Warranty not honored due to "outside" body shop repair almost a year ago



As the title says, my dealer refused to honor the new car warranty on my 2005 model car for what I believe should be a warranty repair. Almost a year ago, in July 2006 I had a reliable neighborhood body shop repair damage from an accident, replacing the grill and front bumper, caused by a low-speed collision in which the car was sideswiped by a driver who ran a stop sign. The car was fine until about a month ago when the radio suddenly went completely dead. The dealership charged me about $400 labor (3.5 hours) to repair a wire they claim was damaged either by the accident or the body shop. But that would be almost a year before the electrical failure! I contacted the manufacturer whose customer service agent after speaking to the dealership service manager also took the position that they would not honor the new car warranty for this repair due to the “outside” body shop work.

Does anyone have a similar experience with failure to honor a new car warranty? Did you take any further action, legal or otherwise, and was it successful?



I would forward the bill and explanation to the insurance company who paid for the body work. Legalities aside, they should adjudicate the claim that the wire and repair in question had resulted from the accident.

If they deny the claim, then consider warranty/legal remedies.


I believe warranties cover defects in workmanship and/or materials, not damage from a crash. They can’t prove the wire was damaged by the crash, but you can’t prove it wasn’t, so I’d say you’re stuck with the repair bill.


I believe warranties cover defects in workmanship and/or materials, not damage from a crash. They can’t prove the wire was damaged by the crash, but you can’t prove it wasn’t, so I’d say you’re stuck with the repair bill.

I have to disagree with this. It’s NOT up to the OP to PROVE the wire wasn’t broken by the accident or the body repair…The dealer will have to prove that it was.

I have a very hard time believing a wire anywhere near the front of the vehicle can cause a problem with the radio…I could easily be wrong here…

TO OP…Have them show you the wire that they say was broken.


I think a careful reading of the warranty is in order.

The dealer will, of course, use every excuse to avoid repairing the radio wiring under warranty. Body damage gives them an excuse to exploit. They know full well that the lawyer fees will exceed the repair bill, and few customers will pursue such a claim that far. At least that’s what they are banking on.

I don’t think it’s possible for either side to “prove” anything in this case.


While I don’t know the cause of the problem, it certainly is possible that the accident and or repair effort was the cause a year or two later of an electrical problem.

The question of who must provide what proof is up the the lawyers, who will collect their fees.


Normally the radio power lead and memory wiring are taken from inside the dash and an accident would not affect this at all.

The only way I could see it would be if the car has an underhood fuse/relay box (type of car?) and the radio wiring was routed along the front end.
If this wire harness was damaged or inadvertently left loose in some spot it could move around and chafe over time. It could then be possible that the radio lead just happened to be the one that got rubbed bare.

That’s being very theoretical though and there is no way of telling from my vantage point.
Maybe the ins. co. will go back in and cover it, but they will probably want a real good explanation from the dealer on the repair; and the dealer should not have a problem giving it to them if this is on the up and up.
Offhand, it sounds kind of pricy for something like this unless they had to diassemble a lot of stuff to access the wiring.


If you don’t mind spending the time, contact your insurance company and explain the situation. Have the radio repair information handy. Did you get a written estimate? If not, that’s trouble for you. After talking to your insurance company (you should only have to deal with them), you might contact the dealer. Take your cue here from your insurer. If they say they will call the dealer, contact the insurer after a few days to make the call. If not, contact the dealer and demand to know the information about harness routing that others have mentioned and how it could have been damaged by sonething entirely in front of the engine. Every time they have to deal with you, it costs them money. Think of it as getting something back. Maybe it might work.