By Jordan W. Charness; photo courtesy

While Peter sometimes does get himself into interesting bits of car troubles with the law, it’s usually of the driving infraction type. When it comes to taking care of his cars, Peter is usually very good about it. He understands that the simple act of owning a car can actually be complicated.

Along with being the owner of a car comes a lot of responsibility. It is the owner’s obligation to make sure that the vehicle is safe and fit for driving. He or she must make sure the car is properly registered and is sporting the correct tires for the season and is properly maintained. In addition to just general maintenance, the car also has to be in a proper and safe state of repair.

That’s one of the reasons Peter likes to drive newer vehicles. Although cars these days last much longer than they used to, they all break down eventually. New cars all come with warranties that will pay for the repair of all or most of the vehicle’s components for a certain period of time. Different car companies offer different types of warranties that vary as to what they cover and how long the warranty will be good for. They are usually based on a formula that will have a car fixed according to the warranty for a certain number of kilometres or a certain period of time, whichever comes first.

Peter’s favorite car was just coming to the end of its warranty. He was covered for five years or 100,000 km, whichever came first. Although it had only been four years, he was at 99,495 km when the check engine light came on. At kilometre number 99,550, Peter took the car into the dealer to have the cause verified.

After running the car through a diagnostic check, the dealer told Peter that there was nothing wrong with his car and that the yellow check engine light had come on in error. They reset the light and sent him on his way. He immediately took the car on a road trip to a city about 300 km away. He was only gone for two days and on the way home he noticed that check engine light had come on again.

The next day he took the car to the dealer to have it checked out once more. This time the dealer found that there was a major problem with the engine. That’s where the fun began.

The dealer also told Peter that the car was now registering 100,115 km and was therefore over the 100,000-km limit covered by warranty. The estimate for the new repair was around $2,500!

Peter loudly complained that he had just had the car checked out a few days previously and was told that the yellow warning light had come on in error. Peter insisted that it was the same problem that should be covered under the warranty since he brought it to the dealer just a few days and 600 km previously.

The dealership was of the opinion that it could’ve been a brand new problem that had nothing to do with the yellow warning light of three days ago. They refused to pay for it.

Legally and technically the warranty had expired at 100,000 kilometres, but there was a definite legal argument that could’ve been made to say that the initial diagnosis saying that yellow warning light had come on in error was wrong and that this repair should be covered under the same occurrence. After all, there was no reason for the check engine light to come on in error.

It took several calls to district managers and the car company before the whole thing got sorted out. The manufacturer agreed to honour the warranty, not because it was only 115 km over the warranty maximum, but rather because of the incident that occurred three days earlier.

Connect with