Auto warranty expired? GM still might fix it for free

Auto technician looking at engine

If you own a General Motors vehicle that you are having a problem with but it's out of warranty, you might still be able to get GM to pick up all or part of the repair cost.

The automotive trade magazine Automotive News recently reported that GM is loosening the purse strings in its franchised dealers' service departments in an effort to strengthen owner retention.

Apparently there has been a factory program in place for some time empowering service managers at GM dealerships to fix out-of-warranty items for loyal customers on GM's dime, but service managers have been reluctant to take advantage.

In what Automotive News referred to as a seismic shift, it reports that GM is now more willing to cover out-of-warranty repairs.

In the two examples cited in the article, a New Jersey Cadillac dealer used the program to replace corroding wheels on a 2003 DeVille DTS to the tune of $3,500, and a Texas Chevy dealer replaced the rusting door hinges on a 2001 Silverado pickup with 317,000 miles on it.

GM picked up the tab for both.

The question is, which GM owners might qualify?

For anyone with a GM vehicle hoping for similar treatment, I suspect the two key words in GM's mandate are "loyal customers."

Obviously, deciding exactly who is a loyal customer -- or has the potential to be one -- is subjective and left to the discretion of dealership personnel. Ultimately, the service manager makes the call.

I would think you could make a case if you were a repeat buyer of GM vehicles, particularly a repeat buyer at the same dealership.

Additionally, if you return to a GM dealership service center for your scheduled maintenance and repair work, you would establish yourself as a repeat customer.

Although there are no guarantees, the prospect of getting GM to pick up some or all of the cost of a major repair might be worth spending a little more to have your GM product serviced at a dealership.

However, even if you haven't established yourself as a repeat customer and have a major out-of-warranty repair, it's worth the trouble to try to convince the service manager to have GM pick up the cost.

GM wants to retain you as a customer and seems willing to spend some money to do it.

You can follow Interest.com on Twitter and Facebook.