The most frequent question we get on any of our products for newer vehicles is ‘How will the installation of this part effect or compromise my vehicle’s factory warranty?’. Our parts have seen a lot of mileage and a lot of trips to the dealership and we have seen a lot of different scenarios as it relates to factory warranty claims. The bottom line is -your experience all depends on your dealership, and different dealerships have different attitudes when it comes to aftermarket parts. We have seen dealerships do factory warranty replacements for Turbocharged Mazdaspeed engines and put our downpipe and intakes right back on the car when they’re finished without batting an eye. We’ve also seen other dealerships just take a single look at a car with a full turboback exhaust, intake and front mount intercooler and cry ‘void.’
Anecdotal evidence and your experience with the dealership process aside, the bottom line is the law. In this case, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act is the end all -be all when it comes to aftermarket parts on a factory warranty car. This act requires that there is substantial evidence by the party offering the warranty to link the warranty claim to some cause of the modification prior to denying a claim to the warranty -meaning if you put an intake on your Mazda3 and your oil pump fails, the manufacturer needs to be able to tell you how that the addition of the intake was the actual cause of the failure of the pump. What this means from the anecdotal perspective is all those ‘boy who cried wolf’ episodes of dealers seeing a Peterbilt intercooler on the front of a Speed6 and screaming ‘VOID!’ are nothing but posturing and are in effect an illegal violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. Especially when these posturing episodes are not even linked to a warranty claim in the first place.
But hey, if you come in with a hole the size of Alaska in your #2 piston and a giant slice out of the block when your connecting rod took a vacation from its duties at 7000rpm and you have a manual boost controller installed or have obviously forgotten to connect the boost control solenoid line and were running 26psi of scalding hot boost, you’re going to be in for an uphill battle. Further investigation and pressing your dealer in such a situation to provide the connection between the modification and the warranty claim to show causal relationship between the modification and warranty claim will generally motivate higher degrees of cooperation. Some of the links at the end of this blog post will give you further information on contesting warranty claims and the unique options that the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act provides for mediation of these disputes -they’re very consumer friendly methods of resolution.
The best thing to do to prevent heartache and investment of unnecessary time and effort is to find a local servicing dealership who is amicable to the addition of bolt on parts for your car. Many dealerships sell aftermarket equipment in their parts departments. We even have a number of Mazda dealerships who are regular customers of ours and install our parts for their customers. It is really in the best interest of any dealership to make their customers see the car they have purchased as custom and their own, and most dealerships realize this and do their best to take advantage of the opportunity. Some ways that you can find the best dealerships in your area are to ask around on local and national enthusiast forums like http://www.mazdas247.com or http://www.mazda3forums.com and other more regional (like our own local http://www.mazdasnw.com) and model specific forums for your area and model of car. Often times these forums have permanently linked threads discussing reviews of shops and dealerships for their members.
For futher information on the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, you can read up on it in a few articles linked below:
Hopefully this information provides you with the peace of mind necessary to make decisions on which modifications you’d like to accomplish on your vehicle and the confidence you need to work with your dealer if they have any issues with the choices you have made in customizing your vehicle.
All of the FACTS aside, it’s important to remember that whichever dealership you choose, your professionalism and courtesy toward their concerns will go a long way in garnering a decent amount of mutual respect. Treat your parts and service guys and gals right and they will take care of you. Whether it’s just a smile and friendly conversation to establish a relationship with the people who work on your car or a box of Krispy Kreme donuts*, the respect you show to your dealership should be commensurate to the amount of respect and cooperation you would expect from them. They work hard to keep your car in tip-top shape and a lot of times I think their work is taken for granted -but if they know you’re not one of the people who’ll only talk to them when your dissatisfied, they’ll go the extra mile for you.
*Great idea on the donuts from Ryan up in Seattle…