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Discussion Starter #1
Gee I do not what this to come across wrong but I have a question for all of you “modification enthusiasts”. Having looked through my new manual I saw a reference to “do not remove any equipment” and using “genuine Honda accessories to personalize your vehicle” (P. 239 on the 2002 Odyssey). I thought of all of the cool modifications I have read about on this site and wondered if any of them have ever posed a problem in this area (one particular picture of a wire sticking out of the fuse box comes to mind).

I know the warranty stuff applies to engine and power train mostly, but what about electrical modifications? Has anyone been refused service because of a modification?

Since I run through the 30,000 mile part so quickly I doubt I will get around to a modification before then anyway. After that I’ll stick on wings if I think it will be helpful!


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1996 Odyssey 120,000 miles
2002EX Odyssey w/towing package
http://www.homestead.com/weaverhouse/index.html
 

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They can only void a warranty repair if they can prove that the alteration or addition installed by you caused the malfunction in the first place.

Just make sure that you use quality aftermarket parts or accesories and proper installs and you should have no problem.
 

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I had to "educate" sp7128 on Yahoo about this in relation to the ATF cooler thing.

1.The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C))

This federal law regulates warranties for the protection of consumers. The essence of this law concerning aftermarket auto parts is that a vehicle manufacturer may not condition a written or implied warranty on the consumers using parts or services which are identified by brand, trade, or corporate name (such as the vehicle makers brand) unless the parts or service are provided free of charge. The law means that the use of an aftermarket part alone is not cause for denying the warranty. However, the law's protection does not extend to aftermarket parts in situations where such parts actually caused the damage being claimed under the warranty. Further, consumers are advised to be aware of any specific terms or conditions stated in the warranty which may result in its being voided. The law states in relevant part:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">“No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumers using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name....” (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)).</font>
2. Clean Air Act Warranty Provisions (42 U.S.C. S 7541 (C) (3) (B))

The federal Clean Air Act requires vehicle makers to provide two emissions-related warranties -- a production warranty and a performance warranty. The production warranty requires the vehicle maker to warrant that the vehicle is designed, built and equipped so that it conforms with emissions requirements at the time of sale. The performance warranty requires the vehicle maker to warrant that the vehicle will comply with applicable emissions requirements as tested under state vehicle emissions inspection programs for the warranty periods specified in the law (for model year 1995 and later vehicles, the warranty is 2 years/24,000 miles for all emissions-related parts and 8 years/80,000 miles for the catalytic converter, electronic emissions control unit and on-board diagnostic device). The performance warranty is conditioned on the vehicle being properly maintained and operated.

Like the Magnuson-Moss Act, vehicle manufacturers may not refuse warranty repairs under the Clean Air Acts performance and defect warranties merely because aftermarket parts have been installed on the vehicle. The only circumstance under which the vehicle manufacturer can void the emissions warranties is if an aftermarket part is responsible for (causes) the warranty claim.

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Jim
'01 GG EX w/stuff
'93 Nissan Sentra SE-R with more stuff
 

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Yes, technically, they cannot void the warranty unless the modification is proven to be the cause of the problem. BUT, can you imagine how much grief a dealer could cause you before finally giving in? One could go too far with the mod thing and leave an opening for a dispute. That would not be good for those wanting to stay out of the shop. Cosmetic mods are no problem, but, some mechanical/electrical moves could cause trouble. Just my two cents.....

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's the grief thing that I was curious about. They love to get out of anything they can.

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1996 Odyssey 120,000 miles
2002EX Odyssey w/towing package
http://www.homestead.com/weaverhouse/index.html
 

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Another good resource is SEMA/Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Assoc. There yearly show in November/Las Vegas premiers all the aftermarket parts for the new year. The organization is made up of thousands of accessory companies and also works as an advocate for such issues. I think their website is sema.org. Recently they made the news by finally reaching a reasonable standard for aftermarket exhaust systems in CA. In other states they have fought to allow suspension modifications. Fortunately many manufacturer's have finally caught on that the aftermarket is a multi-billion dollar industry and they should do their best to support it. Being flexible in their warranties is one such issue. Locally many friends have their aftermarket chips/exhaust/etc installed at their respective dealership and in return the dealership will not argue warranty issues. An example would be Scottsdale Audi, selling and installing APR chips/exhaust/turbo's etc. Look at the SEMA website, email or call them with questions and most of all see the response of the service manager at your favorite Honda dealership. Hope this helps!
 

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IMHO many mods fall into a grey area. Technically (legally) they can only refuse warranty coverage if the modification is the direct cause of the failure, e.g. an improperly installed trans. oil cooler causes fluid leakage and then failure of the transmission.

The problem with electrical mods is that today's computerized cars (including the Ody) have systems that are inextricably linked and tracing the root cause of an electrical malfunction can be very difficult. Thus the grief factor can be very high. I personally know someone who had a very difficult time with a BMW dealer over the failure of his engine computer unit, all because he had tapped into the fusebox to power some accessory and the dealer found the mod.

Indeed (digressing from the Honda Odyssey but germane to this discussion) BMW in particular takes a very hard-nosed attitude to modifications - the dealers have a special system to "log" any modifications, however slight, they find. Then if at any later date there is a warranty failure, they (i.e. even a different facility at the other end of the country) can check the list of logged mods for that particular car to see if they can find anything to pin the blame on. My personal experience with this is that I replaced the rear tires on my 330i with a different brand, and found after my next service that this fact had been logged into the system - something about different tires front and rear! Presumably if at a later date I complain about tire noise, or even traction control issues, they might point to this "modification" as cause.

The bottom line is that mods are legal in the US but the "grief" factor can be high. The best course is to evaluate how well you personally know your dealer, whether they would be predisposed to work with you, and go from there. (I should add the example of my '95 Taurus SHO (previous car) that I had heavily modded including, for example, drilling into the transmission case to install a custom drain plug. I never had any problems with basic or extended warranty coverage, which I attribute entirely to the fact that I was on very good terms with a service writer at the dealership and worked exclusively with him.)

YMMV



[This message has been edited by rg (edited 01-01-2002).]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks RJ, that is exactly the kind of thing I was curious about.

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1996 Odyssey 120,000 miles
2002EX Odyssey w/towing package
http://www.homestead.com/weaverhouse/index.html
 
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