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Know What Can Void Your Cars Warranty (And Avoid It)- Autohitch

7 Reasons Why You Voided Your Car’s Warranty (2024 Guide)

How To Check Your Cars Warranty:

You can easily Check Your Cars Warranty Status by obtaining a Carfax Report or by using a Car Shopping Service similar to ours here at Autohitch.

What voids car warranties can vary, along with their ramifications. For example: Simply messing up one part under the hood doesn’t mean the entire engine is now void of any coverage. 

One sure way to know if you have voided your car’s warranty is to wait until it breaks and head in for service, but who wants to end up in that position? 

Related Article to Read: Car Mods That Won’t Void Your Warranty

So, let’s jump in and address 7 reasons why you voided your cars warranty:

What Does it Mean to Void Your Warranty?

Voiding a car warranty means that the manufacturer’s warranty coverage on the vehicle becomes invalid or nullified due to certain actions taken by the owner.

7 Most Common Reasons a Car Warranty is Voided:

7 Actions That Can Void a Car Warranty
Severe accident resulting in a salvage/rebuilt title
Misusing the vehicle (e.g., racing, overloading, off-road use not intended by design)
Failing to follow the recommended maintenance schedule
Using improper fluids or neglecting routine services
Installing aftermarket parts that cause component failure
Tampering with or disconnecting the odometer
Damage from environmental disasters (e.g., floods, fires)
7 Common Reasons a Car Warranty is Voided

Do I have to get my car serviced at the dealership to keep my warranty

One of the most popular questions I am asked, and that I see all across the internet, relates to if the dealership is the only place you can take a car under warranty. 

The Law doesn’t require you to get your service done at the dealership, but it does allow for the manufacturer or the dealership to mandate that you use only certain repair facilities. 

You see, what most people aren’t aware of is that the dealership isn’t simply “covered” for any work they do on warrantied cars.

Related Articles To Read:

Custom Vehicle Modifications And Aftermarket Parts/Accessories

Here is one voiding factor that is all over the place in terms of definition. 

Many out there think that simply adding a part not considered “Stock” or “Factory Built” is grounds for most or all of your warranty to be voided, and although many dealers would like you to think that, you should know that isn’t really true. 

Simply having a custom or aftermarket part installed on your vehicle isn’t the determining factor, the service department of the dealership must prove that the part was a contributing factor in whatever damage occurred.

Protected By Law

Thankfully back in the 70’s (1975 to be exact) they actually passed a law [Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act]. This law stated that a dealer MUST prove aftermarket parts were the cause of any damage BEFORE being able to deny any aspect of a vehicle’s warranty. 

However, if no direct cause is discovered upon the initial inspection, the burden of proof shifts a bit, and now the dealer can charge you for a full diagnosis, which you are obligated to pay for. If the diagnosis uncovers that your part did not have any effect on the damage, you are covered and the cost of the diagnosis is refunded. 

If it is discovered that your parts did cause the damage, well, you know what happens…

Don’t be a red flag to the dealership

Dealership service departments are constantly on the lookout for anyone tampering with a vehicle under warranty, and before anyone gets upset with that remember- It’s their job! If you want that custom K&N Air Intake for the extra 15 horsepower you need to consider if at the most it’s worth losing your warranties, or at the least it’s worth a struggle every time you have a mechanical issue.

Extended Warranty Red Flags

Neglecting Your Vehicle & Your Warranty

Hard as it may be to believe, or maybe not, but there are people out there who never take their car in for service and go years without getting so much as even an oil change. 

Problem is that this type of thing leads to MAJOR problems and if it is discovered that a clear lack of care for the vehicle was at fault, or even that you just never paid any attention to the vehicles scheduled maintenance, it will be an easy decision to void your warranty and not cover any of the resulting damage.

Don’t Use Dity Or Improper Fluids

This one isn’t so much of an issue anymore because so many more people just rely on the dealership for service during their warranty, but if you put brake fluid in the power steering fluid, or oil into the transmission, you will be the proud recipient of a voided warranty for the affected parts. Also, always use the correct Octane fuel (87/89/93) and be careful about the new ethanol mixes and the diesel pumps at the gas station.


Mother Nature And Total Loss or Salvage Vehicles

If your vehicle was flooded or damaged as the result of any other great natural disaster, your warranty is voided. Additionally, if your vehicle was declared salvaged or marked down as a total loss by the insurance company, the entire vehicle’s warranty is canceled out.

Mother Nature And Total Loss or Salvage Vehicles

Improper or Misuese of A Vehicle Can Void Warranties

We could get in the weeds a bit here, but generally, this refers to you using your vehicle in any way that could be considered “Outside of the norm”

So if you take your Honda Civic off roading= Outside of the norm.

Sometimes this stuff only affects certain parts of the car, but if the damage was bad enough they can void the entire warranty. Probably one of the most common mistakes people make is street racing. 

You may have a vehicle with high-performance gear, but that may not mean they feel it within their warranty to take it to the strip and race for slips (Pink slips-Titles). 

And don’t be surprised if you find out dealers have access to race records in an attempt to see what you have been up to, because those records aren’t difficult to get along with tons of pictures, and they have been known to pull it off.

Off Roading:

Another trap most car buyers are never made aware of until it is too late. If you think that buying a 4X4 Off Road means you can do anything off the road and be covered,


Edmunds even tells of a story where they were testing a truck in the desert and took it lightly off road at about 10-15 mph. 

Noticing it wasn’t driving the same on the way back they took it in for service and sure enough the dealership tried to say the struts (that were all blown) were used in excess and that they wouldn’t be covering the repairs. 

