Magnuson-Moss Act and Tacoma Accessories – Your Warranty Is ALWAYS Safe
There are certain kinds of aftermarket car or truck parts that strike fear into the hearts of customizers everywhere: the ones that just might invoke threats from your service advisor that your new vehicle warranty will be voided. Terminating warranty coverage has long been a favored tool for a number of automakers who didn’t want to have to deal with repair and service claims that they saw as being related to the installation of aftermarket parts. Typically, these components fell into the power-adder category, such as superchargers, turbo kits, exhaust headers or engine management software upgrades, but in some cases the presence of any accessories or aftermarket parts triggered the same type of stonewalling.
The good news for custom Toyota Tacoma owners is that Americans have been protected since 1975 against these types of warranty denial strategies by major vehicle brands. 1975 was the year that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act came into effect, a federal law that we have covered extensively on our sister site, TundraHeadquarters.com.
Magnuson-Moss was designed to prevent car companies from being able to issue blanket warranty coverage denials based on the presence of any and all aftermarket accessories and components. This was a relief for vehicle owners who had been dealing with service advisors withholding repairs due to the installation of items as innocuous as mud flaps. The Magnuson-Moss Act also carried a few other consumer protections, such as allowing customers to get their servicing done by third-party garages or mechanics as well as giving them the right to select which brand of replacement parts that they wanted to use.
Car companies can – and still do – deny warranty coverage to customers in relation to installed aftermarket parts. However, Magnuson-Moss requires automakers and dealerships to prove that the components in question are directly responsible for the problems that the owner is attempting to have fixed under warranty. Furthermore, each warranty repair must be approached on a case-by-case basis. In other words, aftermarket headlights aren’t going to prevent a Tacoma owner from getting a ball joint replaced.
Why bring up an act that was passed all the way back in 1975? In recent years, some car companies have increased their attempts to bully customers regarding warranty claims, relying on ignorance of Magnuson-Moss and the fact that the federal law is not publicized to any great degree outside of the aftermarket industry. Complaints from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA) recently caused the Federal Trace Commission (FTC) to issue a Consumer Alert notifying drivers that the provisions of the act were very much still in effect.
The efforts of these individual aftermarket organizations, as well as those made by umbrella groups like SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) are an important component of consumer protection in the United States, especially when it comes to standing up against large companies with deep pockets and a vested interested in denying expensive warranty repairs to frustrated customers.
Is It Covered? After-Market Part Warranty Checklist
Do you have a vehicle problem that isn’t covered by warranty? Is the dealership saying the problem was caused by an after-market part? Here’s a checklist you can use to work with the dealership to get your Tacoma covered.
1. Was the after-market part installed correctly? If yes, go to next question. If not, contact the installer and ask them to cover the failure.
2. Will restoring the vehicle to factory condition correct the problem? If yes, then you’ve found your solution – the part is the problem. You can contact the parts seller or supplier to get a refund. If the answer to this one is no…
3. Did the after-market part definitely cause the failure? (emphasis on the word ‘definitely‘) If it can be proven that the after-market part caused the vehicle failure, your best bet is to contact the part manufacturer to see if they’ll cover their mistake. Otherwise…
4. Is the dealership able to prove the after-market part caused the problems? If they can’t prove that your after-market part caused the vehicle to fail, then they’re probably going to need to cover it (barring some proof of use that would void warranty, such as racing).
If the dealer refuses to warranty a repair yet can’t prove that an after-market part is the source of the problem, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and lodge a complaint immediately – here are some instructions and more info from the FTC.
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Filed Under: Toyota Tacoma Accessories