Whether you’re shopping for a replacement exhaust system or in the market for an aftermarket cold air intake—and you’re worried about your vehicle’s warranty—have no fear. AutoAnything is here to give you the 4-1-1 on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which protects consumers from being wrongfully denied warranty coverage when they customize their rides.
If you’re an auto enthusiast, chances are, you’ve heard the myth that modding your ride with aftermarket accessories automatically cancels your warranty. While this may be true in certain circumstances, you shouldn’t take this as an absolute. According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty of your vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket part was the cause of or contributed to the failure of the vehicle (15 U.S.C. 2302 (C)). This means that a vehicle's warranty cannot be "voided;" the dealer can only deny a claim if the stock part failed due to damage or unreasonable use.
When accessorizing your vehicle with aftermarket parts, your warranty claim cannot be automatically denied, nor can your warranty be voided, if you install non-OEM parts in your vehicle. The burden is on the dealer to prove the aftermarket parts caused the failure. For example, if your windshield wiper motors fail, your vehicle’s warranty claim can’t be denied because you installed aftermarket windshield wipers that are different from OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. Similarly, if a wheel bearing fails or a fan belt snaps and you have an aftermarket exhaust installed, the dealership would have to prove the exhaust system caused the bearing failure or the belt to snap in order to deny a warranty claim. In these types of scenarios, the dealership should have no reason to deny your claims.
In addition to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, you also have SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) working to protect your rights. Because SEMA represents U.S. aftermarket wholesalers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers, they often keep car manufacturers in check by supporting legislation that prevents dealership service providers from denying warranty coverage. This means dealerships have become less stringent when it comes to aftermarket parts that modify performance or suspension.
At AutoAnything, we only sell reputable brands that thoroughly test their products to ensure your vehicle stays in “the safe zone." Most of our performance parts are bolt-ons, which give you nice performance gains without requiring major modifications or internal engine work. In all reality, you shouldn’t have any problems due to installation of the parts we sell. But, here are a few pointers to avoid some potential pitfalls.
Make sure you install the part properly. Carefully follow the installation guides and make sure you check any tolerances. Educate yourself on the parts you’re installing; that’s half the fun of working on your vehicle. If the part is outside your comfort zone, have a professional install it for you.
If you need to go to the dealership for any type of warranty issue, choose them wisely, as they will vary in how they handle warranty claims. Check the Internet for reviews to see how they handle problems. If you’ve modified your vehicle with performance parts, it’s always best to work with a dealer that is performance-oriented. In smaller towns, you may not have a choice of dealerships, but rest assured that you’re still protected by the law. Also, if you have a performance tuner installed, it's not a bad idea to program your vehicle back to stock to ensure the dealer doesn’t accidentally reprogram your ride. Simply arm yourself with the knowledge contained on this page, and go in with a smile. No service department wants to deal with (or help) an irate customer. If they don’t want to cover your claim, simply ask them to prove what caused the failure and get it in writing. Remember, legally, you’re protected under the Magnuson-Moss Act.
Passed in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that governs warranties on consumer products. Under this Act, sellers and manufacturers of consumer products must provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage. Sponsored by Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and U.S. Representative John E. Moss of California, this Act affects both the obligations of warrantors and the rights of consumers under written warranties.
The Act’s purpose is to help consumers understand their products’ warranties and to make these warranties enforceable. In essence, this statute was created to protect consumers from deceptive warranty practices and provide clarity regarding warranties on consumer products. To comply with the Magnuson-Moss Act, consumers should obtain complete information about warranty items and conditions and compare warranty coverage before any purchase. The Act also provides the Federal Trade Commission with a better means to protect consumers, while strengthening the incentive for companies to perform their warranty obligations in a thorough and timely manner. While all consumer products are not required to have warranties, if one is given, it must comply with the Magnuson-Moss Act.
US Code - Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312
Table of Contents
15 U.S. Code § 2301 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
15 U.S. Code § 2302 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Full and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions; additional requirements for contents In order to improve the adequacy of information available to consumers, prevent deception, and improve competition in the marketing of consumer products, any warrantor warranting a consumer product to a consumer by means of a written warranty shall, to the extent required by rules of the Commission, fully and conspicuously disclose in simple and readily understood language the terms and conditions of such warranty. Such rules may require inclusion in the written warranty of any of the following items among others:
(b) Availability of terms to consumer; manner and form for presentation and display of information; duration; extension of period for written warranty or service contract.
