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Engine Chip Tuning and Your Warranty

Engine Chip Tuning and Your Warranty

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Engine chip tuning, or adding performance chips, can make a big difference in how the engine in your vehicle runs. However, if your vehicle is under warranty then you probably want to keep it that way, and no amount of improvements are worth having to shell out big money the next time anything goes wrong.
These tips can help you figure out what will happen to your warranty with engine chip tuning. This does not qualify as legal advice, and if you really want to be sure then you should consult a warranty attorney.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that was passed back in 1975 to protect consumers. The law specifically covers how warranties are treated by the consumer and the warrantor. There are a wide variety of protections and regulations that are part of it.

But what does this have to do with engine computer unit tuning? The protections of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act mean that a warranty cannot be declared invalid just because you install aftermarket modifications, and that includes performance chips. Since performance chips or engine tuning add-ons leave the original components intact, the warranty is still valid.

Exceptions to the Rule

That being said, there are notable exceptions. The biggest one is Engine Management Systems (EMS). When these are added to your car, they bypass the existing onboard computer. Since this completely changes the OEM systems, it will void you manufacturer’s warranty.

The other exception is when the tuning modification can be proven to have caused the damage. This is true for more than just engine chip tuning. Your warranty simply isn’t going to cover repairs if you installed a radiator that didn’t work and caused the engine to overheat. The same is true if you added a chip that overrode safety standards and made the engine break down.

A perfect example of this is a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) issued by Ford a few years ago. A large number of F series pickups with 6.0 Powerstroke turbo diesel engines were coming in with blown head gaskets. Ford found that almost every single one of them had a power chip installed that boosted engine output and damaged the head gasket. As a result, this specific damage was no longer covered under warranty, and Ford had every legal right to deny the warranty claim.

Do Your Homework

The very best thing you can do before your modify your vehicle is to research all of the data that’s out there. Professional aftermarket mechanics can be an invaluable resource for this. They’ll keep track of the TSBs that are out there for your car. Even if they don’t know the information off the top of their head, they know where to look to find it.

They’ll be able to recommend the best tuning modifications to get more out of your vehicle without harming your warranty.

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