What Is The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?

 

 

The “Magnuson-Moss Warranty—Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act” is a Federal law, US Code, Title 15 § 2301, Public Law 93-637, signed into law by President Gerald Ford January 4, 1975. It covers aftermarket auto parts in these ways:

  • The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act allows for routine maintenance on your vehicle, including oil change, rotating tires, replacing belts, fluid checks and flushes, installing new brake pads, and inspections.

  • “Simply using an aftermarket or recycled part does not void your warranty,” according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). An automobile dealer can’t refuse to honor the warranty that came with a new car if someone else does routine maintenance or repairs.

  • It’s illegal for an automobile dealer to deny warranty coverage just because another person or business performed routine maintenance or repairs. “Routine maintenance” generally includes things like an oil change, rotating tires, replacing belts, fluid checks and flushes, installing new brake pads, and inspections.

  • According to the FTC, using aftermarket or recycled/re-manufactured parts doesn’t void a vehicle warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for companies to void a warranty or deny coverage under the warranty because aftermarket or recycled part was used.

  • The FTC defines an aftermarket part as a part manufactured by a company other than the original vehicle manufacturer/original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

The FTC’s “Rule on Disclosure of Written Consumer Product Warranty Terms and Conditions,” also known as the Disclosure Rule, requires a written warranty on a consumer product to be clear and easy to read. It also contains specified items of information about its coverage. These requirements only apply if the product costs more than $15. If you’re an auto parts manufacturer or retailer concerned about warranties, the FTC encourages you to read “Writing Readable Warranties,” an FTC manual available from the Government Printing Office or hosted online by the University of Chicago Urbana-Champaign (scroll down to the link at the bottom).

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act oil change facts

Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, oil changes do not void your warranty. The Act allows routine maintenance to be performed on your vehicle. Routine maintenance includes an oil change. The FTC has stated that it’s illegal for an automobile dealer or OEM to refuse your warranty coverage because someone else performed routine maintenance or repairs on your vehicle. Any independent auto technician, a chain service repair business, or even yourself in your driveway can do routine maintenance or repairs on your vehicle.

 

Will using 'aftermarket' or recycled parts void my warranty?

No. An 'aftermarket' part is a part made by a company other than the vehicle manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer. A 'recycled' part is a part that was made for and installed in a new vehicle by the manufacturer or the original equipment manufacturer and later removed from the vehicle and made available for resale or reuse. Simply using an aftermarket or recycled part does not void your warranty. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for companies to void your warranty or deny coverage under the warranty simply because you used an aftermarket or recycled part. The manufacturer or dealer can, however, require consumers to use select parts if those parts are provided to consumers free of charge under warranty. 

Still, if it turns out that the aftermarket or recycled part was itself defective or wasn't installed correctly, and it causes damage to another part that is covered under warranty, the manufacturer or dealer has the right to deny coverage for that part and charge you for any repairs. The FTC says the manufacturer or dealer must show that the aftermarket or recycled part caused the need for repairs before denying warranty coverage.

How Magnuson-Moss defines warranties and brands

Under WARRANTY PROVISIONS, Section 201, Paragraph C, Magnuson-Moss states,
No Warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer’s using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if—


(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and


(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

The Act also gives the FTC wide latitude in how it may write rules to follow the intent of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty—Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act.