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Understanding How Your Vehicle Warranty Won't Be Voided - Magnuson - Moss Warranty Act

Any avid off-roader knows how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. Even though four-wheel drives are tough vehicles, they do take a beating out on the trails and require regular servicing to extend their life and maintain safety. Additionally, you might want to make some modifications and upgrades on your rig to boost its off-road performance.

Doing repair, maintenance work or customizing your truck with some modifications is all well and good. However, you might worry that doing so might void the warranty on your brand new ride. Is this true or not?

Well, the answer is, it’s a little bit of both.

At Dixie 4 Wheel Drive, we strive to be the best full-service specialized 4x4 off-road shop in Utah and beyond. We not only specialize in building custom off-road vehicles but also offer auto shop services including service and repair of all kinds of 4x4s. We have been in the automotive business for a long time and we get lots of customers who worry that any work done on their brand new cars will result in having their warranties canceled. This is a misconception and we can work on your new vehicle without voiding its warranty.

To know how we do this, you first have to understand the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and how it affects auto warranties and routine maintenance as well as vehicles that have been modified with aftermarket parts.

What is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?

The Magnuson-Moss Act was signed in 1975 and it basically ensures that customers’ rights are protected when it comes to warranties on items they purchase. The act prevents deceitful warranty practices and requires all warranties –including those on motor vehicles- to be clear and easy to read. Warrantors should fully disclose what is and isn’t covered by their warranties as well as what a consumer needs to do when they want to make a warranty claim.

How Does the Act Relate to Aftermarket Parts and Routine Vehicle Maintenance?

As an off-roader, you should have a good understanding of how the Magnuson-Moss Act affects your warranty coverage.

Let’s say you want to save money on maintenance costs and instead of going to a dealership, you turn to a 4x4 mechanic and repair facility like Dixie 4 Wheel Drive to get the services you need. Alternatively, you may have bought a new 4WD vehicle and you want to improve its off-roading prowess so you decide to make some modifications using aftermarket parts instead of factory parts. Would these money-saving strategies affect your vehicle warranty?

According to the Magnuson-Moss Act, vehicle manufacturers cannot just deny your warranty claim because you went to an independent mechanic, did routine maintenance or repairs on your vehicle yourself or even because you installed aftermarket parts on your vehicle. In fact, this is an illegal practice and you have the right to install non-factory or recycled parts or look for reasonable repair and maintenance services from someone else other than the dealer or vehicle manufacturer while retaining your original warranty.

Routine maintenance in this instance refers to fluid checks, replacing belts, oil changes, wheel alignment, installing new brake pads, vehicle inspection, etc.

However, there’s a caveat. If the aftermarket or recycled part you used somehow contributes to or causes vehicle failure, the dealer or manufacturer might be able to deny your warranty claim. This is only if they can prove that the work done on your vehicle directly caused the problem or that the aftermarket part used was defective or not installed correctly and thus directly led to the problem you are currently experiencing with your vehicle. In such a case, the burden of proof lies entirely with the dealer.

So let’s say you came to our auto service shop for some custom Jeep modifications and we installed a suspension lift kit. Later on, you take the vehicle to the dealership because the headlights stopped working. Your warranty isn’t voided just because you didn’t use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. The dealer can only deny your warranty claim if they prove that the lift kit you installed directly caused your lights to stop working properly.

Protecting Your Rights To Modify Vehicles

Here’s what you need to know about protecting your warranty rights as a 4x4 owner:

  • Read and understand your warranty. You should familiarize yourself with the terms and specifics outlined in your car’s warranty so you know what is covered, what isn’t, the warranty period and what you need to do when making a warranty claim.

  • Only use reputable aftermarket part brands and carefully follow installation instructions. Your warranty might be voided if you use substandard parts that then cause some kind of vehicle failure so stick to reputable brands and adhere to the instructions for use.

  • Only take your vehicle to reputable and trusted mechanics for maintenance or repairs. The dealership might deny your warranty claim if they determine that the mechanic you used did shoddy work that led to problems with your vehicle so only go to mechanics with the requisite skill and experience to fix your vehicle.

  • Ensure that you service your vehicle at regular intervals and that you keep all service records. Follow the manufacturer recommended service schedule to keep your vehicle in top shape. Also, remember to keep all service receipts of all work done on your vehicle regardless of who did it. These records might come in handy when proving maintenance history during a warranty claim.

Let Us Help You With All Your Vehicle’s Needs

At Dixie 4 Wheel Drive, we have decades of experience designing custom builds and servicing all kinds of 4x4s. We have the necessary tools, equipment, skills, and expertise to work on and improve your new vehicle without voiding the warranty. We also stock a wide range of aftermarket parts so you’re sure to find something that suits your vehicle and budget.

Drop by any of our auto shops in Moab or St. George, Utah or contact us today for all your automotive needs. 

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