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Lifetime warranties require inspections

Owners of cars with Chrysler’s lifetime powertrain warranty may not be covered if they fail to get their car inspected at regular five-year intervals, in accordance with the plan’s original terms.

To make it easier on customers, inspections can take place within 60 days before or after the in-service anniversary date (every five years), and are done at Chrysler’s and the dealer’s expense.

reminderThe inspections were required from the start on cars with lifetime warranties (sold from July 25, 2007 on, ending for some cars early in the 2010 model year, earlier for other cars). These warranties only apply to the first registered owner or lease-holder, even if the car is passed to another family member or employee.

There is some latitude as to when the inspections can take place — 60 days before or after the in-service anniversaries every five year — and Chrysler reminds customers, assuming their postal address is still correct.

In essence, the dealer has to have a qualified tech put the car onto a lift, check all powertrain components for leaks or damage and note any problems, drop it down and check the oil, then scan for computer fault codes. Just twelve minutes are allotted for this entire process, which seems rather short considering the time spent getting the car from the lot into the bay, inspecting it, and returning it, along with associated paperwork. Dealers cannot claim warranty payments for cars inspected out of the date window.

The lifetime warranty can be voided for certain modifications, misuse, or lack of maintenance. If any problems are found, they must be fixed or the warranty will be voided. If maintenance has not been completed, the vehicle does not fail unless a powertrain component has been damaged by the lack of maintenance.

Customers can ask for a five-year powertrain inspection worksheet, which will show either what has passed or what has failed. This is available from the DealerConnect system (if the advisor does not know about5 it, they should go to Service > Vehicle Information Plus > LPLW 5-Year Powertrain Inspection Worksheet to get a copy.) Using the worksheet is not mandatory, but customers can request it.

Oil leaks are acceptable in the case of wet gaskets or seepage, but not if oil is “actually dripping.” EGR valves are not covered unless they failed because of a larger powertrain issue.

In one interesting note, if there is a failure due to customer issues (for example, a quick oil change shop “holes” the oil filter or doesn’t put the drain plug back on properly, resulting in running without oil) which destroys the engine or transmission, the dealership can replace the engine or transmission using original Mopar parts — including a remanufactured unit — without voiding the warranty. The repair itself must be done at the customer’s expense, though.

Thus, on the positive side, Chrysler has fairly relaxed terms regarding timing of the inspections, pays for them, and allows customer or third-party abuse to be rectified without losing warranty coverage; and has fairly simple, fast, and reasonable inspections. On the down-side, lack of inspection or transfer of title void the warranty, and any problems found must be fixed by the dealership using Mopar parts.  Presumably, third party repairs between inspections are acceptable, but only if Mopar parts are used.

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