Does Changing Your Oil Void Warranty?

Does Changing Your Oil Void Warranty? One benefit that comes with buying a car directly from the dealership is that it will come with the manufacturer’s warranty and no user will want to void such a warranty. 

However, several incidents might occur which can void your warranty. It could be a small mistake from your end or your mechanic’s. 

Before going further, it is important to understand what a car warranty is, your role in the warranty relationship and why you may void it.

A car warranty is simply an agreement between the car manufacturer and the users, which promises the good state of the car and highlights that the manufacturer is responsible for repairing certain components in the car or replacing it if there is any problem after a certain period of purchase. 

The warranty outlines all you need to do to keep your warranty active within this period and things that will partially or completely void your warranty.

Rough-handling your vehicle, modifying your car, or ignoring the maintenance schedule can in one way or the other void your car’s warranty. The manufacturer can void your warranty if you ignore the maintenance schedule, for instance, failing to change the oil when due. 

Changing your oil will not void the warranty except if the oil damages your engine or makes certain components malfunction. This implies that you need to use the recommended oil for your engine. People use aftermarket products on vehicles that are still under warranty and this might void the warranty.

However, the Magnuson Moss Warranty act states that anything outside what was originally installed or recommended for use on your vehicle like fluid, filter, software, or hard components is an aftermarket product and if the vehicle fails as a result of using or installing these products, the car manufacturer cannot arbitrarily void the car’s warranty except the carmaker proves beyond reasonable doubt that the vehicle failure was caused by the installation or use of these aftermarket products.

Things That Can Void Your Car’s Warranty

There are different activities you will partake in that can void your car’s warranty. There are a few differences in car warranties and this can be because of the manufacturer or type of vehicle. 

Here are three major things that can void your car’s warranty. 

Modifying your car

Most car warranties do not cover damages caused by aftermarket or non-factory products. So, if you want to modify any part of your vehicle, it is important to remind your mechanic to use parts that meet the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specification for your vehicle model. 

People have the habit of installing aftermarket tires and wheels on their vehicles, maybe because they feel those are more powerful or effective than the original. Also, they modify certain drivetrain and undercarriage components like the axle which can later cause steering, drivetrain, or suspension problems

Sometimes, car users, especially pickup drivers install power chips in their vehicles to increase power as a way of modifying the drivability of the vehicle.

Some vehicle owners increase the turbo boost to improve the pressure in the combustion chamber. These performance and programming modifications can blow up certain components in your vehicle like the head casket and if the manufacturer confirms that the damages were as a result of your installations or modifications, the car warranty can be voided.

Ignoring maintenance schedule

Cars come with a recommended maintenance schedule from the manufacturer. This could be a schedule for an oil change, filter, or alignment.

While some people completely ignore maintenance schedules, others do not take the vehicles back to the dealership for servicing but rather service them at local repair facilities or quick lube. Doing this is not a problem. It only becomes a problem when the mechanic fails to use original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) specifications to work on your car.

Car manufacturers spend lots of money on researching, developing, and experimenting with fluids and other components that are best for your vehicle for optimal performance and longevity. However, people fail to follow these recommendations but instead use what they think is best for their vehicles, due to affordability and easy accessibility which turns out to be detrimental to the performance of the engine. 

Each type of engine has a recommended fluid to boost its performance and anything outside of that will not provide adequate lubrication to the engine and in the long run, could lead to damage. For instance, the manufacturers of Ford Taurus (3.0-liter V6 engine) recommend 5W20 semi-synthetic oil for the engine and anything outside of this might under-lubricate the engine which is not good for its operation. 

Another important thing to do is to keep the receipts and records of maintenance you have done anywhere outside the dealership. You may have followed the proper maintenance schedule and used the recommended materials, but if there is no record of your maintenance activities and your engine is having a problem, the manufacturer can void your warranty with the claim that there is no proof of regular maintenance.

Misusing/ rough-handling of your vehicle

It is important to carefully review your car warranty to know what activities can be tagged “misuse” by your manufacturer as this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Activities like racing and towing loads heavier than your vehicle can void your warranty. Some people engage in off-roading by driving their vehicles on rough roads, gravel, rocks, bush tracks, woods, and muddy areas.

Vehicles that can tow/haul are usually designed to have a good cooling system capacity, good suspension to handle the additional weight, heavy-duty brakes that can stop the vehicle with the additional load, and a reinforced rear frame area to support the hitch receiver and special wirings. If your vehicle is not equipped with all of these, and you use it for towing, you will encounter lots of problems like overheating, frame damage, excessive brake wear, suspension damage, overheated transmission, and damaged wiring.

All of these will in one way or the other affect the performance of your vehicle and can even damage your vehicle completely. 

In a nutshell, putting your vehicle to a task beyond its capacity or rough handling can cause damage to it and your dealership will void your warranty if this is found to be the case.

Does Changing Your Oil Void Warranty?

To save time and reduce cost, some people change their oil by themselves or use a fluid not recommended by the dealership.

