What Voids a Car warranty… and How to Avoid These Problems.


A car warranty can make you feel safe… Knowing that if something damages your car, it won’t hurt your budget too. But did you know that simply forgetting to have your oil changed may actually void your car warranty?

That’s right, and unfortunately, that’s not all.

Plenty of seemingly “harmless” conditions can unknowingly void your car warranty. So read til the end to save yourself from future headaches and spending unnecessary thousands of dollars on your warrantless car. 

But to better understand what voids a car warranty, we first need to be clear on…

a red toy car being covered by 2 palmns

What is a Car Warranty?

A car warranty is simply a contract. It guarantees that your warranty provider will give free service in repairing or replacing damaged parts from factory defects and faulty components. It protects you from 2-10 years of costly expenses (depending on your warranty period), provided that you take good care of your car.

But since it’s a contract, it can be breached. Different conditions can either void your car partially or entirely. 

The manufacturer may let you off the hook if you’ve tampered with or mistreated your car. Instead, they’ll void the warranty for just the part/s that you damaged. The warranty will still be in effect for the remainder of your vehicle.

Now begs the question…

What Voids Your Car Warranty?

If you fail to comply with the conditions of your agreement, the manufacturer or service provider may terminate your warranty. In extreme cases, the guarantee becomes null and invalid, rendering all claims for service useless. Scary huh?

So here are the general conditions that can void your warranty entirely.

Misusing your car for racing, off-road, Etc.: 

Activities like off-roading or racing instead of regular driving can nullify your car warranty. Anything that goes against how the vehicle is supposed to be used could be considered misuse. Yup, and even when your vehicle is designed to go off-road, there’s still a large gray area for warranty repairs when you use it off-road. 

Unfortunately, for car owners like you, the ones who are going to decide what “misusing your vehicle” is is your warranty provider. Moreover, the provider may reject your warranty claim even if there is no evidence of abuse, merely indications of it. 

This is just one of the reasons why it’s crucial to choose a trusted car warranty provider.

Declared Complete Loss:

All warranties are invalid if the vehicle has been declared a complete loss or salvaged due to an accident. Suppose you’re looking to buy a late-model used vehicle from a private party or independent used car dealership. In that case, we recommend receiving a vehicle history report if you have doubts about the car’s background.

Environmental Damage:

The manufacturer will not accept your warranty if a natural catastrophe such as a fire, flood, or earthquake damages your car. 

Not Being Punctual to the Routine Maintenance Schedule:

To maximize performance and have a longer lifespan, routinely maintain your car. Preventative maintenance is work done on a vehicle regularly. You can find an in-depth schedule description in the vehicle’s owner’s handbook. The manufacturer can nullify your warranty terms if you fail to adhere to the maintenance plan.

Altered odometer:

Suppose the odometer on your vehicle has been removed, altered, or changed. In that case, the dealer cannot accurately assess your vehicle’s mileage. Typically, this would nullify the warranty. It’s impossible to tell whether the odometer has been tampered with. Still, the dealer can look for discrepancies in the vehicle history report if you request one.

Below are the conditions that can partially void your car warranty.

Not changing your oil on time:

Many drivers spend years without changing their oil because they don’t care whether their car is running correctly or not. Avoid doing this if your automobile is still under warranty. Imagine you “forgot” to change the oil, damaging your engine. Then the dealer will no longer be responsible for its repair.

Use of alternative and improper fluids:

Because of the increasing fuel prices, you might be tempted to watch Youtube and look for “homemade alternative gasoline fuel.” But hold your gas tanks because if your homemade fuel damages your engines. Your car warranty provider will no longer be liable to make free engine repairs. This is also applicable if you let your friend borrow your car and they pumped diesel fuel into your gasoline engine.

Aftermarket parts or modifications:

Using recycled or aftermarket components can be appealing. But if that component damages your car, your vehicle’s original manufacturer may refuse to pay for repairs. This would only be the case for the broken parts.

However, the manufacturer would still have to prove that the replacement components were defective to invalidate your warranty.  

a warning sign on a road

How to Avoid Car Warranty Issues

1. Read your Car Warranty Fine Print. The things listed in this article should give you a good grasp on what not to do to void your warranty. However, each car warranty has different conditions and coverages. We recommend that you still read your warranty’s fine print, especially the section labeled “What is Not Covered.”

2. Service Your Car at Regular Intervals. Not only is this good for your car’s quality and lifespan, but it also ensures your provider won’t void your warranty. It covers various maintenance tasks, from oil changes to flushing system fluids. To stay safe, we recommend you read the owner’s handbook and stick to the recommended maintenance plan.

Pro Tip: When the warranty term ends, ensure that you have your dealer inspect your car for any covered problems.

3. Keep all your records and receipts. Regardless of who does the job, keep detailed records of every work performed. Your vehicle’s resale value can also increase as a result… So why not?

4. Question your provider. Warranties are open to interpretation. Suppose you feel that your warranty claim is being addressed unfairly. In that case, you can raise your complaint to a higher level of management, the manufacturer, or a different dealer.

Conclusion or Takeaway

Equipping yourself with the proper knowledge about your car and car warranty can save you from a ton of problems.

There are a lot of hacks, tips, and strategies that experienced people in the auto world can offer. You can ask your repair man, dealer, or manufacturer for some of these tips but you can also subscribe to Can-Am Newsletter, where we give away the latest news, tips, and strategies that will prevent you from losing in the car industry.

Have more questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!