Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained
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Cadillac ATS Technical Discussion Forum Discussion, Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained in Cadillac ATS Discussion Forums; Originally Posted by Federal Trade Commission If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up ...
  1. #1
    SLA is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Post Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    Quote Originally Posted by Federal Trade Commission

    If you own a car, you know how important it is to keep up with routine maintenance and repairs. But can a dealer refuse to honor the warranty that came with your new car if someone else does the routine maintenance or repairs?

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says no. In fact, it's illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else. Routine maintenance often includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, fluid checks and flushes, new brake pads, and inspections. Maintenance schedules vary by vehicle make, model and year; the best source of information about routine scheduled maintenance is your owner's manual.

    What is a warranty?
    A warranty is a promise, often made by a manufacturer, to stand behind its product or to fix certain defects or malfunctions over a period of time. The warranty pays for any covered repairs or part replacements during the warranty period.

    Do I have to use the dealer for repairs and maintenance to keep my warranty in effect?
    No. An independent mechanic, a retail chain shop, or even you yourself can do routine maintenance and repairs on your vehicle. In fact, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which is enforced by the FTC, makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that your warranty is void or to deny coverage under your warranty simply because someone other than the dealer did the work. That said, there may be certain situations where a repair may not be covered. For example, if you or your mechanic replaced a belt improperly and your engine is damaged as a result, your manufacturer or dealer may deny responsibility for fixing the engine under the warranty. However, according to the FTC, the manufacturer or dealer must be able to demonstrate that it was the improper belt replacement — rather than some other defect — that caused the damage to your engine. The warranty would still be in effect for other parts of your car.

    Will using 'aftermarket' or recycled 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. A 'recycled' part is a part that was made for and installed in a new vehicle by the manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer, and later removed from the vehicle and made available for resale or reuse. Simply using an aftermarket or recycled 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 or recycled part. Still, if it turns out that the aftermarket or recycled 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 or recycled part caused the need for repairs before denying warranty coverage.

    Tips To Avoid Warranty Issues
    Here's how to get the most out of your vehicle's warranty:

    -Read your warranty. Often bundled with your owner's manual, the warranty gives a general description and specific details about your coverage. If you have misplaced your owner's manual, look for it online. Check the "Owners" section of your manufacturer's website.

    -Be aware of your warranty period. If problems arise that are covered under the warranty, get them checked out before the warranty expires.

    -Service your car at regular intervals. This is a good idea in any case. But for the sake of keeping your warranty intact, follow the manufacturer's recommended service schedule. Details are in your owner's manual.

    -Keep all service records and receipts, regardless of who performs the service. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, belt replacement, new brake pads, and inspections.

    -Create a file to keep track of repairs; it will come in handy if you have to use your warranty. If you ever have a warranty claim and it appears that you did not maintain your vehicle, your claim could be denied.

    -Complain. If you think a dealer's service advisor denied your warranty claim unfairly, ask to speak with a supervisor. If you still aren't satisfied, contact the manufacturer or go to another dealer. You also may wish to file a complaint with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection office, or the FTC.
    source: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles...ne-maintenance

    So that's a generalized translation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. It applies to ALL warranties, not just those for an auto.

    Specific FAQs:

    Can an aftermarket tune void my powertrain warranty?
    Yes. You have willingly and willfully changed the parameters of your ECU beyond the factory calibration. However, that does not mean the dealer won't honor your warranty. Your experience can and will vary by dealer. Some dealers are very willing to work with you and some will tell you to open your wallet. If you plan on modding, get to know your local service adviser a little bit. Some are giant a-holes and some are gearheads like you and I.

    Can modifying "_____" void the corresponding warranty coverage?
    Yes, if the modification(s) was the cause of the damage. Can having an aftermarket intake be grounds for warranty denial for a powertrain claim? It sure can. Can lowering springs be a reason for a denial for a claim on a suspension related issue? Again, yes. Any kind of non-authorized modification not directly from Cadillac or GM can effect parts of your warranty.

    Can they void my warranty in its entirety?
    No, unless you have modified all the separate systems of your car. Example: Your engine is tuned, but you noticed a leaky shock absorber. Even if the dealer decides to not honor your powertrain warranty because of the tune, they cannot deny you warranty work on the suspension as long as it is unchanged from the factory configuration.

    According to the MMWA, the dealer or manufacturer has to prove the modification caused the damage.
    That's very true, and in the instance of a tune, it's very easy to blame the tune on almost any kind of drivetrain failure. Example: Your rear differential blew and your car is tuned. The dealer could very well say the blown differential is the result of the engine operating beyond its factory parameters. The differential was not designed to withstand the amount of power the aftermarket tune produced. Capisce?

    What if I just return my car to stock for warranty work?
    I'm putting aside ethics for this one. Sure, you could do that, but what if you break down on the side of the highway and have it towed right to the dealer? From what the vendors say, tunes are undetectable by dealership computers. That doesn't mean that a tech won't be able to figure out how to switch maps or won't see wrench marks on certain nuts and bolts from the downpipe you just uninstalled. Some techs might be dumb, but I guarantee almost all of them can tell when a car has been modified.

