Q: Responsibility for damaged alternator

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Hi Tyler ! I own an X5 BMW 2012 and recently had a problem with the alternator. The mechanic told me that a pulley broke and the belt damaged the alternator. Now, I had a pre-winter inspection and I wasn't told to replace the belt. I have a prolonged warranty but they say they won't pay for the damaged alternator and I am left with a hefty bill. My question is who is responsible for the fees and how can I be protected against such events as a customer? Thanks


My car has 100000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi Dan. First off, without inspecting your vehicle or knowing all details about what occurred with the alternator and belt, it would be highly irresponsible of me or any other mechanical professional to assign blame or who is responsible in this case, so I can’t help here. The best way to reduce potential issues like you have described is to stick to the recommended maintenance service schedule that is created for every make and model of vehicle sold in the United States. Parts like a belt are designed to wear out over time. Unfortunately, too many mechanics or consumers themselves prescribe to the philosophy of "if it’s not broke or is showing symptoms of damage - don’t fix it", as opposed to replacing parts designed to wear out proactively through routine maintenance. The maintenance schedule is by no means a 100% guarantee that you won’t suffer mechanical failure; but it significantly reduces the chances. We have two very good tools available. The first is an online maintenance schedule; which will tell you what service should be completed based on mileage. We also have a Mobile App that can be downloaded that will send you notifications as when maintenance needs to be completed. Ultimately, the responsibility of repairs and maintenance falls on the consumer - so it’s best to have the right tools available to be proactive about maintenance.

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