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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve noticed threads here on the forums about using lower octane gasoline, towing of or towing with the smart and roof racks. These are just some of the more common and more recent conversations here that I recall that seem to contradict the Owner’s Manual and the Warranty Guide. Now I know that there are smart center representatives on the forums as well. So I wonder why some people would not only make some of these choices but then be so open about it when it seems to do so might void their warranty?

On gasoline
To prevent damage to the catalytic converter, only use premium unleaded gasoline in this vehicle. Any noticeable irregularities in engine operation should be repaired promptly. Otherwise, excessive unburned fuel may reach the catalytic converter, causing it to overheat and potentially start a fire.
Owner’s Manual page 216.

Towing the smart
smart recommends that the vehicle be transported with all wheels off the ground using flatbed or appropriate wheel lift/dolly equipment.
Owner’s Manual page 278
With the engine not running, there is no power assistance for the brake and steering systems.
And
Towing the vehicle with a base carrier* mounted is not permissible. The vehicle must not be towed by the base carrier*.
Owner’s Manual page 279
{Though supposedly smart is working on a tow bar of some sort.}

Towing with the smart
The manufacturer has not approved your vehicle for towing a trailer. A trailer can permanently impair driving safety.
Owner’s manual page 163

Roof Racks
No racks or loads may be secured to the roof of the vehicle, as:
• The panorama roof* may be damaged, thus injuring persons.
• This can have a substantial adverse effect on the driving dynamics of the vehicle, thus causing accidents.
• The rack and/or the load could detach and through this cause an accident or other people could be injured by the load and/or rack that has fallen off.
Owner’s Manual page 301


Then from the Smart Warranty booklet:
3.3 Your warranties do not cover the costs of repairing damage caused by poor or improper maintenance. Nor do they cover damage caused by the use of contaminated fuels, or by the use of fuels, oils, lubricants, cleaners or fluids other than those recommended in your Operator’s Manual or scheduled Maintenance Guide.
And
Failure of original smart USA parts and equipment caused by the installation of non-smart USA parts or equipment.
page 8

3.5 Your warranties do not cover the costs of repairing damage or conditions caused by any of the following: (….)
• Misuses – for example, driving over curbs or overloading.
• Any changes made to your vehicle that do not comply with smart USA standards; or
• Using any fluid that does not meet the minimum recommendations in your Operator’s Manual or Scheduled Maintenance Guide.
page 9

Disclaimer: I am just curious. Maybe there are those who don’t care about the warranty. Maybe some understand the owner’s manual and warranty guide differently from what I comprehend. Or maybe there are those who think since they only use a screen name that someone at their particular smart center won’t connect the dots if they do have a problem in the future. Maybe some just didn’t read the information but are going on their own experiences. I can only guess.
 

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geeze, Angel - that's a lot of research on your part. What a great thread!

As a *vanilla* smartie, I'll be watching.

Suze
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From the sema link.
Federal law sets forth requirements for warranties and contains a number of provisions to prevent vehicle manufacturers, dealers and others from unjustly denying warranty coverage. With regard to aftermarket parts, the spirit of the law is that warranty coverage cannot be denied simply because such parts are present on the vehicle, or have been used (see Attachment A).The warranty coverage can be denied only if the aftermarket part caused the malfunction or damage for which warranty coverage is sought. Disputes in this area usually boil down to arguments over facts and technical opinions, rather than arguments over interpretations of the law.
Now lets say someone has been towing with their smart. Then they have issues with the transmission. I'm not mechanically inclined but I'm thinking that it could happen and be related. So the smart owner gets their smart towed to the local dealership. Local dealership recognizes smart owner from these or other forums. They know the car was used to tow. There's a tow thingy in the back to hook up a trailer. Seems to me that they could easily make the case that the warranty is void because damage was caused by towing. Modifications plus more weight that allowed could lead to some kind of problems if not transmission? Again, I'm not a mechanic nor do I claim to be one.

I can understand that if I add an after market stereo it wouldn't affect my transmission. Would be hard to void my claim for a transmission problem and say my warranty is void just because I have an after market stereo. Though if I had an electrical problem and it was because of the improper installation of an after market stereo then I can understand the warranty for that repair being denied.
 

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From the sema link.


Now lets say someone has been towing with their smart. Then they have issues with the transmission. I'm not mechanically inclined but I'm thinking that it could happen and be related. So the smart owner gets their smart towed to the local dealership. Local dealership recognizes smart owner from these or other forums. They know the car was used to tow. There's a tow thingy in the back to hook up a trailer. Seems to me that they could easily make the case that the warranty is void because damage was caused by towing. Modifications plus more weight that allowed could lead to some kind of problems if not transmission? Again, I'm not a mechanic nor do I claim to be one.

I can understand that if I add an after market stereo it wouldn't affect my transmission. Would be hard to void my claim for a transmission problem and say my warranty is void just because I have an after market stereo. Though if I had an electrical problem and it was because of the improper installation of an after market stereo then I can understand the warranty for that repair being denied.
As I understand it, in its simplest terms the Magnusson-Moss Act puts the burden on the service provider to establish a cause and effect relationship between the failed part one is seeking to have replaced under warranty, and the existence of an aftermarket component (or some owner neglect or misuse) that was the direct or proximate cause of the failure. There are exceptions where, for example, the factory specified components are being provided free of charge, but that isn't the case with our cars since there is no free service provided by Smart USA.

Using your towing example, if I tow a trailer with my Smart and my headlight burns our prematurely, there is little argument that the towing caused the failure and there can logically be no impact on my powertrain warranty. If on the other hand, the transmissions fails, and if that failure is consistent with putting an excessive load on the components, then the manufacturer has a basis for denying warranty coverage. If I tow, and my exhaust rusts prematurely, and the dealer seeks to wiggle out on the basis of the exhaust being part of the powertrain, it gets a little more murky.

In any event, it basically boils down to common sense - don't seek coverage for stuff that broke because of your own neglect or misuse. By the same token, dealers can't wholesale void your warranty just because you didn't leave your car 100% stock.

Of course, all of this hand wringing over warranty is a little ironic given that we have by far the shortest warranty in the U.S. I'd be a lot more concern if we had 100k warranties on these cars and they were expensive to repair. Instead, we have really cheap cars, with relatively cheap parts and really short warranties. Doesn't seem like that big of a concern to me.

** DavidV :D
 

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Angel

if a smart has a trailer hitch and has been used to tow any thing you are correct...a trany problem will most likely be deniged.... but if the customer concern is alarm mis behaving.... they must fix the alarm for free...

there are two types of folks who have a hitch and a trany problem... the honest ones will pay for the repair... the rest will remove the hitch and fraud all of us with a warranty claim.....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Of course, all of this hand wringing over warranty is a little ironic given that we have by far the shortest warranty in the U.S. I'd be a lot more concern if we had 100k warranties on these cars and they were expensive to repair. Instead, we have really cheap cars, with relatively cheap parts and really short warranties. Doesn't seem like that big of a concern to me.

** DavidV :D
That was part of what I had guessed when reading some of the threads. Some probably don't care if they void the warranty. So your reply in part confirms at least part of my hypothesis.
 

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angel - With respect to towing, smart is working on a re-write of the owners manual to include a provision for flat towing(posted here somewhere). They (smartUSA) have advised the motorhome community that their car is flat towable four down. This approval and proceedure is in the owners manual. (I'd quote it but the car and docs are at the dealer having work performed which was not covered under waranty due to third party installation of tow brackets) wouldn't you know!!
 

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and even if they do not rewrite the manual.... if done properly there is not much in the 2/24 warranty that flat towing can screw up...so it is moot IMO
 
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