Top 6 Things That May Void a Vehicle Warranty

If you own a car, keeping up with routine maintenance—you know: oil changes, tire rotations, new brakes, and all that jazz—is the most important thing you can do to increase its longevity and resale value. But did you know that getting your vehicle serviced by an authorized dealer, especially at regular intervals, also ensures your car warranty remains intact? 

Many people don’t realize that their car protection plan or warranty isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. Poor maintenance (or none at all) can cancel your coverage if the resulting damage is significantly out of scope from the norm. Yet there are several other ways vehicle warranties could be nullified. Here are the most common reasons, aside from poor maintenance, why car owners inadvertently void their warranty.

1. Incorrect Engine Oil & Fluids

Manufacturers list the type, grade, and amount of fluid needed to maintain your vehicle. Although these may be labeled as “recommended,” these fluids are not merely suggestions; these are virtually “musts” if you want the vehicle to continue operating efficiently and keep your warranty.

Does it really matter?” 

Let’s run through an example: Your 2021 Honda CR-V runs on premium API-certified 0W-20 detergent oil. This means that the oil will flow thinner at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and thicker at 20 degrees Fahrenheit—these are the optimal ambient temperature ranges. If you were to replace that oil with something heavier, like a 10W-30, the oil will run thicker than what the CR-V engine can handle, ultimately leading to decreased fuel economy, greater powertrain wear, and a shortened engine life. 

So, yes, choosing a different motor oil may contribute to a whole host of mechanical issues that will need an expert’s hand to fix. But if you bring your car to your dealership for warranty repairs, and they don’t have a service record for you on file, they may opt to analyze the motor oil’s composition. If it’s the incorrect type/grade, the dealer or the manufacturer may deny your warranty coverage.

2. Going Over Towing & Payload Capacities

Your vehicle has a towing and payload limit for a reason. When you go over those limits, you put a lot of extra strain on your engine and transmission—parts covered by your car’s powertrain warranty—speed up brake pad and rotor wear, damage tires, and even cause chassis warpage, which is not repairable. If your vehicle fails because you’ve towed or hauled more weight than what’s allowed, your warranty will certainly be void, and you’ll have to pay for any repairs out of pocket. Not even the best vehicle warranty will cover this type of use.

Read your owner’s manual (Honda manuals available further below) to see how much payload or trailering weight your SUV or truck can handle.

3. Flooding

Unfortunately, car damage caused by floods and other natural disasters will absolutely void your vehicle warranty. Even if floodwaters don’t actually get high enough to damage the interior or trunk, they could harm some important components under the hood or chassis. 

Floods aren’t uncommon here in Miami, and with hurricane seasons becoming longer and longer, the number of flood-damaged vehicles will certainly grow, too. To avoid dealing with a flooded car in South Florida, utilize some of the tips from our Hurricane Preparedness guide.

4. General “Misuse”

In this instance, the term “misuse” applies to any use of the vehicle that is illegal or strictly goes against guidance outlined in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Depending on your vehicle, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Street racing
  • Off-roading 
  • Reckless driving
  • Filling up with the incorrect fuel (e.g. diesel instead of unleaded gasoline)
  • Illegally altering the odometer

As always, it’s best to stick to guidelines, follow laws, and stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to car ownership. You’ll maintain your warranty and keep out of trouble—seems like a win-win.

5. Aftermarket Parts

Although the use of aftermarket parts isn’t grounds to void a car warranty, unauthorized or non-OEM auto parts that fail can cause cascading damage to the rest of your vehicle. This could potentially void a warranty—if dealers can prove it.

While you’re legally allowed to modify your vehicle with third-party car parts, doing so is risky if you value your car warranty. Certain aftermarket components will raise red flags, and dealers have the right to deny your warranty coverage or claim if there’s evidence that the defective component was being used illegally or out-of-spec. Stick to authorized and approved OEM car parts whenever possible.

Need a Honda part in Miami? Get a quote online from any of our South Florida Honda Dealers.

6. Independent Mechanics

No, taking your vehicle to someone other than the folks at your dealership won’t void your car maintenance warranty, per the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. You cannot be denied warranty repairs or coverage if someone other than your dealer has performed work on your vehicle. 

However, warranty repairs may not be covered, and warranties, in general, may become void, if someone other than your dealer has caused damage due to improperly performed work. For instance, a cheap mechanic could replace your Civic’s belt incorrectly and damage the powertrain; in this case, your Honda powertrain warranty may not be honored.

This is one big reason why you should always bring your car to your dealership’s service center! If you need repairs or general Honda maintenance in Miami to keep your Honda warranty intact, make an appointment at one of your South Florida Honda Dealers. Book a date online or contact your nearest dealership today.


Honda Owner Resources

Need an online owner’s manual or warranty booklet for your specific Honda model? Find printable PDF files below for detailed information about the coverage and terms of your warranties, including: 

  • General warranty provisions
  • New vehicle limited warranty
  • Emissions warranties
  • Warranties on accessories, replacement parts, and more.

Honda Accord

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Civic

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda CR-V

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda HR-V

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Insight

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Odyssey

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Passport

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Pilot

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Honda Ridgeline

Owner’s Manual

Warranty Booklet

Tire Warranty Info


For more details and information about your Honda warranty period, Honda battery warranty coverage, or anything else related to car protection plans and auto warranty services, please contact any of our South Florida Honda Dealers. We’d be privileged to be your guide.