If my car misses a service during the coronavirus lock-down will it invalidate my warranty?

A reader wants to know if the usual rules around servicing apply during the coronavirus pandemic...

Technician servicing a car

I currently have an Audi Q3 on a three-year personal contract purchase (PCP) plan. It is due for a service in mid-May when it reaches two years old. However, my local Audi garage has emailed me to say they are closing until further notice due to the coronovirus outbreak.

If I am unable to have my car serviced, will it invalidate my warranty if anything goes wrong with it in the final year?

Tina Heath

What Car? says...

In normal times, not getting your car serviced in line with the manufacturer's guidelines in terms of timing, using the right parts and having the specified work carried out, would result in your warranty being invalidated. However, in the current crisis situation, we believe the usual rules will need to be altered.

Audi Q3

We asked Audi if it will honour warranty claims that arise when car owners haven't been able to get the car serviced on time and got the following response: “Servicing a vehicle correctly is important, but if the service is late it will not invalidate the warranty automatically.” Audi has published further information on coronavirus in the FAQs at audi.co.uk/covid-19.

Although only car showrooms were required to close in March, many car dealerships also shut down until further notice to protect customers and staff. At the same time, many people in the most vulnerable groups (those over 70 years old, those under 70 with an underlying health condition and those who are pregnant) were told to self-isolate for 12 weeks, and those who have coronavirus symptoms need to stay at home for 14 days. 

All these things mean it won’t be possible for a large number of people to get their car serviced on time. If you are in lockdown for any of these reasons, you should contact your local Audi dealer, or email the Audi customer services department, to ask if there is another dealership that can service your car and provide a collection and delivery service so you don’t have to leave home.

Your local Audi dealer should also be able to tell you if the prescribed servicing work is deemed essential or not. If it is, they, or another dealership, should be able to help you get the work done. If it isn’t, they’ll let you know it’s okay for it to be done later. 

Many garages and service departments have either kept a skeleton staff available or stayed open to help key workers and emergency services employees keep their vehicles maintained. Let your dealer know if you’re a key worker and need to use your car and they should be able to help with getting it serviced. 

It’s also worth emailing Audi’s customer services department so there is written proof that you are trying to keep the car maintained in line with the official guidelines. This way, if the car does have a problem in the following year, they will be aware that you’ve done your best to get it serviced on time. 

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Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>

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