Let this be a lesson to all of you: If you’re going to buy a new vehicle with a warranty, make sure to follow it to a T. You should not only do this to keep your new purchase in tip top shape —you should do it because if you don’t, it could come back to bite you in the ass. Hard.
That’s exactly what happened to a 2018 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel owner in Ontario, Canada. He’s now stuck with a nearly-$15,000 repair bill because he didn’t follow the recommended oil change schedule.
According to CTV News, an electrician purchased the truck brand new a few years ago with a 62,000 miles (100,00 km) warranty. In November 2021, and with just about 56,500 miles (91,000 km) on the clock, the truck’s engine seized on the highway and left the owner stranded. Not a great situation by any means, but the owner felt a bit better because he knew his truck was still under warranty… or so he thought.
CTV reports the warranty claim had been denied because the owner “had not done the required oil changes at the appropriate times.”
“When I asked them why it was not covered under warranty, they mentioned at [31,000 miles] the oil switch came on and I didn’t get an oil change done right away,” the owner told CTV.
Right now, it isn’t clear just how much farther the owner drove after the oil light came on. We have reached out to him for more information, but at the time of publication of this article, he had not responded.
Things get even messier from there. The owner did have oil changes done by a third-party shop. According to the Ram’s owner, an employee told him that the truck could travel 15,000 miles between oil changes. The owner also said the truck didn’t come with a physical owner’s manual to double check; he was told everything he would need could be found on the truck’s onboard computer. But he never looked.
All that being said — and I know the owner is having a rough go of it — a bit of Googling pulls up the 2018 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel’s owners manual. Leaf over to page 54, and you’ll see some interesting things.
It reads, “Under no circumstances should oil change intervals exceed 10,000 miles (16,000 km) or 12 months, whichever comes first.”
It also tells owners to have the truck “serviced as soon as possible, within the next 500 miles (805km).” when the oil change indicator comes on.
It’s a costly mistake to make. The owner will now more than likely have to pay out of pocket about $15,000 ($19,000 CAD) for a new engine. However, that unfortunately isn’t going to happen for this truck.
“I don’t think I have the money to pay for something like that,” the owner told CTV. “Unfortunately, that vehicle will have to go to scrap, I can’t afford something like that.”
The TV station reached out to Stellantis, Ram’s parent company, and they backed up the dealer’s claims.
“Our authorized Ram dealers reported that said maintenance was not performed to these parameters. There is no hesitancy on our part to comply with the provisions of a warranty, as long as they apply to a factory defect. Damage or failures attributed to any other source are the owner’s responsibility.”
So what are the big takeaways here?
Well for starters, get your oil changed when you’re supposed to, and maybe double check what the guy behind the counter of your local oil-change garage tells you. It's probably better to err on the side of whatever your warranty says.