    If I get denied by one dealership for a warranty claim due to a modification, can I go to another?
    You can try your luck. It really depends on how tough that first dealer you went to is. I've seen all kinds of information out there regarding this. Some report companies have a central database (Mitsubishi is widely known to have sent reps to tracks when the Evo came out in the US and flagged those owners' warranties), some have regional underwriters that get sent all the warranty claims to approve or deny. So, if the first dealer forwarded your claim info into the next higher up, chances are you'll have a much harder time getting that warranty work approved, even if your car is at a mod friendly dealer.

    Don't forget the great wisdom of Confucius: "Man who stays stock, stays happy".

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  3. #2
    Stevo Supremo's Avatar
    Stevo Supremo is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    Can we please for the love of God sticky this? I mean I figured modding and warranty were pretty easy to understand but these questions keep cropping up and I feel this is a great article and should hopefully put an end to it.

  4. #3
    donavo is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    lol to be fair its not like these questions really come that often. i have no problem with them.

  5. #4
    Fraggy's Avatar
    Fraggy is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    There is so much variability from grand to grand and dealer to dealer that making this a sticky will have little effect on questions on the forum.

  6. #5
    SLA is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    I specifically addressed dealers and how doing warranty work is basically at their discretion. If that doesn't tell people they need to ask their dealers, nothing will. plus, the next time someone asks a warranty question, I'll just link them this thread instead of typing out a response.

  7. #6
    Chrispy's Avatar
    Chrispy is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    Great post...I'll also add that if the dealer wants to f#ck you they can warranty block your car in the system. You can fight legally to have it unblocked but that's timely and expensive.

    My motto is if you're going to mod be prepared to pay out of pocket for anything drive train related if there's a problem. If you're modded dealers are generally good with non power train related stuff (Window motors, interior pieces, HVAC etc) but the big expensive stuff you need to be prepared to pay on your own.

    I'm keeping my car stock so it's a non issue for me but folks need to be prepared...the saying you need to pay to play is pretty accurate
    Ragtop 99 likes this.

  8. #7
    ikireland's Avatar
    ikireland is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Found a bulletin on this topic, here's the very brief cut out but basically gives GM's stance on it:

    "General Motors is identifying an increasing number of engine, transmission and catalytic converter part failures that are the result of non-GM (aftermarket) engine and transmission control module calibrations being installed.

    When alteration to the GM-released engine or transmission control module calibrations occurs, it subjects powertrain and driveline components (engine, transmission, transfer case, driveshaft and rear axle) to stresses that were not tested by General Motors. It is because of these unknown stresses, and the potential to alter reliability, durability and emissions performance, that GM has adopted a policy that prevents any UNAUTHORIZED Service Agent warranty Transaction submissions to any remaining warranty coverage, to the powertrain and driveline components whenever the presence of a non-GM calibration is confirmed – even if the non-GM control module calibration is subsequently removed.

    Warranty coverage is based on the equipment and calibrations that were released on the vehicle at time of sale, or subsequently updated by GM. That’s because GM testing and validation matches the calibration to a host of criteria that is essential to assure reliability, durability and emissions performance over the life of the warranty coverage and beyond. Stresses resulting from calibrations that are different from those tested and released by GM can damage and/or weaken components, leading to poor performance and/or shortened life.

    Additionally, non-GM issued engine control module modifications often do not meet the same emissions performance standards as GM issued calibrations. Depending on state statutes, individuals who install engine control module calibrations that put the vehicle outside the parameters of emissions certification standards may be subject to fines and/or penalties.

    This bulletin outlines the Calibration Retrieval and Calibration Verification Procedures for ALL Service Agents including Service Agents NOT Required to Call PQC for Powertrain/Drivetrain Assembly Replacement Authorization and Service Agents Required to Call PQC for Powertrain/Drivetrain Assembly Replacement Authorization, using the Tech 2® or GDS 2 to identify the presence of non-GM control module calibrations.

    If a non-GM calibration is found and verification has taken place through GM, the remaining powertrain and driveline warranty may be blocked and notated in Global Warranty Management (GWM) and the dealership will be notified. This block prevents any UNAUTHORIZED warranty claim submission."

  9. #8
    DavidATS is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Will _____ void my warranty? Magnuson Moss Act Explained

    Excellent post and I will keep it for the future never ending "GM has to prove it caused the problem". I also don't blame GM for not wanting to warranty it. They spend millions developing and testing a car to match the expected criteria, someone comes in after and changes the settings, GM knows nothing about the company or what they did and doesn't want to cover it under their warranty. I don't see much of a reason that they would want to.

    My current Audi A3 has had a tune on it since 22k miles, now at 148k miles but from the beginning I understood what I was getting into. If powertrain components failed I realized it might be on me (never had a issue).

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