Tips For Modding Your Car and Not Voiding Warranty
May 26, 2022
Since you're reading this, it's probably safe to say that you're a car enthusiast, someone who enjoys a tastefully modified vehicle, can't live without a stock car, and needs aftermarket wheels, tires, and suspension on their car to make it stand out from the crowd.
One of our favorite things to do with our cars is to make them louder, quicker, and way more fun to drive than they are off the lot. But as an enthusiast, we're sure you've heard that modifications can and will void your vehicle's factory warranty, which is a huge downside for anyone who wants a newer vehicle. Warranties provide great peace of mind, especially for a commuter car that you'll just be stacking miles on, or for a luxury brand that's known for expensive repairs and is just really unsafe to own outside of the warranty coverage.
So, does using aftermarket parts on your car void its warranty coverage? That's the question we're here to answer - check out our tips for keeping your warranty alive with some dope mods today!
Does Using Aftermarket Parts On Your Car Automatically Void Warranty?
The fine print and manufacturer representatives may make it sound like using aftermarket parts on your car that's still under warranty would be like ripping up the warranty contract, but it's not that black and white.
In 1975, Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which protects consumers from being wrongfully denied warranty coverage when they use aftermarket replacement parts for their vehicles. Luckily for us, that goes for aftermarket performance and cosmetic-enhancing parts as well. At the end of the day, all this means for you is that you can't automatically be denied or have your warranty voided altogether because of using aftermarket parts. The dealership and manufacturers have to prove that the aftermarket part or parts in question are the direct cause of the failure, per federal law.
How Can You Modify Your Car And Not Void Its Warranty Coverage?
So, the Act does help for keeping you protected from seedy dealers who may want to charge you full price for an issue that may not be your aftermarket part's fault, but you can't just go out and go crazy and expect them to still stick up for you. If you follow the rules we've listed below, you can add performance and curb appeal to your ride without voiding anything.
Tip 1: Stick To More Basic Bolt-On Parts During Your Build
First and foremost, stick to more basic, bolt-on parts during your build. We say "basic" because a bolt-on turbo kit won't look so hot when your clutch starts to slip.
Wheels, tires, and suspension are honestly some of the easiest modifications to avoid warranty hassles with because changing out your wheels and tires doesn't add stress to anything. In fact, in most cases, you'll be lowering that stress with a lighter wheel and tire package.
The same goes for your suspension - it isn't connecting to anything else it can alter, and again, it usually ends up reducing fatigue on the chassis because of weight savings. Sway bars are similar here because they increase performance while also reducing weight, not affecting anything other than your body roll.
Big brakes can be a great modification here that adds looks and performance to your car as well - again, the theme here is buying and installing parts that don't tie into other parts of your car. If anything fails, it's hard to tie that back to the brakes you use, so you're good, for example.
Tip 2: Make Sure All Parts Are Made With High-Quality Components
Another big one that people get wrong is making sure that all the parts you have on your car are made with high-quality components. There's a reason that a lot of your more established brands have higher prices and it's almost specifically for this reason - this also means that making sure they're installed correctly and cleanly is extremely important.
If you have to go in for a warranty claim, you have to convince the service writer and technician to give you the benefit of the doubt. Showing up with a rusty, hack job muffler delete is a surefire way to raise a couple of eyebrows and have them searching for a reason to deny your claim, but if you have a nice, polished, quality brand name cat-back with perfect welds and quality hardware, they probably won't think twice about it.
Exterior mods are another awesome way to change up the look of your ride without causing service writers to have an anxiety attack - bumper covers, side skirts, lips, diffusers, etc. are all super easy to clear the checklist because they don't affect the function of anything else.
Tip 3: Avoid Tuning Your Car If Possible
As you may have noticed, nothing we've talked about so far is a power-increasing modification. That doesn't mean that you can't add performance parts, but it starts to get a little dicey here.
Tuning is a gray area for warranty coverage and to be honest, we'd try to avoid it if at all possible. It would be easy for a dealership to argue that just about anything driveline-relating of an issue could be because you added power, but that's not always the case. Short shifters are an awesome way to enhance your driving experience without risk as well - they help your car feel more race car-esque, with quick and short shifts that power through gears like jaws of force. They don't change much other than the pivot point of the shifter, so there won't be very many adverse issues that you'll have to worry about.
Read More: What Are The Best Mods For Autocross?
Tip 4: Go To The Right Dealer
Outside of which mods you choose, one of the biggest factors in determining how much you fight the dealer will be choosing the right one to go to in the first place. Some dealerships are extremely strict with how they run and enforce their warranty claims, but others can be a lot more lax, forgiving, and realistic with their processes to get you in and out smoothly.
Shop Aftermarket Wheels, Tires, and Suspension For Your Vehicle at Fitment Industries
So that's the gist of it - follow these rules, do your research, and just make an educated decision on what you do and don't modify. Understand that there are risks involved, but if you play your cards right you can change the look and the feel of your ride with wheels, tires, and suspension from Fitment Industries without voiding your warranty. Check out our store today and let us know if you need help finding anything - we're always happy to help!