(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if -
(d) Incorporation by reference of detailed substantive warranty provisions The Commission may by rule devise detailed substantive warranty provisions which warrantors may incorporate by reference in their warranties.
(e) Applicability to consumer products costing more than $5 The provisions of this section apply only to warranties which pertain to consumer products actually costing the consumer more than $5.
15 U.S. Code § 2303 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Full (statement of duration) or limited warranty Any warrantor warranting a consumer product by means of a written warranty shall clearly and conspicuously designate such warranty in the following manner, unless exempted from doing so by the Commission pursuant to subsection (c) of this section:
(b) Applicability of requirements, standards, etc., to representations or statements of customer satisfaction This section and sections 2302 and 2304 of this title shall not apply to statements or representations which are similar to expressions of general policy concerning customer satisfaction and which are not subject to any specific limitations.
(c) Exemptions by Commission In addition to exercising the authority pertaining to disclosure granted in section 2302 of this title, the Commission may by rule determine when a written warranty does not have to be designated either ''full (statement of duration)'' or ''limited'' in accordance with this section.
(d) Applicability to consumer products costing more than $10 and not designated as full warranties The provisions of subsections (a) and (c) of this section apply only to warranties which pertain to consumer products actually costing the consumer more than $10 and which are not designated "full (statement of duration) warranties".
15 U.S. Code § 2304 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Remedies under written warranty; duration of implied warranty; exclusion or limitation on consequential damages for breach of written or implied warranty; election of refund or replacement. In order for a warrantor warranting a consumer product by means of a written warranty to meet the Federal minimum standards for warranty -
(b) Duties and conditions imposed on consumer by warrantor
(c) Waiver of standards: The performance of the duties under subsection (a) of this section shall not be required of the warrantor if he can show that the defect, malfunction, or failure of any warranted consumer product to conform with a written warranty, was caused by damage (not resulting from defect or malfunction) while in the possession of the consumer, or unreasonable use (including failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance).
(d) Remedy without charge For purposes of this section and of section 2302(c) of this title, the term ''without charge'' means that the warrantor may not assess the consumer for any costs the warrantor or his representatives incur in connection with the required remedy of a warranted consumer product. An obligation under subsection (a)(1)(A) of this section to remedy without charge does not necessarily require the warrantor to compensate the consumer for incidental expenses; however, if any incidental expenses are incurred because the remedy is not made within a reasonable time or because the warrantor imposed an unreasonable duty upon the consumer as a condition of securing remedy, then the consumer shall be entitled to recover reasonable incidental expenses which are so incurred in any action against the warrantor.
(e) Incorporation of standards to products designated with full warranty for purposes of judicial actions If a supplier designates a warranty applicable to a consumer product as a ''full (statement of duration)'' warranty, then the warranty on such product shall, for purposes of any action under section 2310(d) of this title or under any State law, be deemed to incorporate at least the minimum requirements of this section and rules prescribed under this section.
15 U.S. Code § 2305 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the selling of a consumer product which has both full and limited warranties if such warranties are clearly and conspicuously differentiated.
15 U.S. Code § 2306 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) The Commission may prescribe by rule the manner and form in which the terms and conditions of service contracts shall be fully, clearly, and conspicuously disclosed.
(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a supplier or warrantor from entering into a service contract with the consumer in addition to or in lieu of a written warranty if such contract fully, clearly, and conspicuously discloses its terms and conditions in simple and readily understood language.
15 U.S. Code § 2307 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent any warrantor from designating representatives to perform duties under the written or implied warranty: Provided, That such warrantor shall make reasonable arrangements for compensation of such designated representatives, but no such designation shall relieve the warrantor of his direct responsibilities to the consumer or make the representative a co-warrantor.
15 U.S. Code § 2308 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Restrictions on disclaimers or modifications No supplier may disclaim or modify (except as provided in subsection (b) of this section) any implied warranty to a consumer with respect to such consumer product if
(b) Limitation on duration For purposes of this chapter (other than section 2304(a)(2) of this title), implied warranties may be limited in duration to the duration of a written warranty of reasonable duration, if such limitation is conscionable and is set forth in clear and unmistakable language and prominently displayed on the face of the warranty.
