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It’s a typical car enthusiast scenario. You’ve finally managed to buy the new or almost new car that you’ve wanted, and are pleased to find that it meets all your expectations. But soon, you start to wonder, “How much better would it look with a body kit?”, or “How much faster would it be if I tuned it?”
However, you shrug off those thoughts — because you want to keep the car’s warranty intact.
Many car enthusiasts have come to this moment in auto ownership. Have you? If so, this article is designed to help you make the tough choices. Let’s explore how body kits and other mods may, or may not, void your warranty.
In recent years, a frequent discussion topic in many Australian car forums has been whether body kits void car warranties. There are many layers to this answer, but it largely depends on the warranty terms provided by the car manufacturer and the nature of the body kit.
For the warranty to remain intact, most vehicle manufacturers have a standard set of terms. These are that only genuine parts or manufacturer-approved parts should be used on a vehicle when repairs are being done, or when it is being accessorised.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), that’s not always the case. The ACCC states that if a part or accessory ought not to void the manufacturer’s warranty if it:
If such a non-genuine part fails to achieve the purpose for which it was intended; or if it causes some damage to a vehicle; the manufacturer won’t be liable for the problems caused because of the failure of the part or for the damages that the non-genuine part may cause.
That’s a lot of legal talk. How does it affect adding a body kit to your newly purchased vehicle?
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Based on what we just learned, a body kit may not void the warranty if:
If you have to repaint the car after fitting the body kit parts, some manufacturers may still void the paint warranty. Because of this, polyurethane or ABS body kits like the ones on offer at AusBody Works are the best options for cars under warranty.
This is because they offer the best fit as delivered, most likely requiring little to no modifications. Fibreglass and composite body kits may not fit as perfectly, so they may require modifications that lead to a voided warranty.
It can be helpful to get your car dealership to endorse the idea of installing a body kit on your car. Your car dealership can make a case for you when reporting warranty claims to the manufacturer. That way, you are more likely to get what you want without voiding the warranty.
You should also know that you won’t void the warranty if you happen to get your car serviced or repaired at a different service centre. The ACCC states that you have the right to get independent technicians to service your car — as long as the servicing is carried out by qualified technicians and is done according to manufacturer specifications.
This means that independent qualified technicians can install a body kit onto your car without voiding the warranty. This also applies to when you need to get your car repaired and are not able to get to your car dealership, such as when travelling.
When it comes to regular servicing, you can fulfil your service intervals from wherever you want. Just be sure to instruct the technicians to use only genuine/manufacturer-approved parts and fluids.
Be especially keen with the fluids, because most service centres regularly use specific fluid brands. If you fail to specify the types or brands of fluids used in servicing, the service centre may use their “house” brands on your car, which may void the powertrain warranty.
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Chipping and remapping the ECU of your car’s engine is a no-no if you wish to retain your warranty coverage.
Engine tuning adjusts various parameters in your car’s engine, causing it to deliver more output than it was initially intended to produce. By causing an engine to yield considerable power gains beyond its designed specs, engine tuning shortens the lifetime of the engine and its various engine components.
For this reason, an automaker won’t hesitate to void your warranty when it discovers that you have tuned your engine.
Another thing that many people like to do when they get a new ride is give it a set of new, attention-grabbing aftermarket wheels and tyres. Unfortunately, this should not be done if you want to keep the warranty intact.
Most car manufacturers are firm about this, because the suspension systems and drivetrain setups of most cars are designed for specific wheel and tyre configurations. Installing larger wheels and tyres on your car is going to put extra strain on your car’s suspension and drivetrain components, which may result in quicker wearing of these components.
If you want to mod your new ride but keep your warranty intact, be sure to pay close attention to what is acceptable within the parameters of the warranty and what isn’t. You can still upgrade your car into something sportier — and keep your warranty — with the proper body kit.
For more information about getting a body kit for your car without voiding the warranty, get in touch with us at AusBody Works. Our body kits are built to fit perfectly, so you won’t have to perform any serious modifications on your car when installing them.
We’ve been serving Australians with top-quality, imported ABS plastic, polyurethane and ABS body kits for years, so we can help you do it right — and keep your warranty from being voided.