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Four tips for avoiding California auto warranty disputes

California consumers cannot avoid all disputes when auto defects or malfunctions occur, however, there are things they can do to avoid warranty issues.

Sometimes, people purchase automobiles that do not perform as they should due to malfunctions or defects. When these vehicles are covered under warranty, the consumers may be legally entitled to a repair, replacement or refund at the warrantors' expense. However, some warrantors may attempt to breach warranties, sidestepping their obligations. While Californians cannot prevent all such disputes, there are things they can do to help avoid having auto warranty issues.

Get familiar with the warranty

It is not uncommon for people to file their vehicle warranties away without ever reading them. However, these important documents provide specific details regarding their coverage. Thus, it is advisable for consumers to familiarize themselves with their product warranties so they know what is covered and what is not. This may help ensure they seek and obtain the coverage they are entitled to and that they have any problems checked out before the warranty period expires.

Perform regular maintenance

In the owner's manuals for most vehicles, manufacturers typically provide a recommended service schedule. This advises consumers when their vehicles should receive oil changes, tire rotations and other inspections. Although they do not have to have the work done at the dealership, people must complete this type of regular maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer's schedule in order to keep their warranties intact. It may be helpful for consumers to create a file to keep their service records and receipts for all the maintenance and repairs they have performed on their vehicles.

Consider the consequences of modifications

Making aftermarket modifications may seem like a good way for people to personalize their vehicles or tailor them to suit their needs and tastes. Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, using such parts alone cannot nullify a warranty. However, if those parts cause damage to original parts as a result of defects or improper installation, the repairs may not be covered. Consumers may take this into consideration before making any adjustments so they do not unintentionally void their warranties.

Avoid causing further damage

Like people who are sick, automobiles may exhibit signs that a part is failing before there is full failure. If motorists continue to drive their vehicles despite such signs, it may cause worsened or additional damage. This may be viewed as negligence on the part of the consumer and, as such, the warranties may be voided and the auto repairs not covered.

Working with a legal representative

When Californians are affected by auto defects or malfunctions, the consequences may be inconvenient, costly and potentially serious. Although the damages resulting from such issues may be covered by their vehicles' warranties, obtaining the repairs or replacements is not always a straightforward process. Therefore, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from consulting with a lawyer. An attorney may help them understand their rights and options, as well as determine how best to proceed given their circumstances.

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