Some people might walk away with this while others may not be so lucky. If your engine gets faulty as a result of not using the recommended oil, your warranty can become invalid.

Changing your oil will not void your car warranty as long as you are doing the right thing. Sometimes, your engine can run out of oil and there’s no automobile repair shop to refill it. In this scenario, you can change the oil on your own but you must abide by certain rules set by the manufacturer for your car.

Firstly, you must endeavor to use the recommended oil for your engine. Most carmakers like Ford, Honda, and Chrysler specify the use of 5W-20 and 0W-20 motor oils for their engines. 

Using the wrong oil will reduce the efficiency of the engine and could cause severe damage to your engine. Also, your car will no longer be covered by the warranty if you use engine oil that was not recommended.

Another important thing to do is to always keep the records and receipts of oil changes or any other maintenance process you have undertaken. Sometimes, your dealership might try to wrongly void your warranty, but receipts and proofs of oil changes will justify everything. You must not forget to use only the recommended oil for your engine to avoid the invalidation of the warranty.

It is important to keep to specified oil change intervals. To ensure your engine oil remains clean for optimal performance of the engine, you must change with a recommended oil at the specified time. 

If you skip your oil change interval and your car starts developing faults that can be traced to skipping the interval, your warranty can be denied. 

Here’s a summary of how to change your oil to avoid invalidating your warranty. 

In essence, changing your oil will not void the warranty but using the wrong oil or skipping oil change intervals can. If any of these activities cause damage to your engine, your car warranty can be voided.

Do You Need to Go to The Car Dealers for Servicing?

Servicing your car at the dealership tends to be a safer choice and decision to make. 

Getting your car serviced at the dealership might be a bit more expensive than an independent mechanic but the assurance is that your vehicle is in the hands of specially trained technicians, with high-level expertise that are very conversant with the make and model of your vehicle and can diagnose problems easily. 

These trained factory technicians know how to maintain your vehicle to work just the way it was manufactured because they know how to make amends according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

When the dealership handles your servicing, it comes with numerous benefits and a level of security that protects you and your vehicle.

Servicing your vehicle at the dealership ensures that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications are used to work on your vehicle. Most dealerships offer a free service package for a limited time and during this period, you can always bring your car to the dealership and get it fixed without a charge as long as the problem is covered by the warranty. 

Working with the dealership has several advantages which include:

Increased customer satisfaction

Meeting the customer service requirement of the manufacturer is one thing dealerships consider to avoid losing the authority of operating under the manufacturer’s name. 

Manufacturers demand certain performance standards from dealers in areas of repairs and customer service and if they fail to provide these to customers, they will lose the mantle of operation under that manufacturer. Due to this, dealerships ensure that the customers do not leave unhappy by providing great services as compared to independent auto repair shops that have no one to report.

The direct relationship that exists between the dealership and manufacturer makes it possible for dealerships to get first-hand information on software, safety recalls, or technical service bulletins from the manufacturers which most independent mechanics will have no idea about.

When you bring in your car for servicing, the dealership will first of all check the vehicle for issues that you haven’t even noticed yet through the service software which is what most independent auto repair shops cannot offer. 

Apart from the issues that are already evident, some issues might remain unnoticed until they become severe and will require you to visit the mechanic more often. Servicing with authorized dealerships saves this stress.

Warranty on work done

One more benefit of having the dealership service your car is that it comes with warranties. 

Some repairs can be done free of charge as long as it is within the period covered by the warranty. Even if your warranty has expired, if a repair fails, the dealership can offer a warranty on that repair and you’ll have it repeated for free.

A manufacturer’s warranty offered through dealerships will be honored in different locations, the warranty is always valid at any dealership regardless of the location. This is the kind of flexibility independent auto shops do not have.

Specialized Workers

Dealerships usually have an edge over independent auto shops when it comes to expertise. Users are more relaxed when they know that the technician handling their vehicle knows the nooks and crannies and what needs to be done in the vehicle.

Technicians at dealerships are usually trained directly by the manufacturers which simply means that they know almost everything about the model or make of the vehicle, they understand how the car operates and know exactly what to do to fix a problem.

Servicing your vehicle at an independent auto shop is more price friendly, but you are not assured of getting it done with OEM parts. 

Most mechanics make use of aftermarket products because they are cheaper and readily available, but as a car owner, if you are willing to spend on OEM parts, you can get them from the dealership and have your mechanic fix them at a cheaper rate. 

It is not compulsory to get your car serviced at the dealership, you can do this at 

any reliable auto repair shop but this must be done with OEM specifications to avoid voiding your warranty.


It is very okay to do your oil change yourself or at an auto shop aside from the dealership as long as you stick to manufacturers’ oil recommendations. 

You should also follow the recommended change interval judiciously to avoid invalidating your warranty. Dealerships might try to convince you that doing your oil change outside is not safe, but this is not completely true. 

You can change your oil on your own and not have your engine or any component of your car damaged. In essence, doing an oil change on your own will not void your warranty, rather using the wrong oil or missing intervals can void your warranty.