What is Subaru's warranty policy?
For information on the warranty coverage offered by Subaru of America, visit the following sites:
NOTE: There are links on the right-hand navigation of the Subaru page that will point you to the proper warranty information for your model year.
"Will XXX modification void my warranty?"
This is a very common question, and a slight misconception on the part of the consumer.
A voided warranty and a denied warranty claim are two different situations. A dealership can deny a warranty claim, while not voiding your warranty. Some of the more common reasons for denied warranty claims are:
- Damage or Malfunction Due to Improper Repair or Unauthorized Parts
- Damage or Malfunction Due to Abuse, Neglect, Accident or Fire
- Damage Caused Due to Use of Vehicle in Competitive Events
- Damage or Malfunctions Due to Lack of Maintenance or Failure to Follow Instructions
What do these mean?
The following definitions provided are taken directly from the Subaru link above.
Damage or Malfunction Due to Improper Repair or Unauthorized Parts: These warranties do not cover any part which malfunctions, fails or is damaged due to any unauthorized alteration or modification made to the car such as the removal of parts or the installation of parts, equipment or accessories or improper repairs or adjustments not approved or recommended by SOA.
Damage or Malfunction Due to Abuse, Neglect, Accident or Fire: These warranties do not cover any part which malfunctions, fails or is damaged due to objects striking the car, road hazards, whether on or off the road, accident, fire, neglect, abuse or any other cause beyond the control of SOA.
Damage Caused Due to Use of Vehicle in Competitive Events: These warranties do not cover damage to any component that is the result of operating the vehicle in any competition or racing event.
Damage or Malfunctions Due to Lack of Maintenance or Failure to Follow Instructions: These warranties do not cover any part which malfunctions, fails or is damaged due to a failure to follow the operating instructions set forth in the Owner's Manual (e.g., failure to use proper fuel) or a failure to follow the Schedule of Recommended Inspection and Maintenance Services set forth in this Booklet.
What about the "Magnussen-Moss Warranty Act"?
The MMW Act is outlined in USC Title 15 Chapter 50. Courtesy of Cornell Law, you can view the legislation below:
I'm not a lawyer, WTF does that all mean?!
According to the FTC:
With regards to automotive enthusiasts, this is usually thrown into the discussion when talking about modified vehicles. This law essentially forces the manufacturer to prove the consumer didn't live up to their end of the warranty in order to deny a claim. Don't be confused, however, this doesn't imply the consumer is "innocent until proven guilty", it simply means that the manufacturer needs to reasonably deduce that the consumer failed to comply.The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law that governs consumer product warranties. Passed by Congress in 1975, the Act requires manufacturers and sellers of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage. In addition, it affects both the rights of consumers and the obligations of warrantors under written warranties.
To understand the Act, it is useful to be aware of Congress' intentions in passing it. First, Congress wanted to ensure that consumers could get complete information about warranty terms and conditions. By providing consumers with a way of learning what warranty coverage is offered on a product before they buy, the Act gives consumers a way to know what to expect if something goes wrong, and thus helps to increase customer satisfaction.
Second, Congress wanted to ensure that consumers could compare warranty coverage before buying. By comparing, consumers can choose a product with the best combination of price, features, and warranty coverage to meet their individual needs.
Third, Congress intended to promote competition on the basis of warranty coverage. By assuring that consumers can get warranty information, the Act encourages sales promotion on the basis of warranty coverage and competition among companies to meet consumer preferences through various levels of warranty coverage.
Finally, Congress wanted to strengthen existing incentives for companies to perform their warranty obligations in a timely and thorough manner and to resolve any disputes with a minimum of delay and expense to consumers. Thus, the Act makes it easier for consumers to pursue a remedy for breach of warranty in the courts, but it also creates a framework for companies to set up procedures for resolving disputes inexpensively and informally, without litigation.
If I revert back to stock, they'll never know...
A dealership wouldn't have much of a problem knowing that you recently removed a downpipe off your vehicle, since the bolts will have wear marks on them from your tools. With reflashed ECUs, you can revert to the stock map, but a dealership can tell that the car has been reflashed. They may not necessarily be able to determine what did the reflash, but they would have a record of any authorized reflash done by Subaru since they keep a service record.
If you've modified your vehicle, just be honest about it. There is a "good will" program in which the service manager has discretion to cover a portion of the repairs, even if it's not under warranty. If you were the service manager, and someone tried to pull one over on you saying the car wasn't modified when you knew it had been, how likely would you be to give them a break?
My Personal Recommendations:
If you are really worried about warranty coverage, keep the car 100% stock and explicitly follow the factory service maintenance schedule.
With that said...
Vehicle Modifications: If you want to modify your vehicle, do so to your hearts content, but be informed about the modications you install, and the potential consequences. Get to know your local Subaru service department employees, the service manager especially. Different dealerships will have different tolerances for modified cars; some will deny claims on any modified vehicle, some will only deny the larger ones (e.g., blown motor).
Abuse: Use common sense! Redline clutch dumps, full-lock powerslides in a snowy parking lot, etc. will cause excess wear on the car. Not to say you can't have fun with the car, but do so responsibly.
Competitive Racing: Motorsports (e.g., Auto-X, drag racing, etc.) are great opportunities for you as a driver to push both yourself and your vehicle to the limits (and sometimes beyond) in a safe, controlled environment. Technology is a wonderful tool to use with these activities, as it allows you to document runs and view them later to evaluate your performance and determine where you can improve. Posting pictures/videos on the Internet is a good way to show off your skills, get advice from others, etc., but it also creates "physical" evidence of your activities.
Vehicle Maintenance: Maintain a full service history record. If you get service done at the dealership, this will be maintained in their computer system automatically. If you choose to perform routine maintenance elsewhere (e.g., DIY, a local mechanic shop, etc.), keep dated receipts of all expenses.