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  1. #1
    Site Admin Green Hulk's Avatar
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    Modifications, will they affect warranty? A must read!

    This is a topic I see come up all the time both on Facebook and here on the GreenHulk.net forum so I decided to make a post to provide accurate information and dispel some myths associated with installing modifications and voiding warranty.

    There is a HUGE misconception that if you install a modification on your ski you void your skis warranty. This is simply not true.

    I hear guys saying they are scared to even install an intake grate because the dealer told them it will VOID their skis warranty. Not true!

    I hear others saying, “once my warranty is expired I will install an air intake kit.” Well guess what guys? An air intake kit is NOT going to void your entire skis warranty.

    How many of you had dealers tell you that you MUST bring your ski to them for maintenance work, otherwise you risk voiding your skis warranty? This is absolutely not true, and illegal. There is a law protecting us consumers called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

    The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that for your dealer to deny warranty coverage on a failed item it must be determined that the modification actually caused the failure. It also states that you can do your own maintenance work.

    Lets say you install an air intake kit on your ski, or an intercooler, an intake manifold upgrade, etc. and your instrument cluster goes out, or you have a sensor go bad, or you have a trim piece break. There is no way possible that an air intake, intercooler, intake manifold upgrade, etc. would have caused any of those failures so your dealer cannot deny warranty coverage on that failed item. In fact, it's illegal for them to do so, as per the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that protects us.

    Let's say you heavily modify your ski, tune the ECU, install many supporting mods and run the engine at 9000 RPM day in and day out and you get some bad fuel on the water one day and you end up detonating your motor. Well, you can bet your dealer is going to deny warranty coverage to fix your motor, but you DO NOT lose your entires ski's warranty. If your steering breaks, instrument cluster goes out, trim piece fails, sensor fails, etc., those items would still be covered.

    Basically, for an item to not be covered under warranty it would have to be determined that the modification caused the failure.

    I consulted with Brian at RIVA, who is their tech support representative and asked him about a modification voiding warranty and this is what he had to say about it:

    "Whether or not any modification to your craft voids the warranty can only be determined by the manufacturer. In most cases that means that the servicing dealer determines what constitutes a warrantable repair. If any modification to a craft causes a failure it can be ground for denying a repair under warranty. For this reason at RIVA we thoroughly test all of our products before they are released to the public. Any systems unaffected by a modification are still covered by the OEM warranty. For example, a re-flash in the ECU will not cause a failure of the steering system or the hull to crack. Note also that warranty repair should only be denied if the modification caused the failure. Any failures caused by a defect in the original parts or manufacture are still warrantable under the express terms of the OEM manufacture's warranty."


    There's lots of great info on the internet regarding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and I encourage you to do your own research.

    This particular video stood out to me as Rich from K&N talks about warranty and the Magnuson-Moss act. As many of you already know, we use K&N filters in many of the air intake kits available for our PWC applications.





    This is another very informative, but long video explaining the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.





    I hope this information helps you and keeps you from being taken advantage of by a dealer. Knowledge is power, use it to your advantage!

    Best Regards,
    Jerry Gaddis
    "GreenHulk"


  2. #2
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    Until a representative from Yamaha, Sea-Doo and Kawasaki put out a statement in writing that aftermarket parts and modifications will not void warranty this post is only the opinion of those who have something to gain ($$$$) by selling those exact aftermarket parts and modifications. Don't mean to be confrontational but I happen to deal with one of the world's largest manufacturers of automobiles every day for the last 30 years, and the fact remains, if they choose to decline your repair because you have modified the unit, you can't really do a thing unless you have the resources and drive to fight them in the lengthy court process. There are no Magnuson Moss Act Police to call when you get turned down. Modify at your own risk! It is true that in many instances the dealer can make the determination. However, in todays world pictures are sent in for documentation and defective parts are retrieved by the manufacturer for verification of cause for repair. and occasionally engineers are sent out to inspect prior to the repair on a warranty claim simply as a spot check process. If a dealer is found to be too liberal in their approval process they will be charged back for the cost of any and all suspect repairs after a complete warranty audit is performed on that dealer. So it isn't in the dealers interest to try to cheat the system. Dealers get PAID to perform warranty repairs, they aren't going to turn something down just because they want to be mean to you or they don't like you. They NEED that work to survive. When you put a part on your ski everything that part effects can be considered non-warrantable. And exactly what it effects is not your decision, it's the decision of the guys writing the check on a warranty claim. Modify at your own risk.

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    Site Admin Green Hulk's Avatar
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    Jay, I know you've got many years experience in the automotive industry and serve as a General Manager of a Toyota dealership and I appreciate your perspective from a dealers standpoint, but I don't like your accusation that this post was written because I have something to gain, "($$$$)"

    I chose to write this post because I see so much misinformation and I wanted to educate consumers that we do have rights, and we have a law put in place to protect those rights.

    Thankfully, there are many dealers out there that are very mod friendly, and even sell and install modifications on customers skis and won't try to get over on them in the event a part fails that was not caused by the installation of a modification, but in the Powersports industry there are many unscrupulous dealers that will take advantage of us if we allow it. We all know that the dealer gets paid peanuts on warranty labor as opposed to what he can charge the customer directly and for this reason a dealer can be inclined to say that he cannot cover warranty on a failed item and charges the customer cash directly.

    Yes, it's at the dealers discretion, and ultimately the manufacturers decision on whether or not a warranty claim is to be paid, but they cannot legally deny coverage on a failed part if the modification(s) installed on the ski did not cause said failure. No, there are no "magnuson moss act police" to call if they get turned down, and sadly many dealers will use that standpoint to their advantage, but push come to shove, a consumer can lawyer up and win this battle as they have the Magnuson-Moss law on their side.








