We often get asked the question "if I fit one of your exhausts to my car, will it invalidate my manufacturer's warranty?". According to the law the answer is an emphatic NO. However, many people, including vehicle suppliers themselves, do not know this and can supply the wrong information. Here are the facts:
In October 2003, European Union legislation affecting the motor trade came into force. Its full title is 'Block Exemption Regulations 1400/2002' (in short 'BER'). This legislation changes the way cars may be serviced and repaired, and gives motorists a lot more freedom in their decision about who can look after their cars.
The BER covers areas such as who can service vehicles other than agents appointed by manufacturers and, more specifically to customers who are considering a sports exhaust, parts that can be fitted to a vehicle. Below we draw upon in particular the issues that concern fitting replacement parts to a vehicle that are not the manufacturer's original equipment.
The BER introduces certain definitions of importance to the independent aftermarket. There is a new definition of 'original spare parts' and 'matching quality parts' that is based on the quality of the component. Vehicle warranties cannot be invalidated if these conditions are met:
An interesting point is that if the vehicle manufacturer itself offers spare parts of differing quality (e.g. an "economy" or "premium line"), he/she cannot prohibit its contractual partners (i.e. dealers and authorised repairers) from buying spare parts of the same quality from the independent market.
The BER also covers service and maintenance during the warranty period and prohibits vehicle manufacturers' warranties from including conditions requiring that all parts used must be the VA's "original spare parts".
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION DECLARED THAT SUCH CLAUSES IN A WARRANTY DOCUMENT WOULD REPRESENT 'AN UNJUSTIFIED RESTRICTION FOR THE CONSUMER.