First, Some Background Knowledge
When it comes to your vehicle’s warranty, there is a law called the “Magnuson Moss Warranty Act” that was passed in 1975 to prohibit automotive manufacturers and distributors from requiring consumers to use any specific brand of vehicle part to invoke warranty coverage. The Act gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to interpret the application of this provision. The FTC says consumers do not have to use the dealer for repairs or maintenance for the terms of the warranty to stand. They also state that the consumer can make their own repairs, take the vehicle to an independent mechanic, or an automotive shop for repairs/maintenance and still enjoy the benefits of their warranty. This does not mean, however, that the same rules may apply for vehicle modifications using aftermarket parts.
Will my warranty become voided if I decide to use aftermarket parts?
It is not common knowledge that in fact, a modification added to your vehicle won’t void a warranty unless an automaker or dealer can determine that the part caused the need for your repairs. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act requires manufacturers to honor their warranties and auto manufacturers only warrant their vehicles against manufacturing defects. An example of this is that if your radiator is leaking, your warranty will still be valid even if you have added an aftermarket exhaust. But there is a gray area as to what is considered a valid warranty claim and what may be denied.
If there is a defect in a factory/manufacturer component, then the warranty would be honored. Although, if a problem to your vehicle occurred because the source of it was from an aftermarket part, then your warranty may not be permitted at that time. Your modification isn’t specifically responsible for voiding your warranty, it’s just your vehicle is having a problem that is not being caused by a factory defect.
Will calibrating my vehicle with an ECU tune void my warranty?
There are plenty of aftermarket modifications for Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that range from new programming to high performance. The result of these ECU tunes is that the vehicle’s engine is being controlled by a different program that was not what your car was factory built with. Be warned that many owner’s manuals state that warranty coverage does not include changes to a vehicle’s configuration and that this limitation isn’t forbidden by the Magnuson Moss Act. This means that manufacturers and dealers can deny service to your vehicle if it has an ECU tune that is altered to different settings than what was configured at the factory. So if your ECU stopped working and you needed a replacement, you could replace the part with any brand you like and the warranty would still be covered. This wouldn’t apply however if it did not control the engine the same way the original did.
So what should you do? To modify or not modify that is the question…
Knowing all of this information, it is completely understandable if you are on the fence of whether you would like to install aftermarket parts to your vehicle. Some important reminders to help you make a decision would be:
- You have the freedom to install any parts you would like to your car and the manufacturer/dealer cannot deny service/repairs based on you not using “their parts”.
- If a malfunction does occur to your car and it is caused by your modifications, you may be out of luck for getting coverage under your warranty.
- Your vehicle is welcome to receive an ECU tune, but look in your owner’s manual as to whether doing so would void your warranty. Or remember to change it back to stock before getting your vehicle serviced.
Overall, just be smart about what your vehicle can handle and know that you have the freedom to enhance your car’s performance however you see fit! We at Excelerate Performance are here to help you for any aftermarket part orders and installation needs. Our experienced sales team can get you exactly what you are looking for and our highly qualified technicians make sure your vehicle will have your parts installed at an exceptional timerate with the utilization of our specialty equipment.
For part orders email: email@example.com
For installation/repair services email: firstname.lastname@example.org