They can however, deny a warranty claim if the modification caused the failure. If you lift your vehicle and put 40″ tires on it, there will be a lot more stress on the axles, steering, etc. If you break an axle, don’t expect it to be covered under warranty. This is an obvious example, but it isn’t always that simple.
What if your steering feels loose? It is no secret that Wrangler JL’s have had some issues with steering. There have been Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) requiring many Wrangler steering boxes to be replaced. The dealership would be required to perform the TSB even if you have a lift. However, if the steering is still loose and it ends up being a factory tie rod end or ball joint, they don’t have to replace them under warranty if they can prove that your 40″ tires caused excessive wear on these components. Experienced Jeepers understand this and often upgrade the factory components as preventative measures.
An Automaker Can Not Void a Warranty Just Because it is Modified
Legally, the burden of proof is on the dealer. They have to prove that the modification caused the factory component to fail. But, this “case” doesn’t get handled courtroom, it happens at the service desk. This is where having a good relationship with your dealer pays off. I have had warranty work done on a supercharged Wrangler loaded with aftermarket equipment, even repairs I assumed I would be paying for. If you are really concerned about the warranty, I suggest building a relationship with the dealer by having your Wrangler serviced by them. You can take it a step further by tipping the technicians and doughnuts are always nice. I think you get the point. Yes, you will pay a bit more, but it can pay off in the long run.
You don’t have to use a Mopar lift kit
Having the dealer install a Mopar lift has its advantages. If anything goes wrong, they will fix it. If you go with another brand and something goes wrong, you will need to determine the steps to resolve the issue. If you are mechanically inclined and/or did the install yourself, you should try and determine the cause. Even if you can’t figure out exactly what it is, check the aftermarket components first. If something seems loose or “wrong” get in touch with the company you purchased the lift from and/or had it installed by. If you determine that the lift has nothing to do with the issue, you can take it to the dealership first. If your radio stops working, the dealership should be your first call. However, if you also have aftermarket lighting, you may want to have the install of the lights checked out first.
Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act
This is regularly thrown around by the aftermarket as a THE reason the dealer can’t deny a warranty claim due to aftermarket parts. Although this was an enormous win for consumer’s rights, it does not specifically spell out how aftermarket parts don’t void warranties. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is very broad, covering almost every product and service sold in the United States. There is nothing you can quote from it that can be used as “proof” the dealership has to honor the warranty. Thankfully, the FTC has spelled out, in greater detail, your rights as a consumer.
Important Auto Warranty Facts from the FTC
You don’t have to use the dealer for repairs or maintenance to keep your warranty in effect. In fact, it’s illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs done by someone else. That said, the dealer or manufacturer can make you use select repair facilities if the work is done for free under the warranty.
before they can deny warranty coverage, the manufacturer or dealer must first prove the aftermarket or recycled part caused the needed repairs.
Using aftermarket or recycled parts won’t void your warranty. But the manufacturer or dealer can make you use certain parts if they’re free of charge under the warranty.
- An aftermarket part is a part made by a company other than your car’s manufacturer.
- A recycled part is a part that was made for, and installed in, a new car by the manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer, but later removed and made available for resale or reuse.
If someone installs an aftermarket or recycled part that’s defective or wasn’t properly installed, it could damage another part that is covered under the warranty. If that happens, the manufacturer or dealer can deny coverage for that part and charge you for repairs. But, before they can deny warranty coverage, the manufacturer or dealer must first prove the aftermarket or recycled part caused the needed repairs.
SEMA’s Consumer Bill of Rights
Your Rights to Personalize Your Vehicle
You have the Right to buy high-quality, reliable aftermarket performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options.
You have the Right to use high-quality aftermarket parts and know that your new car warranty claims will be honored. In fact, your vehicle dealer may not reject a warranty claim simply because an aftermarket product is present. A warranty denial under such circumstances may be proper only if an aftermarket part caused the failure being claimed.
You have the Right to install and use emissions-legal aftermarket performance parts without incurring hassles and onerous procedures during state vehicle emissions inspections.
You have the Right to actively oppose any proposed (or existing) laws or regulations that will reduce your freedom to use aftermarket automotive parts and service or will curtail your ability to take part in the automotive hobbies of your choice.
You have the Right to patronize independent retail stores and shops for vehicle parts and service. The U.S. aftermarket offers the world’s finest selection of performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options. These aftermarket products satisfy the most discriminating customers seeking personalized vehicles for today’s lifestyle.The foregoing message is brought to you by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). If you would like our guidelines on what to do if your new car warranty is denied, check out the Warranty Denied? section of the SEMA web site.