There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind automotive warranty provides.
My first newish car in high school was a three-year-old green Pontiac Sunfire coupe with a manual transmission. I enjoyed driving it and all my friends seemed to like it too.
Then one day I noticed a clunking noise coming from the front of the car. I took it to the dealership under warranty. Whatever the issue was required a month to fix and a respray of the front end of the car.
While my car was being fixed, I was loaned a rental.
After all was said and done. Not a dime came out of my pocket.
I share that story to illustrate the beauty of an auto warranty – adding aftermarket parts to your vehicle won’t take that piece of mind away from you, necessarily.
Let’s look at what can or can’t void your auto warranty, as well as the affects that a blow off valve has on your engine to see if it can or can’t void your warranty.
The Magnuson Warranty Act
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law enacted in 1975 to govern consumer product warranties – this includes automobiles.
Enforced by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), it sets out the limits of what warrantors are allowed to do when it comes to the warranties offered with products.
Effectively, the Act forbids an automobile manufacturer from forcing a consumer to use name brand parts on a vehicle.
However, if your use of aftermarket parts results in the failure of another component in your car. For instance, Road and Track uses the example of installing a big aftermarket turbo into an engine that never came with that turbocharger.
In this scenario, if anything should go wrong with the engine because of the turbo. The manufacturer or dealer is well within their right to deny coverage.
Modifications That Won’t Void Your Warranty
If you want to modify your car but don’t want to run into any issues with warranty coverage, this is for you:
Suspension modifications to change the ride height or cornering ability of your vehicle shouldn’t void the warranty. And many of the good coilovers and lowering springs come with their own manufacturer’s warranty.
Wheel and tire upgrades almost always won’t raise any red flags when it comes to warranty coverage. After market wheels actually improve performance by providing less rotational mass.
Exhaust upgrades are also a common modification that shouldn’t affect the warranty of your vehicle.
When doing any modification make sure you’re using good parts. And if you’re vehicle is still under warranty this is no time to skimp out on quality.
Besides that, if you have any hesitation about installation seek out professional advice.
What Will Void Your Warranty
There are rare cases that will void your entire warranty. In most cases, only part of the warranty will be voided.
A warranty is a contract between you and the auto manufacturer stipulating that as long as you take care of the vehicle, they will pick up the check on any applicable repairs.
Before my wife and I got married we got into an accident that wasn’t our fault. But since the car was considered by the insurance company to be a total loss, my warranty was voided.
Thankfully, the insurance company of the person that caused the accident took care of everything. Other things that could cause a vehicle’s warranty to be voided are:
- Vehicle misuse
- Environmental damage
- An altered odometer
- Improper maintenance, and
- Vehicle neglect
Activities That Might Void Your Warranty
What makes this especially important to pay attention to is the fact that misuse of vehicle can be interpreted in broad ways.
- Taking your Camaro to a drag strip and blowing the head gasket.
- Overloading your Tacoma with too much gear and causing issues to the drivetrain.
- Off-roading your Wrangler and rolling it into a ditch.
Basically, anything considered to be outside the normal use of a vehicle – which pretty much limits you to commuting – can be considered misusing a vehicle and won’t be covered by warranty.
What is a Blow Off Valve?
Now that we have a better understanding of what a warranty is and how it works. Can your warranty be voided because you installed a blow off valve?
A blow off valve is a part you can install in an engine with a turbocharger. In an engine with a supercharger, this part is called a bypass valve and works a bit differently.
Modern engines with forced induction don’t need a blow off valve.
But if you install a bigger turbo, a blow off valve protects the turbo against damage from compressor surge by venting built up boost into the atmosphere – and it makes a pretty neat noise when it does.
Are Blow Off Valves Illegal?
Blow off valves are not illegal, necessarily.
As long as installing one allows your vehicle to meet your local and state emissions laws, you’ll be fine.
The only way it becomes illegal and that you could get in trouble is if the vented air contains harmful pollutants like hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide.
Then you might get slapped with a ticket for equipment violation.
This falls under misuse of the vehicle.
Can a Blow Off Valve Hurt Your Engine?
As long as the blow off valve was properly installed and works properly, not only will it not hurt your engine. But it shouldn’t void your warranty.
Remember, the whole point of a blow off valve is to prevent issues with the turbo from compressor surge.
Now if you installed a faulty blow off valve and its not doing its job. Then compressor surge will cause issues with the turbo, which could hurt the engine.
Blow Off Valves and Performance
Installing a blow off valve to a turbocharged engine can improve performance. But not necessarily in the area of increased horsepower.
A modern engine is a big air pump.
A blow off valve along with the turbo and any other modifications you’ve made to the exhaust all work together to improve an engine’s ability to breathe – that’s what increases performance and even horsepower.
Do Blow Off Valves Require a Tune?
Most any modification you make to an engine’s aspiration will require a tune to prevent issues like burnt valves.
Installing a blow off valve isn’t one of them.
The reason why is because a blow off valve isn’t bringing in more air into an engine’s combustion chamber. If anything, it’s blowing off excess air.
So, it doesn’t require a tune.