Reader question: I own a Kia hybrid which I bought new from a dealer in Bordeaux three years ago. The car has a seven-year warranty, provided it is serviced as per the schedule. The dealer is 50km away, and it can take two hours to get there. The service then takes two hours, making for a wasted day.
Is it legal to have your car serviced by any dealer without endangering the manufacturer’s warranty? There is a Renault dealer in my town, where we have my wife’s Zoe serviced – can I have my Kia serviced there?
It is no longer necessary to have your car serviced (called a révision in French) by a workshop associated with the manufacturer.
This was obligatory if you wanted to maintain the warranty until 2002, but a European regulation passed that year gave drivers the right to have their car repaired and serviced at their chosen workshop, to increase competition and to allow drivers to find better value.
This is known as European Commission Regulation No. 1400/2002.
You can, therefore, have your Kia serviced at the Renault dealer without endangering the warranty.
You can also visit an independent garage, as these tend to be cheaper than dealers associated with manufacturers.
You only need to ensure the garage follows the manufacturer’s service schedule, eg. servicing the car on time and using parts that meet correct specifications (not necessarily supplied by Kia).
If there is a problem down the line, the manufacturer has the right to ask for proof that its guidelines were followed.