Voiding a vehicle warranty can be made by a manufacturer or a dealer who has the authority to do so or refuse warranty repairs. That is if they prove that incorrect repairs have been made, and that the maintenance or upgrades not made by them caused damage to the component you are claiming warranty for. Being deemed a total loss and issues on altered odometers will also void vehicle warranties. Remember that warranties are contracts between you and the manufacturer and it can be broken if you don't go by your agreement, so it is important to know and avoid situations that can be responsible for voiding a vehicle warranty.
Car Warranty By Definition
Before digging deeper into situations voiding a vehicle warranty let us first discuss what a vehicle warranty is all about. A car warranty or manufacturer’s warranty, comes with a brand new or a certified pre-owned vehicle from the dealership when you buy your car. That warranty will protect you against any possible costly repairs resulting from faulty components or factory defects.
The warranty will help you pay for the replacement parts that will be needed or cover the repairs under a specified warranty period. This warranty is typically included in the purchase price of your vehicle. It should include covering repair or replacement of the powertrain, as well as cosmetic items like interior and exterior trim and any electrical gadgets and systems. It should also contain a corrosion warranty that covers all rust-related damage to the vehicle.
Vehicle warranties last for a certain amount of time or for a certain number of miles. The average auto warranty coverage is 3-years/36,000 miles, which means that it covers essential repairs for the first three years of ownership or the first 36,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
After your factory warranty expires, an extended auto warranty, often known as a vehicle service contract, extends your protection. An extended warranty can be purchased via the dealership or from a third-party source. But certain conditions can void your warranty or cause your claim to be denied under both manufacturer and extended warranty contracts.
What does void your warranty mean?
In this section, we will talk about what voiding a vehicle warranty means. If you don't follow the conditions of your contract, the manufacturer or supplier has the right to void your warranty. Some circumstances will void your entire warranty, preventing you from filing a claim for repairs.
The warranty period has expired, the defect or part is not covered, the product failure is due to misuse or lack of proper maintenance, or you have made significant alterations to the product, affecting its performance are just a few of the reasons why warranties are no longer honored.
The claim will be refused if the repair is not covered by the manufacturer's warranty or the warranty was voided, and the dealer will not be compensated. This could mean paying for the repairs out of pocket, and in many cases, a dealer will determine if your vehicle is covered before a claim is even filed.
What negates a car warranty?
To clearly discuss the situations voiding a vehicle warranty let us first discuss common misconceptions. Many car owners believe that in order to keep their vehicle under warranty, all repairs, maintenance, and replacements must be done at the dealership. But that isn't the case. It is illegal for vehicle manufacturers or dealers to invalidate a warranty or deny a warranty claim because of work performed by a non-dealer, according to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975.
The manufacturer or dealer can only require car owners to use a specified repair facility if the repair services are given free of charge under the warranty, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As a result, vehicle owners have a variety of options for keeping up with routine maintenance and repairs. They have the option of going to a dealership, visiting an automobile maintenance provider or doing it themselves.
If your vehicle is damaged as a result of a repair or service performed by you or your mechanic, the manufacturer/dealer has the discretion to deny your warranty claim. They must, however, be able to show that the damage to the car was caused by third-party labor rather than a mechanical defect. Even if this occurs, the warranty on the rest of your vehicle remains intact.
The manufacturer or authorized dealer can resolve to voiding a vehicle warranty because of these conditions:
● Misuse of a Vehicle
Your warranty will be voided if you use your car for anything other than day-to-day driving, such as off-roading or racing. Another pitfall that most car purchasers are unaware of until it's too late. You are mistaken if you believe that owning a 4X4 Off Road means you can do anything off the road and be covered.
This valid cause for voiding a vehicle warranty also involves employing the wrong fluids. This isn't as big of an issue these days because so many people merely rely on the dealership for repair during their warranty, but if you put brake fluid in the power steering fluid or oil in the transmission, your warranty for the affected parts will be voided.
- Salvage Title
A vehicle's warranty can also be revoked by an accident that results in a salvage. However, if the shop that repairs your vehicle's damage replaces any stock parts with aftermarket parts, a dealership may try to blame those parts for separate damage, thereby voiding your warranty. To avoid this, inform your insurance provider and/or repair business (in writing) of your warranty status so that they may make suitable arrangements to utilize only approved parts.
Some warranties on pre-owned vehicles are transferable to a new owner. If you're buying a used car, make sure you run a title search to make sure you don't end up with a salvage title. Some salvage cars have been fixed and may be sold to a buyer who is unaware of the vehicle's history.
