The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service. Furthermore, a manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if it can demonstrate that a non-original equipment part or related service caused a defect to occur in the original product. In the case of motor vehicles, new car manufacturers have ignored these conditions outlined in Magnuson-Moss and have misled consumers to believe that they must have dealer service shops install only original equipment replacement parts or fear having their new car warranty voided.
Contact Tom Tucker, Director, State Affairs
Aftermarket Parts: Aftermarket parts are designed similarly to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts and may meet the requirements; however, they may not be the exact measurements.
As-Is Vehicle Purchase: With an as-is purchase, once you leave the dealership, all repairs and maintenance are the owner’s financial responsibility. There is no warranty to assist with the cost of repairs.
Automobile Insurance Policy: An automobile insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. Insurance coverage helps to repair your vehicle if it’s damaged by a specific cause such as an accident, theft, etc.
Automobile Insurance Warranty/Automobile Extended Warranty/Motor Vehicle Service Agreement/Auto Service Contract: A contract between you and the insurance company. This warranty helps cover repairs to your vehicle if damaged by specific causes of loss such as mechanical failures. The warranty usually goes into effect after the manufacturer/dealer warranty expires.
Manufacturer/Dealer Warranty (New Vehicle Warranty): A warranty is a contract between the manufacturer/dealer and the buyer. It covers certain mechanical breakdowns, and the parts and labor repair costs.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Parts: OEM parts are designed at specific measurements to meet the original engineering design.
Routine Maintenance: Routine maintenance is required to ensure your vehicle maintains its effectiveness. Routine maintenance includes services such as oil changes, belt changes, tire rotations, etc.
Routine Maintenance Schedule: A schedule outlined by the manufacturer in which specific repairs or maintenance should be completed to maintain the vehicle’s effectiveness.
What is the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act and how does it affect me?
The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act is a consumer protection law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The federal Act outlines the clear and easy-to-understand terms that a written warranty must include such as:
- Who is covered by the warranty
- A clear description and identity of what’s covered
- Responsibilities of the warrantor and the consumer, including where and how repairs and maintenance can be performed
- Warranty expiration
- Ways to handle disputes with the warrantor
For more information on the Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website and view the Car Care Council’s video.
What is the difference between aftermarket and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts?
OEM parts are produced by or for the vehicle manufacturer and are labeled with the name of the manufacturer. Aftermarket parts are produced independently of the vehicle manufacturer and are labeled under the brand name of the manufacturer of the part.
Do aftermarket parts meet OEM specifications?
Some aftermarket parts meet or exceed the requirements of OEM parts. If you have questions regarding the quality of a part, you should confer with your repair shop or the salesperson who sells you the part at a parts retailer.
Am I required to follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule in order to maintain my factory/dealer warranty?
Yes. You should follow the manufacturer's routine maintenance schedule; however, you can have your vehicle maintained at any certified repair shop. You are not required to obtain non-warranty-related services at the dealership.
What is the difference between my manufacturer/dealer warranty and my insurance policy?
There are many differences between a warranty and insurance. The major difference is that a warranty covers certain mechanical breakdowns, and the parts and labor repair cost. Insurance coverage helps to repair your vehicle if it’s damaged by a specific cause such as an accident, theft, etc.
For specifics on your warranty, contact the manufacturer or dealer; for more information on your insurance policy, contact your insurance agent.
Do repairs that are covered by the warranty have to be completed at the dealership?
The manufacturer or dealer may require consumers to use select repair shops if the services are provided for free under the warranty. However, you can have your vehicle serviced at any certified repair shop for non-warranty repairs. You are not required to obtain service at the dealership.
If I do not get my vehicle serviced at a dealership, how will I be able to prove I have done the recommended maintenance on my car?
Record all maintenance and repairs that are completed on your vehicle and save the receipts for the service. Ensure the receipts are clearly dated and list an accurate description of the parts supplied and service performed. It is important to remember that the manufacturer or dealer, and not the consumer, is responsible for demonstrating that a failure due to use of a non-OEM related part or service, actually caused the failure.
Share Your Story
Has a consumer turned down service at your shop because a manufacturer threatened that their warranty was voided?
Has a customer not returned to have service because they believe their warranty will be voided if their vehicle isn’t serviced at the dealer?
Has a customer asked for a refund for service performed because they were told they could they could only have their service performed at the dealer?
Do you have any owners manuals, press releases, or inserts from a manufacturer that state that vehicles must be serviced at the dealership to avoid voiding the warranty?
We are looking for stories and documentation of MMWA violations so Auto Care Association can stand up for your rights. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience to the below, please contact Tom Tucker.
Speak Up on Social
Note to members: The content below are only suggestions for your organization and employees to consider using on their respective social media accounts to help increase reach and visibility regarding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
- The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service. In the case of motor vehicles, new car manufacturers have ignored these conditions outlined in Magnuson-Moss and have misled consumers to believe that they must have dealer service shops install only original equipment replacement parts or fear having their new car warranty voided. Get educated today: autocare.org/mmwa #MagnusonMoss
- Did You Know? It’s a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the routine maintenance and repairs on a newer vehicle that is under warranty. In fact, it is law that consumers can patronize their neighborhood repair shop or do the work themselves without violating the manufacturer’s warranty: autocare.org/mmwa.
Has a manufacturer threatened to void your warranty, if your vehicle was not serviced at the dealer? We want to hear from you! Share your story below in the comments! #MagnusonMoss
- True or False? You must service your vehicle at the dealer, to maintain its warranty.
FALSE! Federal Law protects your right to choose between an Independent Shop, or a Dealership. Learn your rights today: autocare.org/mmwa #MagnusonMoss
- Oil changes, tire rotations, and brake pads: What do they all have in common?
They’re all covered under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, with the use of aftermarket parts! Learn more about your right to choose today: autocare.org/mmwa #MagnusonMoss
- Have you ever been told that only your local dealer can perform the routine maintenance and repairs on a newer vehicle that is under warranty? The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act has made it illegal for a dealer to deny your warranty coverage, if someone else performs your maintenance. Learn more on how to stand up for your vehicle owner rights at: autocare.org/mmwa #MagnusonMoss
- It’s a common misconception that only car dealers can perform the routine maintenance and repairs on a newer vehicle that is under warranty. The truth is that consumers can have routine repairs performed by their local independent repair shop or do the work themselves without affecting the warranty. Know your right to choose, learn more today: autocare.org/mmwa #MagnusonMoss