How Does a Vehicle Modification Affect Your Car’s Warranty?

Modifying your car can be a lot of fun, and can increase its value; but be careful, as some aftermarket add-ons can affect your vehicle’s ability to be covered under its manufacturer’s warranty.
Written by Jason Crosby
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jan 9, 2022
When it comes to
owning a car
, there’s always the temptation to start modifying aspects of its appearance. Maybe you’ve had your eye on a nice set of rims, new headlights—maybe even a performance exhaust kit or
high-quality sound system
Regardless of what you’re hoping to change, it’s important to know whether or not your manufacturer’s warranty will still protect you against defects or issues that aren’t your fault. While there’s generally nothing to worry about with manufacturer-produced extras, aftermarket parts from outside vendors can come with a risk of voiding your warranty
Knowing the details of what voids your car’s warranty is very important.

Common vehicle modifications 

According to
Autotrader
, some of the most common types of modifications can include: 
  • Upgraded wheels 
  • New sound systems 
  • Upgraded touch screen displays or DVD players for second row passengers
  • Aftermarket paint or decals 
  • Lift kits or performance suspension systems 
  • Tinted windows (check with your state laws regarding window tint, though) 
These changes are largely aesthetic, but can sometimes increase the resale value of a vehicle. There’s also nothing inherently wrong with vehicle modifications; they add character to a vehicle, and can be a great way to improve your driving experience as the owner. 
However,
window tinting
, as well as some exhaust kits, will need to pass
state law requirements
before being installed. 
 

Are vehicle modifications safe? 

Replacing your wheels or engine components with manufacturer parts is typically safe. And besides, dealerships are likely to refuse to install a part if it will knowingly void your vehicle’s warranty in any way. This might include grilles, headlights, rims, or hood scoops. 
Adding aftermarket parts may also increase the cost of insuring your vehicle, but when you go to sell, those vehicle modifications might actually help you to add some extra dollars to your
vehicle’s price tag
However, some potentially unsafe modifications can include: 
  • Lift kits that increase the likelihood of a rollover accident in a taller SUV or truck
  • Subwoofer kits that can cause eardrum damage over time 
  • Improperly fitted rims or wheels that are too small or too large for a vehicle’s dimensions 
Expect to pay more for your car’s modifications, too—the higher the value of your car, the more you are likely to see increased insurance premiums. 

How do I know if my vehicle modification will void my warranty? 

The best way to know whether your vehicle modification will void any warranties is to inquire with your local dealership or manufacturer’s website to find more information. You can also ask about automaker-approved suppliers; these companies may provide parts that are specifically covered under warranty by your automaker. 
In most cases, repair technicians will first investigate whether the aftermarket part caused the damage which brought your vehicle into the dealership. If it can’t be determined that your vehicle modifications caused or contributed to your car’s issues, then you’ll most likely still be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. 
 

Find the right coverage for your vehicle modifications 

As a licensed broker,
Jerry
can help you find the
cheapest rates
, saving you money on insuring your car, truck, or SUV’s vehicle modifications. With multiple options to choose from thanks to our intuitive app, you can start saving on your insurance costs, starting today.
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National General
Allstate
AAA
Aig
Chubb
ClearCover
CSE
Dairyland
DirectAuto
Elephant Auto Insurance
Kemper
Libertymutual
Gainsco
Mapfre
Mercury Auto
Metromile
Nationwide
Plymouth Rock
Progressive
State Auto
Safeco
Travelers
Metlife
Bristol West

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