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Options available for owners if dealers close

Vehicle owners should not stress out about where they will get service and repair if their local new car dealership closes. More than 130,000 independent repair shops, conveniently located in most every community nationwide, employ professional automotive technicians and have access to the parts for all vehicles.

Independent repair shops account for more than 70 percent of vehicle service and repair, compared to 28 percent of non-warranty repairs by new car dealerships. In fact, even before the rash of dealership closings, the number of dealerships and their share of the service and repair market have gradually declined each year since 2000.

In April, Consumer Reports stated, "Legally, you can have maintenance performed by any mechanic without affecting your warranty. Just keep thorough records in case of a warranty claim. The only services that need to be performed at a dealership are warranty repairs, recalls or post-warranty work that you want the manufacturer to pay for."

The Car Care Council reported recently that "it's a myth that only new car dealers can service vehicles under warranty." Consumers are protected by a law -- the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act - that prohibits a vehicle manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was performed by a non-dealer.

Vehicle owners need to look no further than their own community to find a reputable repair shop to care for their vehicle and protect the warranty.

Kathleen Schmatz

President and CEO

Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association

Bethseda, Md