Lifted FORD trucks are by far one of the coolest vehicles around. A Lifted truck instantly opens up your wheel upgrade options to bigger-size tires. What if, however, your truck is still under warranty? Will your vehicle dealership still carry the cost of any mechanical failures as a result of your upgraded leveling kit?
Based on the above, it’s plain to see how quickly this can become quite a complicated scenario. It’s hard to give a full answer since most dealerships’ approach to upgrades is not consistent and the long answer is it depends.
Let’s investigate a few scenarios to help you better understand what your limitations are and what most manufacturers are prepared to accept when it comes to fiddling with aftermarket suspension upgrades while the truck is still under warranty.
Also, let’s look at how the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects you.
Table of Contents
Does A Lift/Levelling Kit Void My Warranty at FORD?
With so many aftermarket kits available, people are spoilt for choice, which means they can upgrade their trucks in a variety of ways. In certain cases, the upgrades are outside the Ford Motor Company manufacturer’s specification and engineering design which can result in complications when it comes to warranty coverage and claims.
Let’s look at claims from a dealership/manufacturer perspective first to determine what constitutes a warranty void.
Scenario #1 Dealership Voiding a Claim
What can cause a dealership to deny a warranty claim?
Well, as mentioned above, a simple 2” leveling kit with 35s technically should not void any warranty claims, unless said kit has caused additional strain on other OEM components, thus causing it to fail. This could be caused by a variety of reasons. In this instance, the responsibility will be on the dealership to prove that fact beyond any reasonable doubt before rejecting the claim and warranty repair.
No modification to a truck will void a warranty unless the dealer or vehicle manufacturer can prove that the defects are a direct result of the aftermarket part or a result of poor workmanship.
Always must make sure you understand your truck’s warranty and limitations since manufacturers can insert these types of caveats on their warranty, which is perfectly acceptable and reasonable.
NB: Remember, when making any modification to your 4WD truck you are altering the engineer’s original design. Whether you think it’s for the better is irrelevant to the vehicle manufacturer.
If, however, you installed the kit yourself or had an aftermarket place do it, the fact remains you are accepting that anything going wrong with related components as a result of the modification would be on you.
Scenario #2 – Component Failure Caused by Modification
If your truck is an IFS (Independent Front Suspension) it is not recommended to exceed a 2.5” leveling kit.
- Once you exceed 2.5” in the front you are drastically altering the geometry of the suspension.
- Components such as ball joints, upper control arms, and CV angles are all compromised.
- Anything higher than 2.5” and your ride comfort is compromised since the down travel of your dampers is limited resulting in a very harsh ride.
- This of course can be rectified with an adjustable Upper Control Arm to rectify the angles.
So for example, a 2” Rough Country leveling kit doesn’t alter the factory suspension so much that the downward travel is compromised. The droop and jounce still operate within the factory spec thus not compromising the range of motion. So, since the factory range of motion is not different, the suspension simply sits 2” higher at the wheel at rest.
What about a 6” lift kit?
With such an aggressive kit, you can expect suspension components to wear out. Also, the responsibility is on the company installing the lift kit to warn you well ahead of time about that fact.
Scenario #3 – Dealership Approval
On the surface, the level kit should not void the warranty, however, it’s important to remember that the level kit could potentially add strain to the other existing components on the vehicle.
NB: Remember, a leveling kit can’t void an unrelated component like a wiper motor or locking mechanism, etc. This still comes down to different dealers, some are very lenient and others go by the book.
If you don’t come right at one dealership, the dealership in the next town might just approve the claim.
Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
Below are some excerpts from the above-mentioned warranty act.
Deceptive Warranty Terms
Obviously, warranties must not contain deceptive or misleading terms. You cannot offer a warranty that appears to provide coverage but provides none. For example, a warranty covering only “moving parts” on an electronic product that has no moving parts would be deceptive and unlawful.
Similarly, a warranty that promised service that the warrantor had no intention of providing or could not provide would be deceptive and unlawful.
How the Magnuson Moss Act May Affect Warranty Disputes
Two other features of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act are also important to warrantors.
- First, the Act makes it easier for consumers to take an unresolved warranty problem to court.
- Second, it encourages companies to use a less formal, and therefore less costly, alternative to legal proceedings.
- Such alternatives, known as dispute resolution mechanisms, often can be used to settle warranty complaints before they reach litigation.
Difference Between a Lift Kit & Leveling Kit
It’s quite simple, a leveling kit is an engineered bracket, usually 2” or 2.5” high, which is usually placed above your strut to raise the front of the vehicle thus making it level with the rear.
A lift kit is a complete suspension upgrade that consists of springs, dampers, rear leaf packs, and all related components. This can be anything from 2”, 4”, and 6” upwards. The complete lift kit option is expensive, however, it offers many advantages such as improved clearance, GVM upgrades, load-carrying improvement, off-road capability, and more.
FORD User Experience/Feedback
Let’s look at a few real-world experiences and owner’s feedback from dealerships.
User Experience/Feedback #1
they have to prove the leveling kit directly caused whatever the issue is.
so if your joints wear out, or something in the front suspension breaks then sure, they might not do any warranty work on those parts. but it won’t void your entire warranty.
User Experience/Feedback #2
Nop… these lift kits are only metal spacers (and a block in the rear between your axle and your leafs).
Parts will not be covered under warranty if the failure is caused by the lift itself, which is unlikely…
However, please note that lifting your truck will add additional stress on the suspension components, which can cause premature wear.
User Experience/Feedback #3
The only thing a leveling kit would void is that part of the suspension. If your tie rid ends, or ball joints prematurely wear out, they wouldn’t cover those parts. They would say that the damage was due to stress caused by the leveling kit. They have to prove your mods cause the problem. If you live in the US that is.
User Experience/Feedback #4
Ford is 100% in the right to deny a warranty. Your leveling shocks altered the stock suspension geometries which will make your ball joints and other suspension components wear quicker. I don’t understand how you want Ford to pay for something you knowingly caused. Replace the ball joints and move on.
If you want to cancel the warranty that is up to you, but if your engine throws a rod, they won’t deny the warranty because you have leveling shocks. They have to be able to prove the modification caused the damage. It’s common sense your leveling shocks caused your ball joints to wear quicker. Did they cause them to wear in 7,000 miles?… who knows, but it is not up to Ford to pay for it.
- Download the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act here
- Photo by FourFour on Unsplash
- Photo by Haydon Curteis-Lateo on Unsplash
Dealerships can never “void” your warranty. However, you are taking responsibility for any suspension or driveline components that fail prematurely as a direct result of your leveling kit. The rest of the components of your truck are still under full warranty.
Remember, certain dealers, are more reasonable and “mod-friendly” than others. Your warranty is protected by law. If there is ever a dispute, you can sue and have a good chance of winning if you are in the right.
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