This is a mess you can avoid.  Our law firm sees dozens of cases wherein the consumer has a major engine problem (excess oil consumption/loss of compression/engine failure) and the automobile manufacturer denies warranty coverage. Why?

In your owner’s manual, it shows a maintenance schedule. It is also very specific of what grade/quality/specification motor oil that must be used. It doesn’t talk about the oil filter, but these too are specific to each engine type used. If the wrong specification oil filter is used, it can “bypass” and starve the engine of proper oil flow. Or, it can be too restrictive in it’s filtering medium to allow sufficient lubrication.

Consumers, in good faith and to watch their expenses, will go to “independent” shops or “fast lube” type places to get their oil & filter changed. What consumers don’t know, and I will try to explain here, is that your vehicle’s limited warranty and powertrain warranty is based upon you following the manufacturer’s required oil change products and oil specifications to the “T”. A new car franchised dealer does stock and use the correct oil and oil filter for your vehicle. An independent garage almost always uses aftermarket oil filters, as well as hopefully filling your engine’s crankcase with the correct specification oil – but how is the consumer to know? The automobile dealer can take an oil sample of your vehicle’s oil that was installed by an independent garage and send it out for analysis to see if its correct- or not. If it’s not the correct specification, they can deny your warranty repair. This can cost you thousands for repair, or possibly the replacement price of your vehicle’s complete engine.

You can easily and simply avoid this potential financial catastrophe by doing one easy thing – have your car dealership perform your oil and filter changes. The dealer is the agent of the manufacturer. You won’t have a problem with any engine warranty claim so long as you have dealer documentation of the services being performed at the required intervals. Equally important to having these oil & filter changes done is to have them done on time. If you do not have the vehicle’s engine oil, filter, air filter and other components relating to the engine serviced at the appropriate time-table set out in your Owner Manual, you can potentially be denied warranty repairs to the engine.

So, the rule of thumb is to have the dealer do the oil change services, and leave those worries behind…

If you own or lease a vehicle in California that has had repeated warranty repair visits to the dealer, you may qualify for a California lemon law claim/case. Our client representation is 100% free to consumers. We invite you to call us at 1-800-225-3666.


“Lemon Law Bytes” is Copyright 2/1/2019 The Law Offices of William R. McGee, APLC

Disclaimer: all Lemon Law Bytes articles are for informational purposes only. None of the content should be construed or assumed to be legal advice. If you desire legal advice on your 2013 or newer vehicle, please call us to speak with one of our attorneys.