Many people have a fear of installing new car audio equipment within their car because they fear that they are going to void the warranty on their vehicle.
This is because many people believe that if you install new audio equipment and damage the vehicle in any way, you will be liable for the repairs.
Here’s What Happens To Warranty If You Install Car Audio
The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, passed in 1975 by Congress, states that installing aftermarket products (such as a new car audio system) will not void your warranty. However, if your new aftermarket product damages your car in any way, then it will be the responsibility of the product manufacturer to cover the costs and damages that it may cause.
- Here's What Happens To Warranty If You Install Car Audio
- A Brief About Car Warranties
- Installation of an Aftermarket Car Audio – Does it Void the Warranty?
- Installing a Subwoofer Or New Speakers – Can it Void Warranty?
- Upgrading the Car Audio System – Does it Void the Warranty?
- Are Car Audio Systems Covered Under Warranty?
- How Long Does Car Audio Installation Take? (Is Surprising)
- Why Is Car Audio Or Stereo So Expensive? (Explained)
- What is a Car Stereo Dimmer and Illumination Wire? (Explained)
A Brief About Car Warranties
Warranties are contracts between a manufacturer and the original owner of a product. These warranties are typically limited in their scope and can be void if certain conditions are not met.
One of those conditions is using parts and accessories that aren’t made by the car’s original manufacturer or weren’t installed by an authorized facility.
Car warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and each of them has a varying level of cover, but typically car warranties last for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
There are many aspects to these warranties, but there are three main types:
- Inclusionary Car Warranty
- Exclusionary Car Warranty
- Bumper-to-Bumper Car Warranty (also known as comprehensive coverage) usually covers most of the components in the car.
- Powertrain Warranty – Limited warranties cover specific components like power trains and emissions systems.
Installation of an Aftermarket Car Audio – Does it Void the Warranty?
Aftermarket modifications like upgraded audio systems might void certain portions of your warranty, especially if a malfunction is deemed to be related to the modification.
But there is some good news here, under federal law, as stipulated in the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers can’t legally void a warranty just because you have installed an after-market accessory on your vehicle unless the installation has proven to cause whatever failure you may be experiencing.
However, most manufacturers will require that aftermarket parts be installed by a qualified technician.
For example, if you install your own exhaust system or replace your own tires, then they could claim that this caused the problem and deny coverage under warranty.
So, when buying new tires or installing an aftermarket part, make sure to get it done by a qualified technician so that you can protect yourself in case there’s ever a problem with your car’s performance later on.
Installing a Subwoofer Or New Speakers – Can it Void Warranty?
For most manufacturers, installing a new subwoofer or speakers will not affect your factory warranty.
They allow modifications to the audio system as long as you do not damage any other parts of the vehicle. For example, if you install a subwoofer and it damages the wiring on your car’s fan, the factory may not cover the repairs.
As long as you are careful and follow instructions, aftermarket installation should not void your warranty.
Note that “warranty” is different from “guarantee.” If you break something, you’re out of luck. If the manufacturer breaks something, the warranty is applicable. This means that if you install a new component and it causes a problem, the manufacturer can’t void your warranty because you didn’t break anything.
The only way to void your warranty is if you modify your car in some way that causes damage to the car itself or to another part — like a modification that could lead to a fire.
Upgrading the Car Audio System – Does it Void the Warranty?
In a nutshell, if you’re replacing your car’s audio system (and speakers) with an aftermarket unit (same as the original brand) that the same manufacturer makes and sells, then upgrading your car’s audio system will not void your warranty.
However, if you’re adding aftermarket parts that aren’t made by the same manufacturer as the original parts in your vehicle, then you’ll void your warranty.
That said, don’t think you can get away with using aftermarket parts because the dealer may not know (or care). If you take your car to a mechanic for service and replacement parts are needed, they have to order those parts from a dealer for installation.
And if those parts are not OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), then the dealer will know. Then it becomes a matter of proving that any damage done to your vehicle was not caused by the installation of those parts. This is where things can get complicated and drawn out in court.
You can replace speakers and add amplifiers, you can replace the whole unit, or you can add a satellite radio. If you have an entire system installed in your vehicle, especially if you have it installed at a reputable company (i.e., Best Buy), the warranty will not be voided by Ford or Lincoln’s manufacturers.
The only exception would be that if the audio system was installed in a manner that would cause damage to the vehicle or other components of the audio system, then Ford may choose to void the warranty on those components that were damaged as a result of the installation.
Are Car Audio Systems Covered Under Warranty?
Car stereos are usually considered an “aftermarket” part, meaning that they are installed after the vehicle has been purchased from the dealership. However, some warranties cover car stereos as well as other aftermarket accessories.
A car stereo is generally covered under both the manufacturer’s warranty and the dealer’s warranty, sometimes extended. The manufacturer’s warranty for your car stereo typically lasts anywhere from 90 days to a year but can last longer with the extended warranty.
The dealer’s warranty however may be limited to certain parts of the stereo, such as labor costs, or it may cover everything related to the stereo itself.
It’s important to note that many people neglect to read their warranties before purchasing a new car stereo. This can lead to costly repairs if something goes wrong with the unit.
One way to avoid this is by reading your owner’s manual and contacting the manufacturer about any specific issues you might have with your stereo before making a purchase.
The best way to find out whether your stereo is covered under warranty is by reading through your vehicle manual or contacting the dealership where you purchased your car. You can also search online for information about your vehicle’s warranty and contact the appropriate company for details on coverage.
Warranties won’t protect your system from theft or damage from an accident, so comprehensive auto coverage is the best way to protect the investment you’ve made in your car stereo.
Collision coverage protects you financially if your car is damaged in an accident. It can pay for repairs to your vehicle and its systems, including the audio equipment.
Comprehensive coverage will also help replace your stereo if it’s stolen out of your vehicle while it’s parked on the street or in your driveway. It can even help with repairs if something like a tree falling on your car damages your car stereo system.