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The questions gets asked often enough on the internet, in motorcycle shops, dealerships and at bike nights, “Will putting (fill in the blank) on my bike void my warranty?” This question is one that most bikers may not know the real answer to, and truth be told I didn’t either until I started doing research for the article.

After a good amount of research I kept coming to this conclusion, “common sense is a good starting point”. It’s not a good plan, for example, to buy and install a set of drag pipes on a whim in Sturgis then ride the new bike home like you stole it, without the benefit of an EFI remap. That will burn up a computer-controlled EFI engine quite nicely. Why should the factory pay for this kind of bonehead move? You can’t get away with just anything, warranty or not!

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Whether Harley, Indian or Victory likes it or not, most of the intelligent answers to warranty questions for us owners are a matter of common sense. Meaning performance pipes and an air cleaner have no bearing on a defect in the paint job. Or, more subtly, adding cams shouldn’t create transmission failures.

Disclaimer: This law only applies to the U.S. , I have no idea about the laws in other countries . If someone has information on laws in other countries please post the law or a link to the law in the comments section below.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was sponsored by Senator Warren G. Magnuson and U.S. Representative, John E. Moss, and Senator Frank Moss. Enacted in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law that governs consumer product warranties. The Act requires manufacturers and sellers of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage. In addition, it affects both the rights of consumers and the obligations of warrantor’s underwritten warranties.

In a nutshell, by passing the Act, Congress wanted to ensure that consumers would be able to get complete information regarding warranty terms and conditions up front. By providing consumers with a way of understanding what warranty coverage is offered on a product before they make a purchase, the Act gives us a way to know what to expect if something goes amuck. Which when you think about it, only helps to increase overall customer satisfaction. By its very definition then the Act also promotes healthy, productive competition.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act also reinforces existing incentives for dealerships and companies to perform their warranty obligations in a timely and thorough manner and to resolve any disputes with a minimum of shenanigans and expense to consumers. As a result, the Act makes it easier for consumers to pursue a remedy for breach of warranty in the courts, while also creating a framework for companies to set up procedures for resolving said disputes inexpensively and informally, and without the need to even go to court. For more on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act visit the Federal Trade Commission website.

 

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(My bike at the 2015 Donnie Smith Bike show, heavily customized.)

So, how does this really affect you?

Your rights to personalize your vehicle, you have the right to use high-quality aftermarket parts and know that your new vehicle warranty claims will be honored. Legally, warranty denial works only if there is proof an aftermarket part caused the failure being claimed.

You have the right to patronize independent retail stores and shops for vehicle parts and service. The aftermarket offers a bewildering selection of performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options. These aftermarket products satisfy the most discriminating customers seeking personalized vehicles for today’s lifestyle and, perhaps even more importantly, provide viable, significant and in some instances superior alternatives to factory-supplied parts and accessories. That’s the “Catch 22” in this whole thing. An independent shop is often a better choice for routine service, but not even an option if you have a claim, since the factory will reimburse only its franchised dealers for any parts and labor involved in “warranty work.”

So the bottom line is, use common sense and please do your research before making any major modifications to your motorcycle before the warranty period expires.

I hope this shed’s a little light on the question of what your consumer rights are regarding warranty coverage.

 

Please feel free to leave a comment below:

 

Ride or Die,

 

The V-Twin Blogger

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2 thoughts on “If I put (blank) on my bike will it void the manufacturer warranty?

  1. In Australia the addition or modification needs to be relative to the claim. Meaning if your bike engine fails and you have fitted aftermarket lighting then your claim cannot be avoided on that. If you have used an aftermarket oil filter and the engine fails due to oil supply problems it is likely they could avoid the claim in the first instance and put the onus of proof back on you. The lawyers and court bills will outweigh the repairs!

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