Originally Posted by snikt
Don't you have more chance of the dealer giving you crap though if you do the work somewhere else and then do need warranty work?
The "chance of the dealer giving you crap" always exists.
But, Chrysler cannot lawfully require you to go to the dealership for service to maintain warranty coverage unless they offer the service for free. This is obliquely reflected in your warranty manual--which "strongly recommends
" you go to the dealer for service, but never claims you are required
to do so.
This legal hurdle makes perfect sense, since if manufacturers could require you to use dealer service departments to keep up warranty coverage they'd charge ridiculous prices or set absurd maintenance schedules, which would then let them point to your failure to adhere as a way of getting out warranty coverage altogether. For example, "Sorry about your cracked header, but it looks like you missed your mandatory 1542 mile scheduled service, for which we would have charged $3500. We're shocked at your disregard for you new jeep's well being. As a result, we decline to honor the warranty as to your header."
Of course, your warranty only covers the vehicle as it left the factory and won't cover any damage caused by improper maintainance. So when you change your own diff fluid out for Mountain Dew--or go to a sketchy mechanic who does so--don't count on Chrysler to replace your ring and pinion.
This reveals the only upshot to going to the dealer for maintenance. It avoids the possibility of the dealer blaming poor maintenance for what would otherwise be a warranty issue, and, relatedly, it avoids record keeping problems associated with proving proper maintenance.
For example, let's say you show up at 25k miles with a seized engine and ask for warranty coverage. The dealer finds no oil in the engine. The dealer concludes you must have not been changing your oil regularly, and that you must have gone at least 10k miles since your last change. You disagree, saying you change your own oil in your driveway or have some local Auto Shop do it.
Well, can you prove you got the oil changed? Perhaps. You might have receipts from Autozone for the oil. Can you prove the local shop didn't put in the wrong grade? Perhaps. They could swear they did so or provide some of their records. But either way, those would be non-issues if the dealer's own system showed an oil change every 3k.
So the short answer is that if you have properly maintained your jeep, there should--under law--be no warranty coverage issues arising out of your maintenance regardless of who's been performing it. However, if
it has been being maintained by somebody other than the dealer, and
an issue arises that would be covered by warranty if
the jeep had been properly maintained, then
you may get some heat from the dealer if they want to deny warranty coverage on the basis of improper maintenance.
Thus, the solution (absent overpaying the dealer) is to use a trusted shop and keep good records. This is the most cost effective way to both maintain your jeep and make it as difficult as possible for a dealer to blame poor maintenance for matters that should be covered by warranty.