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Tips on Buying Cars/warranty question re: oil changes


QUESTION: I have a new Nissan with a 3yr/36000 warranty. It's recommended to change the oil every 5000 or 6 mo., whichever comes first. I drive very little, so would normally not change it until every 8-10 months (especially since I use synthetic oil) and a mechanic said that would be fine. But someone told me if there is a problem with the vehicle and it can be related to the oil change interval, the dealer could very likely void the warranty. So even though it wouldn't need it, I'm debating whether to play it safe and do it every 6 months like the manual says and avoid a potential warranty dispute. On the other hand, it seems highly unlikely to develop a problem related to the oil change interval, I don't know what kinds of problems could actually be traced to that anyway. Your feedback is appreciated.


Thanks for the question ...alot of people have the same concerns about what they are obligated to do in order to not void their factory warranty and the answer is:

The only time I have ever seen a factory warranty voided was on a Chevrolet 2500 4x4 that had been given a 6" lift and had the complete undercarriage and suspension tweaked and the trucks service issues were all directly related to these modifications (that had been done poorly) Not changing the oil as suggested 9and it is just a suggestion) will NOT void the factory warranty no matter what anyone tells you. Not doing the scheduled maintenances will also NOT void your factory warranty no matter what anyone tells you.

Oftn times the service writer at the dealership will imply that this is the case in order to get the customer to bring their new car in for service ... that said its always a good idea to follow the manufacturers suggested services especially during the break in period of the car and to change the oil at regular intervals which for me is every 5k miles for standard motor oil and every 7500-10,000 miles for synthetic. After that point the heat will start to break down the oil and cause it to lose some of its effectiveness.

I hope this helps ...if not keep asking questions because I am with you on this until you are completely satisfied and can send back the survey you will get with all 10's and maximum bonus points

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It's a leased car, so I'm assuming the warranty issue I brought up would be the same? And I know you're not a mechanic, but do you agree with the miles being the determining factor for oil changes, and not time? I had synthetic oil put in, and it will take close to a year until I put on 7500 miles.  Thanks

ANSWER: Yes the answer is the same for a leased car and there won't be a penalty for not changing the oil as often as they would like at the end of your lease. Yes I agree that miles are the driving factor in determining when to change the oil ...up to a point obviously at some point (calendar wise) it would make sense to change it even if you haven't driven the minimum number of miles but I think that number is at least a year and probably more

Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Roger, I didn't see this before my first email and was just looking at my Nissan manuals. In the Warranty manual, under Maintenance, it says "As a condition of this warranty, you are responsible for properly using, maintaining and caring for your vehicle as outlined in your OWNER’S MANUAL and your NISSAN SERVICE & MAINTENANCE GUIDE, and maintaining copies of all maintenance records & receipts."

Since they state so clearly re: 'maintaining as outlined' in the maintenance guide... doesn't it sound like I would in fact have to follow their maintenance guidelines to be under warranty? And if there was an engine issue and I didn't follow it exactly (i.e., changing oil at 5k/6months whichever comes first) all the dealer would have to do is point to this and the warranty would be void? How would they not jump on that? Thanks

Sorry I just now saw this follow up .... I know what it says but the bottom line is that they have no way to know whether you have followed the maintenance's as outlined in the owners manual or not ...I've been a dealer for many many years and I have never once seen the factory even try to not honor the warranty for this reason ...and the reason why is because they have no idea whether you did the oil changes yourself? went to Oil Can Henry's or had your neighbor change your oil ...Hope that puts your mind at ease ...I am 100% certain  

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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. HERE IS THE LINK TO MY OTHER ALLEXPERTS CATEGORIES WHERE I HAVE ANSWERED LOTS OF QUESTIONS HERE IS A LINK TO MY BLOG


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Atheneum Partners, Expert 360, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

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