I do?

                  • #9 Tony says:

                    I have a 2012 BMW 528i and do the oil changes and brakes myself. About a month ago my engine seized and I was told the oil broke down. Because I did not have the oil changed at the dealership I was told they wouldn’t cover the repair even though I still have a warranty. Customer relations told me if I have receipts for the oil change supplies they would review them. I went to Pep boys and they were able to pull up the transaction but BMW still denied the claim. very disappointing and Im still fighting it. This is a very expensive problem!!!!

                    • State: De
                  • #10 Whitney Johnson says:

                    Mieneke put the wrong oil in my car, does that void my warranty? I keep up with the maintenance and have proof otherwise. I own my vehicle and have 100k mile warranty on engine problems.

                    • State: GA
                  • #11 Justin says:

                    Look up the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act they can not require you to use there oil or their facility and if they do they have to provide if free of charge!!! They can void the warranty if you don’t have receipts for the oil!!!

                    • State: fl
                  • #12 LemonLaw says:

                    @Justin–That’s right. You do not have to have the service at the dealer but you MUST keep all records.

                    • #13 Jason says:

                      I bought a 11 Audi Q5 2 years ago. Did all recommend maintenance, Audi had an oil consumption recall which I did. Audi covered engine rebuild, I then paid for a timing chain and when finished, I figured this engine is bulletproof. Well at 7k miles took to grease monkey for oil change, then 1000 miles later, 1 month, the engine totally had catastrophic failure. Audi dealer that did rebuild found one cylinder no compression and others low. They claim they do not want to cover because of no other reason other than oil change.

                      • State: Colorado
                    • #14 Mario Gallegos says:

                      In 2013 when my wife has just given birth to our second child my Jeep began stalling. It had 32 k miles and over a year left on manufacturers Warranty. I took it to the dealer. They kept it a few days and said nothing was wrong. I went to pick it up. I explained it was stalling. They said they drove it around and tested it out but could find nothing wrong with the vehicle. I went in and explained something must have caused it to stall. They said they could test it again if I’d Like, but assured do me it was driving great, it only had 33k miles. They kept it a few more days. Then they called and told me they told me the engine was blown. What?! It was just driving fine and they needed all the oil change records. I provided them with 3, but since I usually have oil changes done at a local shop at the s gas station I didn’t keep the records. Unfortunately when I went back to the mechanic shop the newish( 6 months) mechanic explained to me that he started a new shop that he runs out of the gas station, he had no records of the previous owners.
                      So since I couldn’t provide 4 (I did 3) I was told it was my fault and voided the warranty. I’d have to pay$8700 for an new engine. BUT the engine wasn’t blown when I took it in. They blew it testing it over that week they had it. Shouldn’t they be liable?

                      • State: Ca
                    • #15 Phil says:

                      There is no way to tell if the engine failed before or during. What you can do is call corporate and escalate to a case manager and tell them about your case. Most of the time they can get the dealership to get cover it since it’s low miles. Good luck to you.

                      • State: Ca
                    • #16 robert J pearce says:

                      We purchased a 2014 Kia Soul/2.0 ltr. from Fletcher Auto Group in Joplin, Missouri.(Misery). We paid $10,000 for the car and put 20,000 on the car in 24 months. It had 8,6000 miles. One day driving the car the motor overheated and the lifters and connecting rods were making a loud clanging sound, the engine oil light went on, and the car stalled. All of the maintenance records were kept up within 7500 miles each, except 2 oil changes at 8300 miles. Would this nullify the warranty from Kia manufacturer? So far we have been denied service for an engine diagnosis by two Kia Dealers?!!!!!

                      • State: ok
                    • #17 Richard Orona says:

                      I have the MOPAR extended Service plan with unlimited mileage and $100 per visit deductible. I have kept the vehicle maintained and records of such. Recently our home was broke into and burglarized and vandalized. We made a police report and filed claim with insurance. Then my vehicle blows the motor with 378000 miles on it and they want oil change records. I have some but some were either stolen or destroyed in the home burglary. What can I do?

                      • State: MO
                    • #18 LemonLaw says:

                      @Richard: Have you been upfront with FCA about the situation? Also, check back with the places that maintained the vehicle to see if they have records.

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