I receive many questions about Powersports warranties and what they cover. While I cannot cover all of the details in one Blog entry, here is how the process works.
The key determination when it comes down to whether or not a repair is covered under an in effect warranty is the determination of whether or not the failure is due to a “manufacturer defect”.
Here are some examples I have seen over the last 20 years to help you see the difference. In all cases I am referring to the factory warranty period.
- ECM (the brain) on a motorcycle fails and the vehicle will not start
- Bad ground in the wiring harness caused the ECM to fail – is warranty
- Customer jumped vehicle with an automobile which overloaded the charging system – not warranty
- ATV will not start because the battery will not hold a charge
- Regulator / rectifier failed which damaged the battery – is warranty (regulator / rectifier covered at full amount and battery may or may not be covered based on the age of the vehicle)
- Customer let ATV sit up for 8 months without maintaining the battery – not warranty (battery failed due to sulfation from not being maintained)
- PWC runs rough and won’t achieve full speed
- Exhaust hose came loose filling hull with exhaust fumes – is warranty
- Customer flipped unit over and got water in the fuel system – not warranty
- Customer operated vehicle in shallow water and rocks damaged the impeller – not warranty
- Utility vehicle is making driveline noise
- CV joint not properly greased from the factory – is warranty
- Customer led mud dry on the CV boot. The next time the UTV was operated the mud caused the boot to tear and the CV was damaged – not warranty
In most dealerships, when a customer comes in the Service Writer will write up a Repair Order on the vehicle listing the customer’s complaints and then dispatch that work to a technician. A warranty determination can often be made once a tech determines what the cause of the problem is.
If a warranty determination is not easy to make then the dealership staff will contact the OEM and explain the situation to the technical staff. In most cases, the OEM will ask us to send them diagnostic files and pictures of the failure. In some instances the OEM will also want pictures of the entire vehicle (not just the failed part) in order to see how it has been maintained. They may also ask for maintenance records in cases where the failure may have been prevented by routine maintenance.
Once the OEM has reviewed the information we have sent them, they will make a determination of whether or not to cover the repair under warranty. At this point they will come back to the dealership and either grant approval for a warranty repair, or deny any coverage based on the determination of the failure not being due to a manufacturer defect (or in some cases ask for additional information).
In a later article, I will cover your options for what to do if you feel the OEM has made an incorrect determination.