Debunking the Myth: Aftermarket Accessories and Your Vehicle Manufacturer's Warranty
As vehicle owners in Australia, we often contemplate adding aftermarket accessories to our cars, utes, EV's or SUVs to enhance their performance, usability or appearance. However, there's a common misconception that installing aftermarket accessories can void the vehicle manufacturer's warranty. In this blog post, we aim to debunk this myth and shed light on how Australian laws protect consumers when it comes to aftermarket accessories and warranties.
Understanding Australian Consumer Law
In Australia, consumer protection is governed by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which is a part of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Under the ACL, vehicle manufacturers cannot void a warranty solely because a consumer chooses to install aftermarket parts or accessories, provided that they comply with certain conditions.
The Statutory Warranty
In Australia, new vehicles come with a statutory warranty, which is separate from any extended warranties offered by the manufacturer. The statutory warranty ensures that consumers are entitled to have any defects in their vehicles repaired or replaced free of charge within a reasonable period after purchase.
Aftermarket Accessories and Warranty
According to Australian law, installing aftermarket accessories on your vehicle will not automatically void your manufacturer's warranty. However, there are a few important considerations:
Direct Cause: If an aftermarket accessory or modification directly causes a defect or failure in a covered component, the manufacturer may refuse to honour the warranty claim related to that specific component. For example, if an improperly installed aftermarket suspension system damages the vehicle's drivetrain, the warranty claim for the drivetrain may be denied.
Reasonable Modifications: The ACL recognises that consumers have the right to make reasonable modifications to their vehicles. Reasonable modifications refer to changes that do not adversely affect the vehicle's safety, compliance with Australian Design Rules (ADR), or overall functionality. Examples of reasonable modifications include installing a tow bar or adding roof racks.
Evidence of Impact: If a dispute arises between the vehicle owner and the manufacturer regarding a warranty claim, the burden of proof lies with the manufacturer. They must demonstrate that the aftermarket accessory or modification was the direct cause of the defect or failure, rather than a pre-existing issue or unrelated component failure.
Consumer Protection and Recourse
If a manufacturer wrongly refuses to honour a warranty claim due to the installation of aftermarket accessories, consumers have the right to seek recourse. In such cases, it is advisable to consult with an experienced consumer lawyer who can provide guidance on the specific circumstances and assist in resolving the dispute.
Contrary to popular belief, installing aftermarket accessories on your vehicle in Australia does not automatically void your manufacturer's warranty. As long as the modifications are reasonable and do not directly cause defects or failures in covered components, your warranty rights remain intact. However, it's crucial to ensure proper installation and compliance with Australian laws and regulations. Always consult reputable professionals and understand your rights as a consumer under the Australian Consumer Law.