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What are the rules for how much you can modify before voiding an original manufactures warranty? I know that going all out with a bigger turbo or nitrous instantly voids a warranty, but what about smaller mods? Would installing one of the larger, front mounted intercoolers void the warranty? What about aftermarket engine chips or free-flow exhaust systems? What about simple things like performance air filters, etc?

If any or all of these changes cancel your coverage for the engine, does it affect the bumper-to-bumper warranty? If your warranty is voided, is it gone completely? For example, would Subaru still fix the air conditioner or power windows on a 280 hp WRX?

I imagine all manufactures and dealers vary in their treatment of this. How flexible has Subaru been historically when dealing with cases like this? Does anyone have any good or horrible stories dealing with trying to get warranty coverage on their modified vehicle? If so, please share.

Still trying to decide between WRX now and modify, or wait for STi…
 

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Unfortunately I cannot speak for Subaru or my experience with their dealers. I can tell you what I know from posts on VW forums, my VW dealer and other dealers. The law basically and in the simplist terms states that the dealer cannot void your warranty at all, only the manufacturer can do that. The dealer can refuse to service your car under warranty, but even then they can't do that unless they can show that the modifications you made have or could have caused the damage that you seek repaired under warranty. In some cases it really comes down to who can prove what, or who has the best lawyer. Mount an intercooler on the front, crank HP to 280, engine block cracks, sorry, your outta luck. Change the exhaust and the window regulators fail, you should be covered, of course if they see a piggyback ECU or someother electronic device, that may be a different story, especially if they decide to note it. There was a running joke in the VW Vortex forum that anything can cause a cracked block after one dealer tried to pull some fantastic sh*t (the wheels were too big... it cracked your block).

The other side of the coin is the Audi dealer I talked with recently. He said if the chip is replaced with the oem part when you bring it in, they will act like they don't know a thing. They seem very willing to work with their customers.

If you are concerned you can ask your dealer. Chances are they will tell you that you will void the warranty. If you get lucky, go for it.
 

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Actually, by law, the warrenty is not void UNLESS they can prove something you installed/modified caused the damage. So if you put a bigger turbo in, and your gear box blows, they still have to fix it, unless somehow they can prove it was caused by your bigger turbo. And yes, this IS a federal law. (in the US, im assuming thats where you are from)
 
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