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What Can Void a Car Warranty?

Law Offices of Kevin Faulk March 28, 2024

Understanding the actions or inactions that can void your car warranty is essential for all vehicle owners. A warranty is a contract between you and the automaker or dealership, which promises to take care of or compensate you for any manufacturer defects for a specified period.  

In California, consumer vehicles are protected under what is commonly referred to as the "Lemon Law." This law mandates a minimum warranty coverage that protects consumers against defective new and, sometimes, used vehicles that are sold or leased in California. Specifically, for new vehicles, the minimum warranty period typically lasts for either 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.  

This coverage guarantees that any defects that significantly affect the use, value, or safety of the vehicle will be repaired by the manufacturer. However, certain actions or circumstances can void this warranty, leaving you responsible for repair costs. A comprehensive list of factors that can void a car warranty include:  

  • Title Issues: A change in the vehicle's title, such as the vehicle being deemed a total loss, can void a warranty.  

  • Unauthorized Modifications: Depending on the provider, certain modifications to the vehicle may void a warranty.  

  • Misusing Your Vehicle: Using the vehicle for purposes it is not intended for, such as street racing, off-roading, or competitive driving events, can void a warranty.  

  • Altering the Odometer: Any tampering or altering of the odometer can void a warranty. It is considered an act of fraud, which voids the contract between you and the warranty provider. 

  • Lack of Maintenance: Failing to properly maintain the vehicle, such as missing oil changes or using improper fluids, can void a warranty.  

  • Ignoring the Maintenance Schedule: Not adhering to the manufacturer's prescribed maintenance schedule could lead to a voided warranty.  

  • Having a Salvage Title: If a vehicle has been in a severe accident and is given a salvage title, the warranty is usually voided.  

  • Environmental Damage: Damages resulting from natural disasters like fires, floods, or earthquakes are typically not covered under warranties.

  • Aftermarket Parts or Modifications: Installing aftermarket parts or making modifications to your vehicle can void a warranty, especially if they cause damage to the vehicle.  

  • Improper Maintenance Without Detailed Service Records: Not keeping detailed records of all maintenance performed on the vehicle could lead to a voided warranty.

  • Failure to Follow Warranty Coverage Guidelines: Ignoring the guidelines and terms outlined in the warranty contract can result in the warranty being voided. 

  • Denial of Warranty Claim Unfairly by Service Adviser: If this happens, reach out to us at the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk. We're here to help protect your rights.  

Remember, understanding what can void a car warranty is crucial for every vehicle owner. If you have questions regarding the state of your vehicle or need assistance with a car warranty dispute, reach out to us at the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk.   

Understanding the Importance of Proper Vehicle Maintenance  

One of the most common factors that can void a car warranty is neglecting regular maintenance. Each vehicle comes with a recommended maintenance schedule from the manufacturer, which includes tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, and other inspections. If you fail to adhere to this schedule, it could result in your warranty being voided.   

Why does this matter? Regular maintenance helps keep your car in optimal condition and can prevent smaller issues from escalating into more serious problems. If you neglect maintenance tasks, it could be seen as a lack of proper care for your vehicle, which may lead to a denied claim. The following are a few ways to keep up with vehicle maintenance:   

  • Regularly Check and Change the Oil: Oil is the lifeblood of your engine which ensures smooth operation and prevents damage. Follow your manufacturer's recommendations for oil change intervals and use the recommended oil type. Keep a record of all oil changes for warranty purposes.  

  • Maintain Fluid Levels: Regularly check and maintain the proper levels of various fluids in your vehicle, including coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. Using the correct fluids as outlined in your owner's manual is also critical.  

  • Monitor Tire Pressure and Condition: Ensure your tires are properly inflated and rotate them regularly for even wear. This helps optimize vehicle handling, fuel efficiency, and tire lifespan.  

  • Follow the Recommended Maintenance Schedule: Adhere to the maintenance schedule provided by the vehicle manufacturer. This typically includes tune-ups, filter changes, alignments, and other inspections.  

  • Keep Your Vehicle Clean: Regularly cleaning both the interior and exterior of your car can prevent damage and maintain its value.  

  • Promptly Address Warning Signals: Pay attention to warning lights or unusual noises and address them immediately. Ignoring these signals can lead to more serious problems and potentially void your warranty.  

  • Seek Professional Help When Needed: For complex maintenance tasks, consider seeking help from certified professionals. This ensures the job is done correctly and can prevent potential warranty issues.  

  • Keep Detailed Records: Maintain a record of all services, repairs, and maintenance performed on your vehicle. Keeping all your service records and receipts can help avoid any allegations of improper maintenance that may be brought against you during a claim.  

The Risk of Unauthorized Modifications  

Modifying your vehicle without the manufacturer's approval is another factor that can void your car warranty. This includes installing aftermarket parts or accessories that alter the original design or performance of the vehicle. While personalizing your car might be tempting, significant modifications can risk voiding your warranty.   

This doesn't mean you can't make any modifications. However, it's always best to consult with the manufacturer or dealership before making any changes to ensure you don't unknowingly void your warranty. If damage occurs due to unauthorized modifications, the repair costs will likely not be covered by the dealership or manufacturer.  

Protecting Your Car Warranty Rights With Kevin Faulk  

At the Law Offices of Kevin Faulk, we are dedicated to protecting your car warranty rights. If you believe your warranty has been wrongfully voided, or if you're dealing with issues related to auto fraud, we are here to help. Our team has years of experience dealing with car warranty disputes and can provide the guidance and representation you need.  

By maintaining your vehicle properly, avoiding unauthorized modifications, and keeping detailed records, you can protect your warranty and, ultimately, your investment in your vehicle. If you have any questions or need assistance with a car warranty dispute, reach out to us today. We serve clients throughout California and are committed to providing you with the advice and representation you need.