Concord man's car warranty denied because transmission fluid was wrong color

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- A repair one car owner thought would be free under his warranty almost cost him 10-thousand dollars.

The Concord man's car broke down just a few thousand miles short of his 100, 000-mile ten-year warranty from Mitsubishi. Still, his claim under the warranty was denied.

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David Hotchkiss admits he doesn't know much about cars. But he does know he bought his 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander with a standard 10 year/ 100-thousand mile warranty.

He fully expected to use it after his car came to a sudden stop on the freeway. His car currently has 95-thousand miles on it.

"Wouldn't go forward. Wouldn't go backward in gear. And just stopped," David told 7 On Your Side.

David's car was eventually towed to Concord Mitsubishi. He needed a new transmission, but he said the dealership denied his warranty claim because his transmission fluid wasn't green, the color of Mitsubishi's fluid.

His vehicle report from Mitsubishi Concord read "incorrect transmission fluid color found."

Further down it said, "transmission fluid is red in color."

The quote for a new transmission was $9,700. That bothered David who said he didn't think he had to use Mitsubishi's fluid or that it had to be a certain color. "They said, well no, it has to be Mitsubishi fluid."

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David reached out to 7 On Your Side. He also filed complaints with state and federal regulators. The Federal Trade Commission sent him this information about the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.

The act prohibits a dealer from invalidating a warranty because repairs were done elsewhere.

Dealers also cannot require parts made by specific manufacturers.

Mark Anderson is a consumer attorney.

"It's very rare to hear a manufacturer was conditioning a warranty on the buyer buying a particular product," said Anderson.

7 On Your Side contacted Mitsubishi and it agreed to make the repairs under the warranty.

"When you're trying to solve things at a lower level and you're not getting anywhere, call 7 On Your Side because they're the greatest," he said.

We reached out to Mitsubishi for comment, but the auto maker did not get back to us.

Written and Produced by Randall Yip

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