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How to Avoid Voiding a Car Warranty

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  April 5, 2024

A car warranty is a promise from the manufacturer to cover repairs and replacements for a set time. But what happens if you inadvertently void your car warranty? Our experienced California lemon law attorney explains why warranties get voided and how to prevent it from happening here. 


What Is a Car Warranty?

A car warranty is a contract between the vehicle manufacturer and the owner that guarantees coverage for certain repairs and replacement during a specified timeframe. When you purchase a new car from a dealership, it typically comes with a manufacturer’s warranty; this ensures the manufacturer will bear the cost of repairing any defects or malfunctions that occur within the warranty period.


What Does a Car Warranty Cover?

Car warranties can differ based on the manufacturer and specific terms. However, most cover the internal or mechanical parts of the vehicle, such as the engine, transmission, and electric system.

Some warranties provide comprehensive coverage, often referred to as “bumper-to-bumper” warranties, which include nearly all parts of the car. On the other hand, powertrain warranties usually focus on the engine and transmission.

It’s important to note that car warranties don’t typically cover routine maintenance tasks like oil changes or brake replacements. They also might not cover accidents, misuse, or natural disasters.


Why Does It Matter If My Warranty Is Void?

If you void your warranty, it can cause big problems. Firstly, it means you’ll no longer be eligible for the benefits and protections the warranty provides. If a covered issue arises, you’ll have to cover the repair costs out of pocket.

Additionally, a voided warranty can affect your ability to seek legal remedies under lemon laws or file a breach of warranty claim.


What Voids a Car Warranty?

Knowing what can cancel your car warranty is crucial for keeping your coverage intact. Here are some everyday things that can void your warranty:


  1. Failure to Follow Maintenance Schedule
  2. Ignoring the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer can void your warranty. Regular tasks like oil changes, filter replacements, and alignments are important for your car’s health and coverage. Keep records of all maintenance to prove it’s been done.


  3. Modifying Your Car
  4. Making unauthorized modifications to your vehicle, such as adding aftermarket parts or altering its systems, can void your warranty. While not all changes void the warranty automatically, any damage they cause might not be covered. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines and get professional advice before making any modifications.


  5. Misuse of the Vehicle
  6. Using your car for racing, off-roading, or overloading it beyond its capacity can void your warranty. Manufacturers define vehicle misuse differently, so familiarize yourself with the terms outlined in your contract.


  7. Salvage Title
  8. If your car has been declared a total loss due to extensive damage and has been issued a salvage title, your warranty will likely be voided. Salvage titles mean the car has had major repairs and might not meet safety standards anymore.


  9. Natural Disasters
  10. Damage caused by natural disasters, such as floods, fires, or earthquakes, is typically not covered by car warranties. These events are considered beyond the manufacturer’s control and fall outside the scope of warranty coverage.


    Car Warranty FAQs


    Does Changing Your Own Oil Void Warranty?

    No, changing your oil doesn’t automatically void your car warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects consumers’ rights to perform vehicle maintenance and repairs without voiding the warranty.

    However, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use recommended fluids and parts when performing any maintenance tasks. Keep records of the oil changes you’ve done to demonstrate proper upkeep.


    Can You Take a Car Under Warranty to Any Dealership?

    Yes, you’re not obligated to have your car serviced exclusively at the dealership to maintain your warranty coverage. The Magnusion-Moss Warranty Act ensures you can choose where to service your vehicle as long as the work is performed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You can take your car to independent mechanics or reputable auto repair shops without fear of voiding your warranty.


    Have Questions? Contact Our California Lemon Law Attorneys Today!

    If you run into any problems or have concerns about your car warranty, consult a trusted legal professional who specializes in lemon law cases. Norman Taylor & Associates is a California lemon law firm with over three decades of experience protecting consumers’ rights.

    Contact us today to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation.

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