What Are The Requirements Of The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?
- In some cases, those who do not qualify or have timed out of the Arizona Lemon Law statute can pursue cash compensation under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which covers most consumer vehicles that are repaired under warranty.
When it comes to vehicles, the requirements of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act are similar to those of Arizona’s Lemon Law with a few minor distinctions. Specifically:
- The product in question has to be a vehicle
- The vehicle in question has to be a consumer vehicle
- The vehicle has to be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty
- The vehicle has either had too many repairs under warranty for the same problem, too much time in the repair shop to repair defects under warranty, or both.
If all of those factors exist (or if there was an improper charge for a repair that should have been covered by warranty), then there could be a valid Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim.
What Types Of Vehicles Or Other Products Does The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Cover?
The MMWA is very broad. It basically covers any warranted consumer product. That includes cars, motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, other types of RVs. It also includes ATVs, off-road vehicles, boats, and other types of vehicles. Generally, to qualify, it must be a consumer vehicle or vehicle-adjacent product under warranty, which costs more than a nominal fee (around $25).
The Arizona Lemon Law has additional requirements. It requires that a vehicle be:
- Designed primarily for transportation on public highways
- Under 10,000 pounds
The MMWA does not have those requirements.
Can You Service Your Own Car Or Perform Repairs Without Affecting The Car’s Warranty?
You can service your car as far as maintenance goes. You are free, for example, to perform an oil change on your car without voiding the warranty in most cases. However, I would just highly recommend keeping receipts and noting/documenting which of these small maintenance acts you performed on your vehicle for future reference, especially to prevent a manufacturer from arguing lack of maintenance is the cause of repair issues.
When it comes to doing actual, heavy-duty repairs on you own vehicle, I would definitely advise against it, as it is very possible that doing so could void your warranty.
How Does The Federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Provide Protection To Buyers Of Used Vehicles, If At All?
As long as your used vehicle is still covered under warranty and you still have an unreasonable repair history, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act would apply.
Really, the key is that the vehicle must still be under warranty. If that manufacturer’s warranty has expired, then the MMWA does not apply.
Now, some used vehicles have what are called extended warranties, but those are basically treated like insurance policies under the law, and they only give you a right to repair a vehicle rather than request a replacement or refund. They don’t really have anything to do with assuring the quality of the vehicle, like the original manufacturer’s warranty does.
Does Modifying Your Vehicle Void The Manufacturer’s Warranty?
Modifying your vehicle may void your warranty, depending on the modifications and the warranty in question.
If the vehicle’s defect is related to the modification, then it would not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if the defect is unrelated, then those modifications would not void the warranty.
To give an example, let’s say there is an after-market (i.e., unauthorized) stereo system installed in the vehicle. If the defect is something in the engine or the suspension or the transmission, that’s completely unrelated to anything in the sound system, and you would still have a viable claim.
However, let’s say a truck is lifted and there are suspension-related repairs. Those modifications could void the warranty or at least preclude any defects related to those repairs from coverage, simply because there’s aftermarket parts and modifications added to the product that are likely to be the cause of the suspension repair issues.
For more information on Requirements Of The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a Free Lemon Law Evaluation is your next best step. Get the evaluation you are seeking by calling (480) 237-2744 today.
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