    Quote Originally Posted by Carzan View Post
    Until a representative from Yamaha, Sea-Doo and Kawasaki put out a statement in writing that aftermarket parts and modifications will not void warranty this post is only the opinion of those who have something to gain ($$$$) by selling those exact aftermarket parts and modifications. Don't mean to be confrontational but I happen to deal with one of the world's largest manufacturers of automobiles every day for the last 30 years, and the fact remains, if they choose to decline your repair because you have modified the unit, you can't really do a thing unless you have the resources and drive to fight them in the lengthy court process. There are no Magnuson Moss Act Police to call when you get turned down. Modify at your own risk! It is true that in many instances the dealer can make the determination. However, in todays world pictures are sent in for documentation and defective parts are retrieved by the manufacturer for verification of cause for repair. and occasionally engineers are sent out to inspect prior to the repair on a warranty claim simply as a spot check process. If a dealer is found to be too liberal in their approval process they will be charged back for the cost of any and all suspect repairs after a complete warranty audit is performed on that dealer. So it isn't in the dealers interest to try to cheat the system. Dealers get PAID to perform warranty repairs, they aren't going to turn something down just because they want to be mean to you or they don't like you. They NEED that work to survive. When you put a part on your ski everything that part effects can be considered non-warrantable. And exactly what it effects is not your decision, it's the decision of the guys writing the check on a warranty claim. Modify at your own risk.

  5. #4
    Carzan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Hulk View Post
    Jay, I know you've got many years experience in the automotive industry and serve as a General Manager of a Toyota dealership and I appreciate your perspective from a dealers standpoint, but I don't like your accusation that this post was written because I have something to gain, "($$$$)"

    I chose to write this post because I see so much misinformation and I wanted to educate consumers that we do have rights, and we have a law put in place to protect those rights.

    Thankfully, there are many dealers out there that are very mod friendly, and even sell and install modifications on customers skis and won't try to get over on them in the event a part fails that was not caused by the installation of a modification, but in the Powersports industry there are many unscrupulous dealers that will take advantage of us if we allow it. We all know that the dealer gets paid peanuts on warranty labor as opposed to what he can charge the customer directly and for this reason a dealer can be inclined to say that he cannot cover warranty on a failed item and charges the customer cash directly.

    Yes, it's at the dealers discretion, and ultimately the manufacturers decision on whether or not a warranty claim is to be paid, but they cannot legally deny coverage on a failed part if the modification(s) installed on the ski did not cause said failure. No, there are no "magnuson moss act police" to call if they get turned down, and sadly many dealers will use that standpoint to their advantage, but push come to shove, a consumer can lawyer up and win this battle as they have the Magnuson-Moss law on their side.


    Sorry for the accusation! I didn't mean it to be taken that way and I apologize. As for warranty rate, there are laws that govern that also. as an example my door rate is $125 per hour and my warranty rate is $104 per hour. Sounds like I am taking a hit to do warranty work doesn't it? But the fact remains that once discounts are calculated for express service and other work where we discount labor rates to accommodate customers and sell jobs, our effective labor rate is actually under $100 per hour. So warranty is actually my friend. I never have to discount warranty work period. Now I and many other dealers will go to extremes to try to get an issue covered for a customer. but the way warranty is actually written and the policies and procedures involved in claiming warranty work along with the fact that every time business slows up and manufacturers begin looking for cash they always start doing warranty audits first, all of that makes filing an "iffy" claim very very risky. One bad claim can trigger a two year audit and end up costing a dealer six figures if they haven't been dotting all the i's and crossing all the T's. It is the manufacturer's decision, period. They are writing the checks. you can tell them you disagree or the law states such and such. They will simply respond with engineer's opinions and restate that the claim is denied. Sure you can take it further, but you will need the cash to fund the lawsuit. there aren't many attorneys willing to take this type of suit on their own balance sheet, there's just no money in it for them. I do see these types of claims turned down by manufacturers regularly. Not Toyota as much but we also have three other franchises and just try putting a chip in your diesel truck and if ford or chevy find out you won't even be able to get a fuel pump replaced if they realize that chip is there. And they will, due to the fact that those onboard computers are basically like a "Black Box" on an airliner. They are constantly recording every parameter associated with the vehicles operation. Lifted trucks are another hotbed of issues when it comes to warranty claims.
    I do agree that Mangusson Moss act is there to protect consumers. It just doesn't always work like it should. I see statements accusing Dealers of wrongdoing all over this site including in your original post. I believe folks need to slow down and realize, the dealer doesn't make a dime if he can't get it covered. Most people don't have the cash it takes to repair their car so I would imagine the number who have the cash to repair their ski is even less. But don't blame the dealers. I promise most of them are doing the best they can in a very challenging environment.

    I am not in the business of watercraft so I have NO personal experience with those manufacturers. But I would be willing to bet the farm they operate in a very similar manner.

    Again, I apologize for my wording and didn't mean to imply that you are anything but a stand-up guy.


    EDIT STARTS HERE: I want to also state that I am not saying all the information green hulk posted concerning warranty coverage is incorrect in any way. I am also NOT saying you shouldn't mod your ski. That is your personal choice. I also see many many instances where manufacturers have covered things that were no doubt affected by a modification without ever asking a question. I do suggest using a dealer who is reputable and maybe even having a discussion with them about their experience in this particular arena.

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