(c) Effectiveness of disclaimers, modifications, or limitations A disclaimer, modification, or limitation made in violation of this section shall be ineffective for purposes of this chapter and State law.
15 U.S. Code § 2309 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Oral presentation Any rule prescribed under this chapter shall be prescribed in accordance with section 553 of title 5; except that the Commission shall give interested persons an opportunity for oral presentations of data, views, and arguments, in addition to written submissions. A transcript shall be kept of any oral presentation. Any such rule shall be subject to judicial review under section 57a(e) of this title in the same manner as rules prescribed under section 57a(a)(1)(B) of this title, except that section 57a(e)(3)(B) of this title shall not apply.
(b) Warranties and warranty practices involved in sale of used motor vehicles The Commission shall initiate within one year after January 4, 1975, a rulemaking proceeding dealing with warranties and warranty practices in connection with the sale of used motor vehicles; and, to the extent necessary to supplement the protections offered the consumer by this chapter, shall prescribe rules dealing with such warranties and practices. In prescribing rules under this subsection, the Commission may exercise any authority it may have under this chapter, or other law, and in addition it may require disclosure that a used motor vehicle is sold without any warranty and specify the form and content of such disclosure.
15 U.S. Code § 2310 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Informal dispute settlement procedures; establishment; rules setting forth minimum requirements; effect of compliance by warrantor; review of informal procedures or implementation by Commission; application to existing informal procedures
(b) Prohibited acts It shall be a violation of section 45(a)(1) of this title for any person to fail to comply with any requirement imposed on such person by this chapter (or a rule thereunder) or to violate any prohibition contained in this chapter (or a rule thereunder).
(c) Injunction proceedings by Attorney General or Commission for deceptive warranty, noncompliance with requirements, or violating prohibitions; procedures; definitions
(d) Civil action by consumer for damages, etc.; jurisdiction; recovery of costs and expenses; cognizable claims
(e) Class actions; conditions; procedures applicable No action (other than a class action or an action respecting a warranty to which subsection (a)(3) of this section applies) may be brought under subsection (d) of this section for failure to comply with any obligation under any written or implied warranty or service contract, and a class of consumers may not proceed in a class action under such subsection with respect to such a failure except to the extent the court determines necessary to establish the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs, unless the person obligated under the warranty or service contract is afforded a reasonable opportunity to cure such failure to comply. In the case of such a class action (other than a class action respecting a warranty to which subsection (a)(3) of this section applies) brought under subsection (d) of this section for breach of any written or implied warranty or service contract, such reasonable opportunity will be afforded by the named plaintiffs and they shall at that time notify the defendant that they are acting on behalf of the class. In the case of such a class action which is brought in a district court of the United States, the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs shall be established in the application of rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(f) Warrantors subject to enforcement of remedies For purposes of this section, only the warrantor actually making a written affirmation of fact, promise, or undertaking shall be deemed to have created a written warranty, and any rights arising thereunder may be enforced under this section only against such warrantor and no other person.
15 U.S. Code § 2311 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Federal Trade Commission Act and Federal Seed Act
(b) Rights, remedies, and liabilities
(c) State warranty laws
(d) Other Federal warranty laws This chapter (other than section 2302(c) of this title) shall be inapplicable to any written warranty the making or content of which is otherwise governed by Federal law. If only a portion of a written warranty is so governed by Federal law, the remaining portion shall be subject to this chapter.
15 U.S. Code § 2312 provides the following for the purposes of this chapter:
(a) Effective date of chapter Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, this chapter shall take effect 6 months after January 4, 1975, but shall not apply to consumer products manufactured prior to such date.
(b) Effective date of section 2302(a) Section 2302(a) of this title shall take effect 6 months after the final publication of rules respecting such section; except that the Commission, for good cause shown, may postpone the applicability of such sections until one year after such final publication in order to permit any designated classes of suppliers to bring their written warranties into compliance with rules promulgated pursuant to this chapter.
(c) Promulgation of rules The Commission shall promulgate rules for initial implementation of this chapter as soon as possible after January 4, 1975, but in no event later than one year after such date.