There are many reasons to upgrade a Dodge Ram, and there are even more upgrades and accessories available on the market to fulfill any upgrade wish. A Dodge Ram owner may want to improve the vehicle’s performance, comfort, looks, or safety. However, it’s important to note that the vehicle’s warranty may be voided due to the upgrade.
If the vehicle warranty has expired, the owner can add any upgrade without worrying about voiding it. Upgrades and accessories for safety and performance may be necessary after the warranty period. In some cases, the owner needs to upgrade the truck due to its regular use. For instance, a stabilizer bar is a welcome upgrade if the truck is primarily used for towing a trailer.
Upgrading a Dodge Ram without voiding the warranty is possible as long as you adhere to the terms of the agreement. However, installing an upgrade within the warranty period requires careful thought and planning. In a way, the warranty isn’t voided by the upgrade. Instead, when using the warranty for repairs or parts replacement, you must ensure that the upgrade has nothing to do with the damaged part or repair.
Understanding The Warranty Terms And Conditions Of Your Dodge Ram
The standard warranty for a Dodge Ram truck is three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. After the warranty expires, you are on your own. You can upgrade or add accessories as you wish. There are aftermarket vendors for extended warranties if you feel more comfortable with one. However, most owners no longer subscribe to a warranty once the original has expired.
The Basic Limited Warranty covers defects in materials, parts, workmanship, and the 12-volt battery. Additionally, new models have a separate 5-year or 60,000-mile limited warranty for the powertrain. There are also separate warranties covering rust perforation, emission components, and safety belts.
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Vehicles purchased under the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program also have a warranty of 3 months or 3,000 miles. The powertrain has a separate warranty covering seven years from the original purchase date or 100,000 miles. The CPO warranty also includes 24-hour roadside assistance and is transferable to the new owner if the vehicle is sold before the CPO warranty expires.
The limited warranty is only for the original parts and workmanship straight from the factory. Some provisions state that if upgrades cause any damage to the vehicle or its operations, then the warranty may be voided. These terms and conditions exclude third-party products, accessories, or upgrades.
You must read the fine print before adding an upgrade or accessory because these additions may adversely affect the warranty.
What Voids Dodge Ram Warranty?
The warranty ensures that the vehicle is sound and in good working order when you buy and use it. The assurance warrants that with proper use, the Dodge Ram truck will be useful and show no defects for a reasonable time after purchase. It assumes that the vehicle will be used reasonably and within the limits of its design. There is also the expectation that the vehicle undergoes the necessary maintenance schedule.
The warranty does not cover vehicle misuse, human error, and third-party parts. The Dodge Ram warranty may become void, and any claims may be denied due to the following conditions:
- The warranty period has expired, or the vehicle has exceeded the mileage limits.
- Tampering with the odometer.
- Modifying the vehicle and its parts, especially if it leads to damage to the vehicle or an accident.
- Salvage title or a vehicle that insurance has written off.
- Misuse or lack of maintenance.
- The defect or part is not covered.
- Significant changes or alterations, including the use of third-party parts and accessories.
If you want to accessorize or upgrade your truck, you can ask for recommendations from your dealer and have them install these for you, keeping in mind to stay within the terms of the warranty.
Choosing The Right Aftermarket Parts To Prevent Voiding The Warranty
Upgrading or modifying your vehicle does not necessarily void the warranty. However, if the aftermarket part or modification caused something to break, the dealership may void your warranty and deny any claims.
To get around this problem and stay within the terms and conditions of the warranty, you should ask some help from your dealer in choosing and installing the right parts.
There are Dodge aftermarket parts that fit your Ram truck. They are usually Mopar or other brand parts that are fully compatible with your truck. To prevent voiding your warranty, consult the dealership about the parts you want to upgrade to. Also if there is a Mopar equivalent, the dealership can order it for you.
Although you can install the most common upgrades, it would be better for the dealership to do it for you. The following are common upgrades that do not void the warranty:
- LED upgrades for brighter lights.
- Bluetooth-capable radio.
- Tire change for improved performance.
- Running boards for passenger convenience.
- Changing to more durable mats.
- Upgrading the brakes for improved braking and handling.
- Changing the grille for improved aesthetic value.
- Adding a performance chip to monitor the truck’s performance.
Proper Installation And Maintenance To Prevent Voiding The Warranty
Most Mopar parts and upgrades have their warranties. These replace any warranties on the original parts. However, most parts upgrades will include electrical work and require proper installation.
There may be some changes to the truck maintenance due to the upgrades. These changes in the maintenance schedule should not impact the truck’s original maintenance schedule. It ensures that there is no liability due to improper maintenance in the event of any damage.
Using Certified Mechanics & Installers To Prevent Voiding The Warranty
Upgrades and accessories are usually easily installed. Most owners needing to upgrade their trucks know about these truck parts. DIY work on these vehicles can be done with the right skill, experience, and equipment.
However, it is best to have a certified mechanics or an installation specialist do the job to prevent from voiding the warranty. It would be even better if the dealership did the upgrades. Since part of the dealership’s responsibilities is to honor the warranty, they are also in the best position to advise, recommend and do the upgrade.\
Keeping Records Of Upgrades And Maintenance To Prevent Voiding The Warranty
Some upgrades are unrelated to any warranty claims. For instance, adding a running board, changing the mats, or tonneau covers do not have anything to do with engine, battery, or powertrain. The owner could easily install these without any fear of repercussions.
