In a Consumer Alert issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency confirmed that “The Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for companies to void your automobile warranty or deny coverage under the warranty simply because you used an aftermarket part.” The alert outlines key provisions in the law that provides protections to car owners. As defined by the FTC, an “aftermarket' part is a part made by a company other than the vehicle manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer.”
“The FTC’s reference to aftermarket parts is equally applicable to specialty parts,” said Russ Deane, SEMA’s General Counsel.
“Under the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, the warranty cannot be conditioned to a specific brand of parts, services or vehicle modifications unless those parts or services are provided free of charge.”
The alert notes that a consumer has the right to patronize independent retail stores and repair shops for parts and service without fear of voiding the new car warranty. The dealer/vehicle manufacturer has the right to deny a warranty repair but they must demonstrate that the aftermarket part caused the problem. The warranty remains in effect for all other covered parts. The FTC alert may be downloaded using this link:
CAN AN AUTOMOTIVE DEALERSHIP VOID YOUR WARRANTY FOR INSTALLING AFTERMARKET OR PERFORMANCE PARTS?Your rights are protected through the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 USC, 2302, and the Clean Air Act, 42 USA § 7541. 1. You have the right to buy high-quality, reliable aftermarket performance and replacement parts – an affordable and convenient alternative to the vehicle maker’s parts. 2. You have the right to use high-quality aftermarket parts and know that your new car warranty claims will be honored. In fact, your vehicle dealer may not reject a warranty claim simply because an aftermarket product is present. A warranty denial in such circumstances may be proper only if the aftermarket part caused the failure being claimed. 3. You have the right to patronize independent retail stores for vehicle parts and installation. The U.S. aftermarket offers the world’s finest selection of aftermarket products that satisfy the most discriminating customers seeking personalized vehicles for today’s lifestyle. If a dealership denies a warranty claim and you think the claim falls under the rules explained above concerning the clean air act (such as an emission part failure), obtain a written explanation of the dealer’s refusal. If you would like further information on what to do and who to call if your new car warranty is denied, call the Federal Trade Commission at 202-326-3128
- SEMA M-M Act page (http://www.sema.org/sema-enews/2011/01/ftc-validates-right-to-install-aftermarket-parts)
- FTC.gov M-M Act page (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0138-auto-warranties-routine-maintenance)