You have a brand-new set of wheels and you’re eager to put your personal stamp on your shiny new car. But wait—you should hit the brakes first. Before making any modifications, you should check that the changes won’t void the vehicle warranty.
You can locate the vehicle warranty in your owner’s manual. Read the fine print to learn what modifications are allowed. You can also look up your vehicle warranty by your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN).
If you want to make modifications to your vehicle and have concerns about whether the warranty will remain intact, contact the manufacturer for questions regarding the manufacturer’s warranty or your auto dealership if you purchased an extended warranty. They should be able to speak specifically to your vehicle and what type of modifications are allowed.
Generally speaking, though, there are some modifications that will void your vehicle warranty and some that won’t. We’ll discuss the common modifications that are typically allowed as well as some that aren’t.
Three Modifications That Will Likely Void Your Vehicle Warranty
1. Installing Aftermarket Parts
An aftermarket part is a vehicle part that is made by someone other than the original equipment manufacturer. Any damage caused by the installation of aftermarket parts will typically void your vehicle warranty. If you need to replace a part on your vehicle, you should ensure it meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
However, installing an aftermarket part may not void your vehicle warranty on its own. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that outlines rules and standards for consumer product warranties. The act prohibits warrantors from conditioning vehicle coverage on the use of authorized repair services and/or authorized replacement parts if the services and parts are not covered by the warranty. But it’s important to keep in mind that the warrantor can deny coverage if a vehicle defect or damage was caused by the use of unauthorized parts.
Therefore, you run a risk when installing aftermarket parts or using aftermarket accessories with your vehicle. If your warrantor can prove that a vehicle defect or damage was caused by the use of the aftermarket part, it will not be covered.
2. Altering the Odometer
Tampering with or altering your odometer will typically void your vehicle warranty. Many vehicle warranties, for example, will cover warranty service for a certain period of time or for a certain number of miles, typically whichever comes first. So if you tamper with the odometer by turning back the mileage or altering it in any other way, you will void your warranty.
This is important to keep in mind if you are purchasing a vehicle from someone other than a reputable, authorized dealer. A seller, for instance, may intentionally roll back the odometer to make it appear to the buyer the vehicle has less mileage than it actually does. So be cautious when buying used vehicles and only purchase from a seller you trust.
3. Using Improper Fluids
Proper maintenance is a key part of ensuring your vehicle warranty remains valid. Part of that is using the proper fluids. While you can change your own oil, for instance, you should be sure that you’re putting the correct type of oil in your vehicle.
Likewise, if you accidentally fill your gas tank with diesel fuel at the gas pump, it could affect your warranty coverage. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for how to properly maintain your vehicle, always use the correct fluids, and change your fluids according to the recommended maintenance schedule.
Three Modifications That Typically Won’t Void Your Warranty
1. Exterior Modifications
When you purchase a new car, it’s natural to want to personalize it and make it feel like yours. Most exterior vehicle modifications that only alter the appearance of the vehicle, not its function, will not void your warranty. For instance, if you want to paint your vehicle another color, add a design, or customize its trim, your vehicle warranty should remain intact.
If you want to alter your vehicle’s look to match your personality and style, you should feel free to do so. Just be sure that the modifications you make do not alter the vehicle’s performance or function in any way.
You may find that you want to upgrade your vehicle’s lighting. Enhancing the headlights or taillights of your vehicle can improve safety by helping you see better at night. For instance, LED lights are typically brighter than halogen bulbs. They also cover a wider area, meaning roadsides are usually illuminated better. They can also help conserve energy so that you have to change the bulbs less often. An added benefit? It’s unlikely to void your warranty so you can change your vehicle lights with peace of mind.
You may find that you want to switch out the wheels on your vehicle for a smoother ride. Good news— changing out your wheels is unlikely to void your vehicle warranty.
Lightweight wheels can improve fuel efficiency and vehicle performance. But you may simply want to change out your wheels because you prefer a different aesthetic. That’s okay, too. Whatever your reasons for making the change, your vehicle warranty should remain unaffected.
This is an overview of just a few of the vehicle modifications that will and will not void your vehicle warranty. Have more questions about what you should or should not do when it comes to buying a new vehicle? Reach out to your local dealership and ask. They can let you know what is covered by your vehicle warranty when you purchase a new or pre-owned car or truck.
If you live in Oregon and have questions about your Toyota vehicle warranty, the team at Beaverton Toyota can help. In the market for a new vehicle? We can help with that too. Visit our lot and let’s find you a brand-new set of wheels. Of course, if you want to change those wheels out later, you can!