The most important documents related to the vehicle are the receipts and records of upgrades if there is a warranty claim. There should be a maintenance record and a record for upgrades. The maintenance logs prove that any upgrades were done properly and did not void the warranty.
Having the dealership do the upgrade improves the case for a warranty claim. The dealership has the record that a certified mechanic did it properly and that the upgrade is unrelated to any warranty claim.
With the dealership having its record of the proper installation of the upgrade, there should be no dispute when it comes to a warranty claim.
Consulting With The Dealership To Prevent Voiding The Warranty
Not all upgrades and accessories affect the warranty. For instance, a tonneau cover is for the truck bed and does not impede mechanical truck parts. You can easily add this without consulting anyone. However, other parts may need some consulting with the dealership because they will affect your vehicle’s performance.
When you need to draw power from the car, you need to consult with the dealership. When you connect to the truck’s ECU chip, you must consult the dealership. If you replace the sound system with a Bluetooth model, you also need to consult with the dealership. You have to be clear about your intentions and ensure you do not void the warranty. If you have an upgrade that is more than cosmetic and need some help or truck knowledge, it is better to consult the dealership.
The dealership will tell you what parts can be upgraded without voiding the warranty. They will also be able to help you install the part to ensure that it fits correctly and does not void the warranty.
Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (Knowing your rights)
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was a law passed in 1975 for the protection of consumers by defining how warranties can be used and their limitations. In the case of car manufacturers, the pertinent point of the Warranty Act for the truck owner is that he is allowed to install non-original equipment, whether OEM or aftermarket parts and still retain the warranty, as long as these did not cause a defect in the original truck.
It also implies that dealerships and manufacturers cannot insist on their branded parts to replace or upgrade the vehicle for fear that the replacement may void the warranty.
For the truck owner, it is only necessary to show that the upgrade or accessory did not cause or is not related to any damage that may occur to the vehicle, no matter what brand was used.
Performance Upgrades That Don’t Void The Warranty
It may be necessary to install upgrades to improve the performance of your truck. However, most performance upgrades involve the engine and powertrain and may void the warranty. Although it is up to the manufacturer to prove that the installed upgrade and any modification lead to damaging the vehicle, it is better not to modify the engine until after the warranty period has passed.
In the meantime, there are some upgrades that can improve the truck’s performance, and there are some improvements that the dealership may allow.
The easiest upgrades to install that can improve the vehicle’s performance are the wheels, tires, and suspension. These do not impede the proper use of the vehicle but improve handling, maneuverability, and power delivery. Another performance modification that does not touch on the warranty is the exhaust. An improved exhaust system can deliver a significant power boost. These performance upgrades have their own separate warranties.
Suspension Upgrades That Don’t Void The Warranty
The suspension connects the wheel assembly to the vehicle’s chassis and body. It does not in any way affect the powertrain and the engine. The springs and shock absorbers provide high-speed stability and a smooth ride. The sway bars are optional accessories that attach to the suspension and do not affect the drivetrain operations. Coilovers, struts, and spring upgrades have a separate manufacturer warranty that covers any damage to these parts. Other chassis bracings can also be modified without affecting the vehicle warranty.
Wheel And Tire Upgrades That Don’t Void The Warranty
Wheels and tires could easily be upgraded without affecting the warranty. Within limits, you can change tires to a smaller or bigger diameter. You can also have lighter wheels attached to reduce rotational mass. Wider wheels on trucks are always an option. These provide improved grip on the road, better handling, and maneuverability.
Brakes can also be upgraded without affecting the warranty. The brake system is independent of the engine and drivetrain. They also provide a significant performance upgrade, allowing you to brake harder and come to a stop faster.
Interior Upgrades That Don’t Void The Warranty
Interior upgrades include the mat, seats, and audio systems. Adding or modifying these to fit the owner’s preferences is customary. Bluetooth sound systems, speakers, and even video monitors can be added as accessories. Navigation systems can also be included with the front console. The interior trim can also be upgraded. Seats can be changed to racing seats or more comfortable seats. Upholstery and other interior improvements do not void the warranty.
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Exterior Upgrades That Don’t Void The Warranty
Tonneau covers are not the only thing that can be added. You can add running boards, change the grille, and make LED upgrades for brighter lights. You must consult with your dealership if there is an electrical connection, but these typically do not void the warranty.
None of the information above is legal advise. Please seek advise from a professional regarding the law, this article is just information that is common knowledge and that I know and am sharing this with you as a friend.
Having said that, some dealerships will sometimes provide misleading information regarding upgrades. According to the law, the owner is under no obligation to use what brand the dealer or manufacturer would recommend you use, as long as these do not affect the engine or powertrain in normal working conditions.
You can upgrade a lot of the vehicle and add accessories without voiding the warranty, but clarifying this with the dealership may be necessary. It is also good practice to have a certified mechanic or technician do the upgrade for you instead of doing it yourself.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.