Get the manufacturer to pay for YOUR car problems

Nydia Han Image
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
VIDEO: Get the manufacturer to pay for YOUR car problems
Get the manufacturer to pay for YOUR car problems.

Nothing's more frustrating to a car owner than discovering peeling paint or a leaking sunroof on a car that isn't very old.

And having to pay for expensive, post-warranty repairs on your car can leave you feeling ripped off.

But Consumer Reports says you might be able to get your car fixed for free... if you know the secret.

Getting your car repainted can cost several thousand dollars. But if the paint cracks on some cars, the manufacturer may repaint it free - even if the car is out of warranty.

In fact, you can sometimes save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in repair bills by taking advantage of unadvertised service programs.

Margot Gilman of Consumer Reports explains, "Manufacturers often call these programs service actions or customer-satisfaction campaigns, but consumers think of them as 'secret' or 'hidden' warranties. And lots of cars have them."

For example, with 2006-2011 Honda Civics, if the paint is cracking, Honda has extended the paint warranty to seven years, with no mileage limit.

In the GMC Envoy and many 2005-2007 General Motors SUVs, a faulty sensor can mean the fuel gauge is inaccurate.

"If you know about the hidden warranty, GM will actually replace the sensor for free, or reimburse you if you've already paid for the repair," says Gillman.

Owners of 2008-2010 Chrysler minivans noticing premature wear on the front wheel bearings can get dealers to replace them for free during the first five years or 90,000 miles.

Gilman tells us, "You should get a letter from the manufacturer if it's making these offers, but if you bought your car used, that might not happen."

So how do you know if your fix should be free?

Reach out to a dealership with the year, make, and model and ask about potential service campaigns available to address your problem.