- Severe environmental damage
Because the car's warranty only covers manufacturer's defects, damage caused by a natural disaster will also void your warranty. Earthquakes, fires, and storms are examples of natural or environmental calamities that might cancel your car's warranty. Even if storm waters do not reach the vehicle's interior, flooding could occur. Wherever possible, do everything you can to protect your car from environmental influences. If you experience damage or loss as a result of a natural disaster, check with your auto manufacturer or dealership to see if your warranty has been cancelled.
- Odometer tampering
The odometer on your car is a crucial indicator of its age and usage. It notifies you when it's time to arrange a service appointment so you can stay on track with your manufacturer's service schedule. It also has an impact on the price you'll pay for a used car.
The dealer will be unable to identify the precise mileage if the odometer has been disconnected, tampered with, or replaced. A voided warranty is frequently the result of this. There's no way to know for sure if your odometer has been tampered with, but the dealer can check for anomalies in mileage reporting if you order a vehicle history report.
- Aftermarket modifications
A common misconception is that in order to maintain your vehicle under warranty, you must utilize manufacturer-approved components. This is incorrect. If an aftermarket or recycled part was utilized on the vehicle, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects the vehicle owner. As a result, manufacturers cannot compel customers to use brand-name parts unless the part is covered by the guarantee.
If an aftermarket part or modification causes damage to the vehicle, the manufacturer has the right to refuse warranty coverage. They must, however, be able to prove that the damage was caused by the aftermarket part.
- Car Modifications
Although car modifications will not completely void your warranty, it can void warranty on some parts. Like for example, altering your suspension in any way or installing any parts that exceed the manufacturer’s specifications increases your chance of having warranty for your entire suspension voided.
Performance chips also will likely result in voiding a vehicle warranty as they are made to maximize certain parts of your vehicle placing added stress. Although these “stresses” may be claimed to be within the vehicle's reasonable limits, they will be judged to be outside of the vehicle's “Normal everyday use,” making your warranty cancellation easy in the eyes of the dealership/manufacturer.
- Improper maintenance
You'll be expected to follow and document your factory-recommended maintenance program in order to keep your warranty valid. However, some people are so unconcerned about their vehicle's demands that they spend years without getting an oil change. Avoid this at all costs if your automobile is still under warranty. The dealer is not responsible for any engine damage if you neglect to bring your vehicle in for service during its regular maintenance.
Routine maintenance keeps your car running longer and can help you save money on repairs by catching tiny problems early. If at all feasible, have your automobile serviced at the dealership so that they can keep track of your service history. Keep documents in case you need to verify you maintained your car according to the manufacturer's recommended schedule, regardless of where you chose to have it serviced.
You can avoid these issues if you read your warranty thoroughly, keep up with the service schedule and keep records, and lastly doing your own research and not always taking no as an answer.
While waiting at your dealership why not spend the time going over your warranty. Better yet, while choosing a car, look into each manufacturer's warranty. The best way to be taken aback is to have had no idea in the first place!
In general, servicing your car at regular intervals is a good idea, but to protect your warranty, stick to the manufacturer's recommended service schedule. You can usually find your owner's handbook online if you've misplaced it.
Keep all receipts and service records. This is an excellent habit to continue not just in case you wish to sell your vehicle, but also to have proof that you kept it in good working order. If you do your own car maintenance, keep the receipts for the parts and fluids you purchased.
Everything you do in the car should go straight into a file at home. The first purpose is to demonstrate that you had service performed in the event of a claim of negligence. The second is to keep track of what was done in case you needed extra services like tire rotation, alignment, or oil changes outside of the dealership.
As we previously indicated, voiding warranties have gray areas. You may encounter a service manager who is stricter than usual, or they may have just had some repairs that were not covered by the manufacturer, prompting them to defend themselves. In either case, there is a line of command to which you can and should appeal. If that doesn't work and you're certain you've been wronged, you can file a complaint with your state attorney general, your local consumer protection office, and/or the Federal Trade Commission.
Voiding A Vehicle Warranty: Other Frequently Asked Questions
Does ECU flash void warranty?
By replacing or updating the car's memory chip in the Engine Control Unit (ECU), ECU flashing, also known as tuning, refreshes the software that drives your vehicle. These modifications can significantly improve your engine's performance by increasing power, reducing emissions, and increasing fuel efficiency.
While it can void your warranty, it depends on who you flash the ECU with. If you ever encounter an issue, you may revert it to stock and take it back to the dealer without them knowing it was ever re-flashed.
Does changing your exhaust void warranty?
In the vast majority of circumstances, installing an aftermarket exhaust system on your car will not void your warranty. But as previously discussed when it comes to aftermarket parts, your warranty (or a portion of it) will be canceled if a problem arises that a mechanic can trace back to the aftermarket system you installed.