Federal Trade Commission Validates Right to Install Aftermarket Parts Without Voiding Warranty

January 7, 2011

One of the most common questions and fears we get from customers or potential customers is a valid one: “Will adding aftermarket parts void my warranty?”

It’s a scary premise, and unfortunately one some uneducated dealerships seem to drill into their customers, that using non-OEM parts or upgrades will void the factory warranty, and leave you the new car owner to fend for yourself, without support from the vehicle maker.

Thankfully this isn’t the case, and there is legislation in place to protect you, the consumer, from these types of situations.  The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act was passed way back in 1975 to combat this exact subject, and ensure that you have the freedom to choose aftermarket parts and upgrades without having your warranty stripped or voided.

Dealerships and car companies are required to prove that any modification of the vehicle with aftermarket parts is the cause of the failure.  In addition, even if the part in question caused the failure, does not mean a complete and ultimate void of the warranty, just in that particular case.  For example if a turbo kit was installed that was proven to have caused engine damage, any other portion of the warranty, for example the radio or climate control malfunctioned, the warranty would still cover those items, exactly as they would if no modifications had been made.

This month the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) issued a Consumer Alert confirming that it is in fact illegal to void warranties or deny coverage for the use of an aftermarket part. See the FTC Website here. Excerpt of the Consumer Alert:

Will using ‘aftermarket’ parts void my warranty?

No. An ‘aftermarket’ part is a part made by a company other than the vehicle manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer. Simply using an aftermarket part does not void your warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for companies to void your warranty or deny coverage under the warranty simply because you used an aftermarket part. Still, if it turns out that the aftermarket part was itself defective or wasn’t installed correctly, and it causes damage to another part that is covered under the warranty, the manufacturer or dealer has the right to deny coverage for that part and charge you for any repairs. The FTC says the manufacturer or dealer must show that the aftermarket equipment caused the need for repairs before denying warranty coverage.

The Consumer Alert was issued in response to a complaint filed by several of SEMA’s associations, dedicated to the automotive industry, enthusiasts, manufacturers and retailers who empower all of our passion for the automotive world.

We at STILLEN are proud to work with hundreds of new car dealerships across the country, and throughout our 25 year history have developed great reputations with dealers, giving them the confidence to install STILLEN branded and other aftermarket products, even delivering new vehicles to customers with modifications already on the car.

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