One of the most popular mods for 4WD trucks are lifts and leveling kits. Why? Simply because a lifted truck immediately offers you more options for wheel upgrades which improve the truck in a variety of applications. So, how is your warranty affected if you have a claim? Will your dealership void your claim for any mechanical failures caused by the upgrade?
A dealership cannot void your entire warranty because of a leveling kit modification. They can deny your claim if a component fails prematurely as a direct result of the said upgraded kit. Fitting a full lift kit could potentially void your warranty if the kit is not approved by the dealership or installed by an approved fitment center.
Based on the above, it’s obvious why there is such a grey area around this as the results vary between dealerships.
Let’s now look at 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. Later we’ll look at how the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is applied.
Does a Lift/Levelling Kit Void FORD’s Warranty
With so many aftermarket kits available, people have so many options and can upgrade their trucks in a variety of ways. In many cases, the upgrades are outside the manufactures specification and engineering design which can cause complications when it comes to warranty claims.
Let’s look at claims from a dealership/manufacturer perspective first.
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 will not and should not void any warranty claims, unless said kit has caused additional strain on other OEM components causing it to fail. This could be caused by a variety of reasons. The onus will then be on the dealership to prove that fact beyond any reasonable doubt.
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.
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 them.
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 stop still operates 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 prematurely. Also, the responsibility is on the company installing the lift kit to warn you well ahead of time about the warranty.
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.
Also, 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 succeed at one dealership, the dealership in the next town might just approve the claim. Take a drive.
WATCH – DOES LIFTING A TRUCK VOID THE WARRANTY
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, in fact, 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. It offers very little advantage apart from looks and is an affordable option if you want to increase your wheel size.
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. This option is expensive, however, it offers many advantages such as improved clearance, GVM upgrades, load-carrying improvement, off-road capability, and more.
TOYOTA User Experience/Feedback
Let’s look at a few real-world experiences and owners’ feedback from dealerships.
Toyota Owner Experience/Feedback #1
Toyota Owner Experience/Feedback #2
Toyota Owner Experience/Feedback #3
Toyota Owner Experience/Feedback #4
Download the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act here
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Photo by Sadman Nafis on Unsplash
Photo by Mason Dahl 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 your truck’s components 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.