One automotive topic laced with confusion is whether modifying your car will void its warranty. The short answer is No, but you still need to know what that means if you plan on modifying your late model car.

I’ve written about this before but that was a long time ago. A year ago? How long have I been asleep?! So in this week’s podcast, I talk about the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and what it DOES and what it DOES NOT do regarding this.

It does say that manufacturers cannot condition their warranties upon you using certain brands of parts. So you are free to take any part off your car and replace it with another. Except -

The act also says that the manufacturer only has to honor their warranties so far as there is a defect or nonconformity that is the fault of the manufacturer. And if your replacement part caused the problem, then they don’t have to fix it.

Gray areas much? Of course. If you used a non OEM windshield and your catalytic converter went bad, they couldn’t deny the claim because of the window glass.

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But you put in a new performance chip and slapped in a turbocharger that makes a little more boost - and your engine now runs rough? They might be okay with telling you that the likely suspect here is your modification. And if so, they are within their rights to deny your claim.

But they won’t “void your warranty.” They’ll just deny that claim. Might seem like a minor difference but it’s an important one. So, I discuss the above and more in this week’s Lehto’s Law.

Here is the audio:

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And here is the video:

Follow me on Twitter: @stevelehto

Hear my podcast on iTunes: Lehto’s Law

Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 23 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.

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