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Waranty Vs. Modifications

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 11:53 AM

This is valuable info from the SEMA associated web site "Enjoy the Drive" ( www.SEMA.org and www.enjoythedrive.com ). We as car enthusiats have rights that in terms of our warranty contract the a dealership may try to not honor.

Know your rights!

This is an excerpt of the full article that can be found at:


Warranty Denied?

The enclosed materials are intended to help you should you have a vehicle warranty claim denied in circumstances in which an aftermarket product has been used. The information describes the law on vehicle warranties and will provide a sense of what is and is not an improper warranty denial. After reviewing this information, you will be aware of the steps to take to fight unlawful warranty denials.

In many cases it will not be necessary to take all the steps outlined here because disputes are often resolved at an early stage.

What Does the Warranty Actually Say?

Start by re-reading the warranty documents. Become familiar with what the documents actually say, not what you think they should say. If the language is confusing, get help in understanding what it really means. Look for specific items or circumstances that may or may not be covered. Determine if there is a process specified for resolving disputes.

The Law

Federal law sets forth requirements for warranties and contains a number of provisions to prevent vehicle manufacturers, dealers and others from unjustly denying warranty coverage. With regard to aftermarket parts, the spirit of the law is that warranty coverage cannot be denied simply because such parts are present on the vehicle, or have been used (see Attachment A). The warranty coverage can be denied only if the aftermarket part caused the malfunction or damage for which warranty coverage is sought. Disputes in this area usually boil down to arguments over facts and technical opinions, rather than arguments over interpretations of the law.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

Every revolution begins w/ a single act of defiance! - unknown

The revolution will not be televised! - Gil Scott Heron

#2 01snake

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Posted 13 November 2004 - 01:21 AM

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#3 blackfang



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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:56 AM

It brought up alot of issues when I was with Ford, now at Toyota I dont have to deal with it. However, don't think they will always honor that and right now ford will ride it all the way to court as it will cost the customer more to take it to court.
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#4 99_Cobra


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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:43 AM

Wow...you guys are awesome. I had been looking for warranty help for a while now. Even put a few posts on here and didn't really get much response.

I had (2) connecting rods snap and was denied my warranty because I had a cold air intake. We all know that had little to nothing to do with connecting rods snapping in half, but Ford used it as a scapegoat.

The warranty does say that it is void if the car has aftermarket parts, so I thought I was hosed by the small print even though they know they are in the wrong.

I basically gave up and decided to rebuild my car myself since I didn't really have the money to hire a lawyer and was worried I would lose even more money if the court route didn't work out. On top of it all I would still have a non running car that I owed money on.

I have found new hope and now that I have taken the motor apart I have good photos of the insides and the snapped connecting rods.

Thanks again guys...nice work.
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Posted 01 October 2007 - 07:21 AM

PLEASE HELP...............

#6 jblz

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 06:32 PM

It seems like the big companies always have the upper hand because they have lawyers on retainer.

#7 FoMoPar


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Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:50 PM

It seems like the big companies always have the upper hand because they have lawyers on retainer.

No, it's not that easy. I've worked for the OEM end of things for nearly 15 years. With the exception of a tech job in Detroit, a couple years as a National Account Manager and a tech instructor position in Atlanta, the rest of the time has been as a District Service Manager, Tech Advisor or Regional Service Manager. The folks in the field CAN get legal involved, but it's not like we have lawyers on speed dial. Most of the time, it's a decision by the dealership people rather than the factory personnel. If they're smart, they call the DM and get them in the loop and/or let the DM make the call on whether or not to cover it. DMs are like cops. Some are really cool, some are Aholes. Most are aware of Magnuson Moss, but not all are very well versed. I've seen a lot of gray over the years.

We used to have a District Manager in Savannah that would deny warranty to engine failures if it had any aftermarket parts on the motor at all - on the flipside, I was in a dealer in Southern Il. years ago and intervened in a "warranty" head gasket repair on a '96 Viper that belonged to one of their "good customers." It also had twin Vortech supers on it. Not warranty...(it was one of the techs at the dealer that narc'ed them out). I actually had a guy in Columbus Georgia about ten years ago that wanted me to put an engine in his Neon R/T not because it was broken, but because it was becoming worn and dynoed out lower than it did last year. The car was gutted, had a roll cage, slicks and was used to RACE SCCA with. It had no warranty, it was a race car. There's got to be some common sense out there somewhere.

