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August 31, 2020

Chrysler’s Lifetime Warranty Leaves Many With High Repair Bills

Filed under: Autos,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

As Consumer World celebrates is 25th anniversary this week, we look back to 2007 when Mouse Print* published a story about a just-announced “lifetime powertrain warranty” that Chrysler was offering on its vehicles. The gist of the story was that while this warranty sounded great in their advertising, neither the local dealers checked, nor Chrysler’s website, nor their customer service department could provide us with any details about what exactly was covered. We wanted to check the fine print but could not until finally their PR department was able to provide a copy of the warranty. We then reported on a provision that could easily trip-up buyers.

Chrysler see dealer

As it turns out, over the years, scores of purchasers who brought their cars back for free repairs under the lifetime warranty were denied coverage because of that very clause we warned people about.

*MOUSE PRINT:

They failed to follow a tiny provision that was tucked into their warranty and required owners to have their car’s power train inspected by Chrysler within 60 days of each five-year anniversary of their car.

G. Inspections
In order to maintain the Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty, the person or entity covered by this Powertrain Limited Warranty must have a powertrain inspection performed by an authorized Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep dealer once every 5 years. This inspection will be performed at no charge. The inspection must be made within sixty (60) days of each 5 year anniversary of the in-service date of the vehicle. You must have the inspection performed to continue this coverage.

In May 2020, more than two dozen Chrysler owners around the country filed suit against the company after being told that their warranty was void because they didn’t comply with the inspection requirement. Thus, they had to pay out of pocket for all needed repairs. Their lawyers argued that most of these car buyers had no idea that this was even a requirement, saying they never got the full language of the warranty, just as we had trouble obtaining it.

Chrysler petitioned the court to dismiss the case arguing that purchasers did not follow the requirements of the warranty to have their cars inspected every five years in order to keep the lifetime warranty in effect and therefore were not entitled to free repairs. The company also claimed that details of the warranty including the inspection requirement were contained in a press release and various news stories published at the time. (Note to Chrysler: consumers are not required to read press releases and news stories.) They also claimed that purchasers, depending on when and what model year car they purchased, received warranty information in various written documents at various times.

It may take years before there is a final decision in this case. In the meantime, if you bought a 2006-2009 Chrysler vehicle when the lifetime warranty offer was in effect but were subsequently told your warranty was void and you would therefore have to pay for repairs to the power train, save your receipts. The consumer lawyers in this case are trying to have those lifetime warranties reinstated and to collect damages for those who were improperly charged.

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4 Comments

  1. I owned a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 that came with the power train lifetime warranty. When I received my vehicle I knew there had to be a catch to that type of warranty and read the information provided and did find that 5 year inspection clause. I owned the truck for a little over ten years and accumulated more than 250,000 miles. I followed the guidelines and during that inspection they did find a serious problem and fixed at no charge. The moral of the story here is if it sounds too good to be true, research it and find out what is required. The five year inspection clause was not in any fine print, it was evident if you read the paperwork provided.

    Comment by Kenneth Jackson — August 31, 2020 @ 10:30 am
  2. Well I hope Chrysler tells you of this every 5 years since they say the service is free.

    Edgar replies: I think Chrysler was counting on customers either not reading the original warranty, or forgetting about the inspection requirement. I have seen nothing in the lawsuit to suggest that they sent courtesy reminders to car owners every five years.

    Comment by richard Ginn — August 31, 2020 @ 5:01 pm
  3. Richard, Chrysler does not tell you this.

    I owned a 2009 Patriot with the lifetime warranty. When I scheduled the 5 year inspection with a dealer, they didn’t know what I was doing. I had to explain it to them. I sold the vehicle a couple of years ago as the CVT (transmission) would overheat after less than 2 hours on the highway. Chrysler said this was normal so they wouldn’t repair/replace anything. I did pay for a fluid change and probably about 200-300 in CVT cooler repair, so I doubt I would qualify for anything (which didn’t solve anything). But I doubt Chrysler would call and remind me of the 10 year inspection.

    Comment by Ray Patterson — September 1, 2020 @ 11:49 am
  4. I get a postcard from Chrysler every 5 years reminding me

    Comment by Sam — September 1, 2020 @ 8:33 pm

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