Does Modifying My 2010 Camaro Void my Warranty?

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

A very common question asked by new 2010 Camaro owners and many other people is, “I would like to increase performance in my Camaro by adding a cold air intake, exhaust, supercharger, etc but will it void my warranty?” Usually you will get many different answers such as, no you’ll be fine, or depends on the dealer and if they are cool with modifying cars. However that may be true in some circumstances, we need a more definate answer and something to back this up.

According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, you are protected under law. This law protects people who need warranty work even though they added performance parts to their car.

This is how the act reads as per the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) website (www.sema.org ).

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Title 1, __101-112, 15 U.S.C. __2301 et seq. This act, effective July 4, 1975, is designed to “improve the adequacy of information available to consumers, prevent deception, and improve competition in the marketing of consumer products . . ..” The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies only to consumer products, which are defined as “any tangible personal property which is distributed in commerce and which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes (including any such property intended to be attached to or installed in any real property without regard to whether it is so attached or installed).” Under Section 103 of the Act, if a warrantor sells a consumer product costing more than $15 under written warranty, the writing must state the warranty in readily understandable language as determined by standards set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. There is, however, no requirement that a warranty be given nor that any product be warranted for any length of time. Thus the Act only requires that when there is a written warranty, the warrantor clearly disclose the nature of his warranty obligation prior to the sale of the product. The consumer may then compare warranty protection, thus shopping for the “best buy.” To further protect the consumer from deception, the Act requires that any written warranty must be labeled as either a “full” or a “limited” warranty. Only warranties that meet the standards of the Act may be labeled as “full.” One of the most important provisions of the Act prohibits a warrantor from disclaiming or modifying any implied warranty whenever any written warranty is given or service contract entered into.

This means that, under the provisions of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, an automotive dealership/carmaker cannot void your warranty because your vehicle has been modified with aftermarket parts. They (the manufacturers) have to prove that the failure was the direct result of the installed aftermarket part. Unfortunately, too many folks have gone to a dealer to have warranty service performed on their modified vehicle only to have the dealer refuse to cover the defective items. The dealer usually states, that because of the aftermarket parts installed, the warranty is void (without even attempting to determine whether or not the aftermarket part caused the problem). This is illegal…period.

Examples of aftermarket installations that COULD cause the voiding of a vehicle’s warranty.

Example 1:

You install a set of 4.10 gears and a short shifter in your car. A few weeks later you notice a whining noise comming from the rear end. You take it to the dealer to see what is wrong and they say the gears were installed incorrectly, and or tampered with. They will probably not cover that because the stock drivetrain was tampered with.

Example 2:

You install a brand an indash dvd/navigation in to your vehicle and soon after your guages aren’t working or there is some type of electrical problem happening. A dealer may not cover this problem with your warranty because obviously the wiring was touched by someone else and could have casused a short in the computer.

Examples of aftermarket installations that COULD cause the voiding of a vehicle’s warranty.

Example 1:

You install a cold air intake, cat back exhaust, and a 160 degree thermostat on your car. Some time goes by and you notice your blinkers are not functioning properly. You take it to the dealer to get fixed. Unless a dealer can prove that installing all of these parts has something to do with the blinkers malfunctioning they cannot turn you down. That is when you should show them  the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975.

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