The bottom line for most factory service guys is this - if the failed component was at all adversely affected by conditions related to usage, abuse, maintenance and/or aftermarket parts it is subject for denial under the terms of warranty. If you put a power adder on the motor and keep shitting axles, guess what - not warranty. If you put an aftermarket airfilter on it and the engine dies from ingesting foreign material - not warranty. If you put an aftermarket airfilter on it and the oil pump takes a crap - you've probably got a good argument. If the additional power that your mods makes puts additional strain on parts that were not designed for it... you get the idea.

What shouldn't happen is the complete denial of warranty. A self-inflicted wound to a transmission should have no effect on your radio warranty. Complete warranty restriction is extremely rare and something that I can only remember doing twice. Both times were on vehicles that our system didn't catch - one was a formerly-totalled theft recovery and the other was totalled in flood damage. I HAVE restricted powertrain warranties though. If a Cummins comes in making 1000+ lb/ft of torque with tons of mods on it, it's a good candidate for a powertrain restriction. Part of modifying a vehicle is accepting that you've got to pay to play. I took the heads off my '90 GT when it had 3500 miles on it. I also wouldn't have expected them to cover anything that went wrong as a result. I fixed two trans issues and a couple motor issues on that car myself while it was still in warranty. I knew that I caused them. The dealer did take care of an AC issue and a paint issue for me, but I never even asked on the others.

I don't know about Ford, but I know that we don't like to get in adversarial situations with our customers if we don't have to. It's far easier to resolve issues at the dealer and field level than in court. If you beleive you have a case, call the customer line for the manufacturer and explain what's going on and why you'd like further review of your issue. Consider contacting the BBB regarding the dealer if they can not provide adequate evidence and reason as to why you were denied warranty. Consider copying and/or contacting the state Attourney General's office as well. The manufacturer almost always loses in court. Rarely have I seen anything (at least here in the Southeast) work in our favor - even when the customer is clearly wrong. We usually do what we can to keep it out of court.

Above all, keep your cool and be professional. Present a solid case and back up your argument with as many facts as possible. Accentuate your love for the product and/or loyalty to the manufacturer. It works to your favor. Some customers are total idiots. I had many people make demands such as "you need to pay to paint my 200,000 mile minivan so I can trade it in on someone else's product 'cause yours sucks and I'll never buy another one." Let me think about that for a minute... Hmmm, Hell no, go away?
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#8 johnf440

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 12:27 AM

I took the heads off my '90 GT when it had 3500 miles on it.

- Chad

..In my parents' garage when I was maybe 16. Talk about scaring the shit out of somebody. I'll never forget my dad coming down there at 2:30 AM because the air compressor woke him up and asking what the hell we were doing to the car. Chad tells him and he just walks away, shaking his head.

The guy's got massive balls of steel. Trust me. He earned them.
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#9 Calevra


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Posted 15 August 2008 - 09:51 PM

It will not void the warranty because it is a ford racing charger the only catch is im almost positiive they have to put it on. :gunner:

#10 lookin4you

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 10:57 AM

I worked for 2 dealers - it all comes down to - if the servcie manager wants to cover it.

Edited by lookin4you, 26 November 2008 - 10:58 AM.

#11 fkn-fstlx



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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:41 PM

I worked for 2 dealers - it all comes down to - if the servcie manager wants to cover it.

agree 100% I had a guy come in with a cold air kit on his new f150 and it through a code and put it in limp mode i coverd it, then I had a guy come in with a new mustang, broke rear end slick tires found out was doing doughnuts in the dirt and caught some pavement yeah not covered, again to it all depends on ford and if they recall the part, or if you have an extended warranty ford ESP will send an inspector down to examine the vehicle , I have even had ford themselves down on a factory bumper to bumper for 5 speeds grinding in second, looking for abuse.

then we have the wonderful 126 report if anyone here works at a dealership in managment they will know what im talking about, that plays a big part on what us service managers do to

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#12 mustang1993

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 04:00 PM

Its all up to the dealer if they will warr.

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