So you’ve got a new Audi – but the dealer won’t fix car under warranty. What can be done?
If a dealer says your car under warranty cannot be fixed, they might be lying. Of course, there are some honest dealers and some repairs that genuinely can’t be done. But if you suspect that your car can and should be fixed by the dealer, you need to find out what to do next.
In this guide, we’ll cover what to do when the dealer refuses to fix an Audi that’s still under warranty, and why this happens. Keep reading to find out how to get your Audi running like new!
Why the Dealer Won’t Fix Car Under Warranty
Most of the time, getting a repair done on a car under warranty should be straightforward. You have an issue and head to the dealer. After you tell them what’s wrong, they’ll fix it, it’s covered by the warranty, and you’re soon back on the road.
However, sometimes the dealer refuses to fix car under warranty. This can have you asking all sorts of questions: is my car under warranty? How long can a dealership hold your car for repair?
Sometimes, this happens because the repair is hard to diagnose. Other times, the dealer is simply refusing to do the needed fix. Why does this happen? Basically, every dealer is independent, and there’s a lot of variety in what you get from each one. Dealers are independent businesses, even though they may be affiliated with a certain manufacturer.
When an auto manufacturer talks about their customers, they don’t really mean the person driving the car off the lot. The auto dealers are really the customers who buy the product. And those dealerships are almost always franchises that are independently owned. This complicates the warranty situation a bit.
How Auto Warranties Work
With warranties, the auto manufacturer reimburses the dealer for any repairs done to a vehicle under warranty. This can create problems.
Manufacturers usually set a particular amount of labor time for each kind of repair. Once this labor time is exceeded, the manufacturer won’t reimburse any more of the repair time.
However, the manufacturers often don’t allow enough time for repairs in this maximum allotted time. The dealers have to cut their repair time short, while still getting the part replaced or whatever else is needed. This puts a lot of pressure on the dealers, without much flexibility when it comes to repairs.
It can also be hard for a dealer to get reimbursed for issues that arise after a repair’s already been done. If the problem’s been fixed once, the manufacturer likely won’t reimburse it again.
When Warranties Don’t Work For You
Manufacturers keep records of the warranty claims at each dealership. If a certain kind of repair comes up a lot, they might start to place new restrictions on reimbursement for that repair. These restrictions are supposed to deter dealers from using reimbursements to pad their profits, and mechanics who lack the training to effectively diagnose problems.
However, these restrictions can often harm you, the Audi owner, most. For example, if one car part starts becoming an issue in that particular model, the frequency of the repair goes up. The manufacturer will flag dealers for addressing the same problem repeatedly, even if the design of the car itself is the issue.
This can make dealers reluctant to fix the issue because it’s harder for them to get paid for the repairs.
However, if a something was recalled, the same problem doesn’t apply. Repairs for recalls aren’t flagged by the manufacturer. In fact, dealers are under obligation to perform recalls that apply to your car, even if you didn’t buy it from them. But if the recall affected lots of vehicles and requires a new part, you will likely have to wait for the company to make enough parts.
What to Do When the Dealer Won’t Fix Your Audi
“The dealer can’t fix my car – so what should I do?” The good news is that you have options when the dealer won’t fix car under warranty.
You actually don’t have to get your repairs done at the same dealership where you bought your Audi. It’s usually a good plan to visit a dealer twice, and if they still can’t find and fix the problem, to go to another dealer.
It may be tempting to call the manufacturer when the dealer can’t fix the problem – or just won’t do it. However, this rarely helps. Most manufacturers have outsourced their call centers, and you may never reach someone with enough authority to help you.
Instead, try getting in touch with the district service rep. This representative works between the manufacturer and the dealership (they’re employed by the manufacturer). They have the authority to approve your repairs, and can sometimes even get repairs approved after the warranty expires.
However, getting in touch with this rep can prove difficult. Manufacturers tend to be reluctant to give out the contact info for their rep. You don’t need to meet with them in person, but try to get their name from your dealer, and contact them via phone.
If you’re taking your Audi in for a repair under warranty, make sure you get your own copy of the work order for your records. Even if the repair isn’t done, keeping these records is important.
The work order should show the car’s mileage, the date, the complaint description, anything the dealer did, and whether or not the problem was found. If you need to go to the manufacturer in the end, these records will support your case.
When the dealer won’t fix car under warranty, it can be annoying. However, you just need to take matters into your own hands to get the repairs you need. It can be done – even if you need to get a second opinion or go to another dealer. If you have your own tools, you can even fix your Audi yourself.
Of course, the more you know about your Audi, the easier it is to navigate this issue. Check out our Audi service repair manuals here to start learning.