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Do I have to service my leased car at the dealership?

When the time comes to service your vehicle, many lessees wonder, “Do I have to go to the dealership?”

Getting a brand-new car for a reasonable monthly payment and a full warranty might sound too good to be true—unless you choose to lease. But even if you choose this convenient route, you’re not off the hook for regular maintenance and service.

When the time comes to service your vehicle, many lessees wonder, “Do I have to go to the dealership?”

The short answer

No, you do not have to go to the dealer to keep your warranty intact. In fact, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits dealers from refusing to honor your warranty if someone else performs the repairs.

"In fact, it's illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else," says the Federal Trade Commission. "Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections."

Many dealerships will use scare tactics to try to get you to have service completed at the dealership, but you don't have to be cowed. Take your car to the certified and licensed shop of your choice and your warranty will be kept intact.

What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. The key is to make sure you maintain and service your vehicle at the required intervals.

Not having regular service and maintenance performed on a leased car not only means the warranty will be voided but could cause you to incur a substantial fee at the lease's end, cautions

If you were to drive 45,000 miles and never change the oil, you will void the warranty no matter where you get it serviced, says Jonathan Ortiz of Foreign Affairs Auto, a European vehicle specialty shop in West Palm Beach.

Why not go to the dealer for service?

With the lessee having the option to take the car to the service shop of their choice, the question becomes: Why not go to the dealer for service?

While the dealer is an expert on your make and model of vehicle, their prices can be a deal-breaker. Many independent shops can undercut dealer prices by a substantial amount.

Plus, many specialty shops (like Foreign Affairs Auto) require their technicians to carry the same factory certifications and training as the dealer technicians.

Why don't more people go elsewhere?

Usually, the lessee is not aware of the option or is afraid to go anywhere else. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to Foreign Affairs Auto today and let its knowledgeable technicians show you what great independent service looks like. Your wallet will thank you later.

Are you ready to receive better prices and better service on your car? Call Foreign Affairs today at 561-475-4145 or schedule an appointment online at

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