by Robert Sanborn on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, who was a member of the STLE Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 15 years.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that protects the buyer of any product, which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy as a consumer.
The warranty coverage can be denied only if the aftermarket part caused the malfunction or damage for which warranty coverage is sought. Disputes in this area usually boil down to arguments over facts and technical opinions, rather than arguments over interpretations of the law.
The Law Protects Consumers
The law was written to protect consumers from manufacturers that sell products that become defective. In addition, they also protect consumers from manufacturers who may require you to buy a “their” part for replacement. Prior to the Magnuson-Moss Act manufacturers would require you to buy a certain part at an extremely high price to the consumer.
The Magnuson-Moss Act states that if a manufacturer requires you to use a certain part, then they must supply it free of charge until it’s off of warranty. Manufacturers don’t like this part of the law so they create a specification for a part so that you can purchase it from other suppliers.
When someone says that your cars’ warranty is voided if you use an oil additive automatically this is a false statement. As long as an oil additive does not compromise the specification for motor oil, it cannot void the warranty. And if there is question that it might compromise the specification to the point it could cause damage, then the manufacturer must prove it to actually void a warranty.
Oil and Fuel Additives Don’t Automatically Void Warranties
Presently, the sequence tests for gasoline engine warranty cost in excess of $500,000 and for diesel engines it’s more than $1,500,000. Thus, if a manufacturer is going to claim that an oil additive will void their warranty, they must run these series of sequence tests. This would be very rare if such an occurrence happened, but protects the manufacturer just in case. But for a manufacturer to make a blanket statement that the use of an oil additive automatically voids the cars warranty, is strictly false.
Many oil additive companies, such as SFR have run some of the sequence tests to prove they are effective and will not void the cars warranty. So next time someone says your cars warranty will be voided if you put in an oil additive tell them that the Magnuson-Moss Act protects me. And if a manufacturer tries to make you buy their part only when its under warranty, tell them they cannot force you as you can buy any part that meets the specification.