If in doubt, call the dealership before doing anything questionable, or I guess, even remotely questionable.

Altered Odometer

This isn’t the same widespread problem that is used to be, but if a dealer is able to determine something isn’t right with the odometer they will void out the entire warranty,

Does a car accident void the warranty on a car?


Only an accident that results in a salvage or branded title can void a vehicle’s warranty. 

That being said, if the shop that repairs your vehicle’s damage replaces any stock parts with aftermarket parts, a dealership may try to blame those parts for separate damage down the road which COULD result in a voided warranty. 

To avoid this I would alert the insurance company and/or the repair shop (In writing) to your warranty status so they can make proper arrangements to use only approved parts.

Does lowering a car void warranty?

Absolutely! You may not void the entire warranty, in fact, you won’t, but if you did something like adding lowering springs, you will certainly void any part of the warranty that is associated with the suspension.

Another example are coilovers: If you add coilovers to lower the car, this won’t void the warranty for the entire car because clearly the coilovers wouldnt cause the air conditioner to fail after 6 months, but dont expect anything related to your suspension to be covered going forward.

Does changing suspension void warranty?

Yes, if you alter your suspension in any way or install any parts that exceed the manufacturer’s specifications, there is a good to definite chance that your entire suspension will have its warranty voided.

Lifting a Car

I haven’t specifically mentioned lifting yet so let me get this out of the way: Yes, lifting a truck is a form of changing the suspension, so it would void the warranty as it related to any part of the vehicles suspension.

Does a performance chip void warranty

Do performance chips void a cars warranty

Yes, performance chips can and likely will result in your warranty being voided as they are designed to maximize or place added stress on certain parts of the vehicle. 

Although it could be argued that these “stresses” are still within the limits that the vehicle can reasonably handle, they will be considered to be outside of the vehicles “Normal everyday use” and that will make canceling your warranty easy in the eyes of the dealership/manufacturer.

Do exhaust systems void a cars warranty

Cold Air Intake Installation And Car Warranties (The Bottom Line)

This is going to be similar to air intakes as they don’t “REALLY” hurt the vehicle but, most certainly qualify as aftermarket parts that push the vehicle beyond it’s everyday use. 

The biggest hurdle for the dealerships service department here would be proving that an aftermarket exhaust really caused related damage somewhere else in the vehicle. 

Is the exhaust worth possibly losing a significant part of your hard earned warranty? That’s for you to decide.

Does an accident void a car warranty?

A car accident itself doesn’t automatically void the entire manufacturer’s warranty on a vehicle. However, there are some important exceptions:

  • If the vehicle is declared a total loss by the insurance company and given a salvage/rebuilt title, this will typically void the remaining factory warranty coverage.
  • Damage directly caused by the accident to specific components like the engine, transmission, suspension etc. may not be covered under warranty. The manufacturer is not obligated to repair parts broken due to the accident.
  • As long as the accident did not directly damage the component that needs warranty repair (e.g. water pump, electrical issue etc.), and that component failed due to a manufacturing defect, it should still be covered under warranty.
  • Using non-OEM or non-approved aftermarket parts during accident repairs could potentially void warranty coverage on those repaired areas in the future, per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • The warranty remains valid for unrepaired areas of the vehicle not impacted by the accident damage.

Tips for avoiding problems with your car’s warranty

How to use your cars warranty

Tips for avoiding problems with your cars warranty

Adult baseball and softball players (Some anyway) have a little trick they do to get a new bat for free- They buy a bat with a standard 365-day warranty, and just before that warranty runs out, they find a way to get it to crack. 

The result= New bat! Now, I’m not advising you to break your car! However, if your warranty is coming to an end and your car is still running fine, know that you need to take it in any way. 

They can and must repair anything wrong even if you are unaware of the problem. 

Why? Well, if God forbid something happens to you and it is the result of a defect or a repair they did not resolve and should have, they are in serious financial trouble. So, get in there before the deadline, even if you have to rent a car, it’s worth it!

Pay attention to your service schedule

This is one of the easiest ways to void your warranty, as we discussed in some length above. 

Most dealers are pretty good about reminding you of your service requirements, mainly because they want to get you back in to buy more stuff or even flip you into a newer car, but if those emails go to junk you need to be aware of when it’s time to head in. 

A good rule of thumb is to set a reminder for the 3k mile oil change. Many newer cars already signal an alert that you are at that mark, but sometimes people know these newer cars can handle longer intervals so they reset it and ride on. 

Convenience isn’t worth risking your vehicle’s warranty.

Keep all of your service records

Anything you get done on the car should go directly into a file in your home. The first reason being to prove you had service done if there is a claim of neglect. The second to be to document what was done in case you went outside of the dealership for any additional work such as tires, oil, etc…

Read over your warranty in full

All that time you spend in the dealership? Use it to read over your warranty. Better yet, research each manufacturers warranty while deciding on a car. The best way to be caught by surprise is to have never known in the first place!

Don’t always take no for an answer

As we discussed earlier, the voiding of warranties isn’t all that cut and dry.

You may get a service manager who is more strict than usual, or maybe they have had some repairs not covered by the manufacturer lately and that has caused them to go on defense.

Either way, there is a chain of command that you can appeal to, and you should. If that doesn’t work and you are dead set that you are being wronged, you can appeal to your State Attorney GeneralLocal Consumer Protection Office, and/or the FTC.

My Final Thoughts

If you are still with me, I thank you! As always,

I hope I have brought some level of assistance and knowledge to your car buying and in this case, car ownership journey, as it relates to voided vehicle warranties. 

As always- If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact us using the general contact form on our home page. We do not sell your information to anyone! Thank you again, and happy car shopping!

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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