Q. Automative Batteries
Is it legal for car manufacturers to force you to buy their battery and pay their installation charge ($135.00)in order to not void the warranty on the electrical system? Why can't I go out and get my own battery for $200.00 dollars and instead have to pay BMW nearly $400.00 to replace a 4 year old battery? I feel this is taking advantage of the consumer. They should be required to provide registration of any battery I put in for free. I think this needs to be nipped in the bud. Next they'll be forcing us to come to them and pay $200 to change the wiper blades.
The branch of the Department of Transportation that deals with automobiles most directly is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As the name implies, their major concern is seeing that the parts that go into vehicles are in compliance with safety standards. For information about US DOT standards for vehicles and parts, please contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance by telephone at (202) 366-2832 or by e-mail at OVSCPublic@dot.gov.
You may also wish to review the following information for new manufacturers available from the NHTSA web site at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/maninfo.
The full text of the federal motor vehicle safety standards can be found in 49 CFR 571.
However, the concern you have raised seems to be more about consumer rights and protections. We might advise you to contact a local consumer protection group, or on the federal level, either the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov
National Transportation Library
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation