Special Report

The Service Advisor and Warranty


The Official Warranty Guide helps service advisors quickly identify OEM warranty coverage on all vehicles.

The service advisor plays a large role in the warranty process. They are the initiators of the warranty repair order and the customer’s first dealership contact. Service advisors must be familiar with warranty coverage. Access to a vehicle information system (i.e. GM IVH, VIP, OASIS) should be readily available to all advisors to confirm warranty coverage on a specific VIN including delivery date, warranty claim history, recall eligibility, branded title, and vehicle build information.

Determine Warranty Coverage

By ensuring warranty coverage is always confirmed on each vehicle that enters the service department, advisors may avoid rejects once the claim has been submitted to the factory. It is recommended that the advisor perform a vehicle information report on all vehicles that enter the service department. The few moments it takes to perform this report will cost much less than audit charge backs you may receive for making goodwill adjustments after the fact by applying an authorization code and resubmitting the claim.

Repair Order Write-up

Once warranty coverage has been determined, the service advisor may now write the repair order. They begin by making a line-by-line analysis of who is covering each repair. If the responsibility cannot be readily determined, the line should be coded as customer pay until further notice. If the technician determines the repair should be warranty, they notify service management, and the responsibility is changed. The same is true if the technician finds a warranty-coded repair that the customer should be responsible for.

The service advisor is to write a brief description of each customer concern. The advisor should listen to the customer’s description of the concern and ask leading questions to clearly define the problem:

  • What happens?
  • When does it happen?
  • Where does it happen?
  • How does it happen?

A diagnostic worksheet may be used to assist the service advisor in capturing a description of the customer concern. Technicians find these very helpful in completing repairs with more quality and efficiency. The worksheets are also helpful in reducing shop comebacks and in turn, aiding in customer loyalty.


Whenever a part has been ordered for a customer and the vehicle returns, the advisor must restate the customer concern when they write the repair order The proper way to write up a claim when a part was previously ordered should be as follows: “Vehicle was in on xx/xx/xxxx for a rough idle condition. Oxygen sensor was ordered by technician #7 on repair order number 142589. Special order part is in.” The repair order can now be distributed to the correct technician who will be familiar with the vehicle and able to research, if necessary, the previous repair order to check the initial diagnosis. By noting part order information on the repair order, the advisor is assisting not only the technician, but also the parts department with finding the customer special order part.


The GM, Chrysler, and Ford Authorization Warranty Stamps help service advisors remember to obtain all necessary information prior to transaction submission.

Next, the service advisor must obtain the customer signature, which authorizes the dealer to perform the requested service. If the customer drops the vehicle off as an early bird repair, attach the envelope to the repair order hard copy. If the customer leaves a list of concerns, attach that as well. The service manager is to sign and state the reason for service customers that you are unable to obtain a signature for. The customer may sign the invoice copy in the instance that their vehicle was towed in, dropped off or picked up.

Added Operations

The GM Added Operation Warranty Stamp helps service advisors remember to authorize the repair order for an added operation repair.

Any customer concern that is added on after initial repair order write up must be identified and entered on the repair order as an added operation. If service advisors are responsible for adding additional lines, they must be familiar with the factory add-on repair policy. All added operations should be verified and approved by a service management signature on the repair order prior to the work being performed and include the specific reason for the additional repair.

Courtesy Transportation

The GM Shuttle Stamp and GM Rental Stamp helps service advisors remember to collect all warranty revenue every time a shuttle or rental is provided.

Finally, the service advisor should be aware of courtesy transportation options. The two primary purposes of a rental vehicle given to a customer is for an overnight repair or if the vehicle is inoperative or unsafe to drive. The advisor may explain the rental policy and if needed, offer the customer shuttle service. The reason for courtesy transportation, the type provided, dates, times and driver information may be documented on the repair order. If the customer is not pleased with these options you may want to offer vehicle delivery.

Customers often see service advisors as the official representative of the dealership and the factory. A advisor that is properly educated in warranty procedures will be greatly beneficial to the dealership.

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