|The unauthorised repair
: My nine-month-old Toyota Camry was recently
involved in a minor accident that resulted in a small
dent to the front left passenger door. I am reluctant
for the vehicle to be repaired at an authorised
Toyota workshop since the price quoted is more
than double that of an independent spray-painting
shop. Would my vehicle warranty be invalidated if a
non-authorised repairer carry out the repairs to the
Answer : Vehicle manufacturers are extremely "sticky"
about who repairs their vehicles that are under
warranty and they have good reason to do so. For
example, most modern vehicles incorporate
numerous electronically controlled items e.g. air-conditioning, braking, engine control and fuelling
Specialised tools are required to diagnose and
repair these electronics that can easily be irreversibly damaged if incorrect repair techniques
are applied. Frequently, there is great expense
involved in buying replacement items.
Authorised workshops have an obligation to restore your vehicle to showroom
condition wherever possible.
As such, one can expect repairs to be of higher quality, and a larger repair bill as a result. In
your case, I suspect that while the authorised
workshop may replace the entire door, the unauthorised spray shop may merely carry out a fill
and paint job; the latter is cheaper since there are
no replacement components and less time is
taken to complete the restoration task.
You will, of course, have to check beforehand
with the authorised Toyota workshop how this affects your new vehicle warranty. Of course,
Toyota may not be entirely happy with repairs
done outside, but then again, they can always
refuse further warranty cover for that one particular door if for instance, it rusts in future.