By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

October 3, 2022
catch can new car warranty

Can a Catch Can Void Your New Car Warranty

Most new car warranties only cover repairs from factory defects. But what happens if something goes wrong with your vehicle after you've already driven it home and started to customize your ride?

Aftermarket modifications like suspension, cold air intakes and a catch can void your warranty, even if you didn't cause the problem yourself. This is because most manufacturers won't cover any problems caused by third parties, you may not get any help if you find yourself stuck with costly repairs.

Answer: I suggest that you don't modify any engine components or suspension for the first year of ownership. This will allow you to get to know the vehicle better and also get to know your service advisor at the dealership.

From experience, it really depends on your service advisor if they are lenient or strict when it comes to modifications. I know from the past, service technicians are required to record and report any finding that might contribute to errors or issues with the car.

We'll also explain how to protect yourself against future aftermarket issues and voiding your warranty claim.

Does Installing An Oil Catch Can Void My Car Warranty?

While there are different opinions about whether installing a catch can void your warranty claim. From personal experience, I would avoid bringing in your warrantied vehicle with aftermarket parts. While you might justify that you spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on these modifications, the dealership can turn you away and reject your warranty coverage, leaving you out of luck.

If possible, I suggest that you reinstall your OEM parts where you rerouted the hoses for the catch can. I believe that all car manufacturers engineered the vehicle for longevity and not maximum performance. Thus they have built in tolerances to ensure that.

Since the catch can deal with the engine bay and oil, it can easily be seen as a possible cause for an engine issue. You never want to run an engine with low or no oil.

While it's HIGHLY unlikely, oil catch cans are typically not designed by vehicle manufacturers due to the manual maintenance involved in emptying the cans.

Again, some say that installing a catch can will void the warranty, while others claim that it won't affect the vehicle's performance. As far as improving fuel efficiency goes, most people believe that installing a catch can will help.

What is a Catch Can?

A catch can is basically an oily trap or filter inside your car’s crankcase. This device helps keep your engine clean and reduces harmful emissions. If you don’t empty out the collected oil regularly, it could cause damage to your engine. You should empty your catch can every few months, depending on how much driving you do.

The purpose of a catch can is to help with your emissions and avoid having the oil mist pumped back into your intake valve and pistons.  It works by adding a catch can between the (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) PCV to the intake manifold.

This will definitely help reduce the carbon buildup in the combustion chamber but many can argue if it's really needed. The PCV hose from your valve cover releases the air and oil mixture back to intake. This was created by the crankcase blowby from the engine's piston. The air is pulled in from the engine vacuum.

A catch can pull in this air and cool it, allowing the combustion byproducts like oil and air to separate. The filtered air is now able to be routed back to the intake tube and back to the intake valves. This process repeats itself for every engine stroke. 

It definitely helps but it is an added maintenance cost. In addition, because oil is being rerouted, there is a high chance that it will impact your new car warranty.

Why use a Catch Can?

A catch can is an interesting solution for reducing the amount of oil in your intake. However, it will require you to empty the collected oil from the can.

This does not replace the fact that your engine requires regular maintenance. Regular maintenance includes changing the oil every 3,000 -5,000 miles, depending on how often your vehicle is driven.

While your car might call for 10,000 to 15,000 miles per Oil Change Interval (OCI), I suggest that you aim for 7,500 miles. Remember, if you do not change the oil regularly, it becomes dirty and causes damage to the engine.

Some warranty service departments may blame this simple engine modification to deny warranty repair. However, use your common sense on how you  install and use this as part of your engine maintenance. 

What is the Difference with Cheap vs Expensive Oil Catch Cans?

There are a number of different price points available for aftermarket oil catch cans on the market. You can scour Amazon with pricing ranging from $25 to $250. The main differences between them are the capacity and the filter baffling for the separation of the air and oil.

You can check YouTube or online forums for different reviews and installation instructions. I believe that if you run a high performance vehicle or direct injection that you might want to invest in a catch can. However, you do run the risk of creating a warranty issue for yourself. 

Does Aftermarket Modifications Automatically Void warranty?

From experience, you might have issues with aftermarket modifications that alter the performance of the vehicle.

Some of the modifications that may void your warranty are:

  • Cold Air Intakes
  • Coilovers or Air Suspension
  • Bigger Wheels or Larger Tires
  • Steering Wheels
  • Racing Seats

Aftermarket parts that don't meet the manufacturer's specifications may void your warranty. Dealership installed modifications would probably not void your warranty. For example, Dinan for BMW and AMG for Mercedes Benz would not void your warranty.

TRD parts from Toyota or Nismo Performance for Nissan would also not void your warranty if installed by your dealership and coordinated with your service manager.

While you may be tempted to refer to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, you run the risk of having to go to court to defend your position that your modification did not cause any additional failures for warranty repair.

What is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) was passed in 1975 to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices by manufacturers. The MMWA applies only to consumer products, which are defined as any product that is used for personal, family, or household purposes. It does not apply to business purchases such as commercial vehicles and equipment.

The MMWA requires a manufacturer to provide consumers with an express warranty for any consumer product that is subject to the statute. Additionally, the MMWA provides that if a consumer has not received the required warranty within thirty days of purchase, then the consumer may bring suit against the manufacturer in state court and recover damages.

However in general, a manufacturer is required to provide a written warranty for its products, there are exceptions.

For example, if a product has been altered or modified by the consumer, then the manufacturer may not be liable under the MMWA. At that point, you will have to take the dealership service to court to dispute coverage. 

Final Thoughts on Warranty Coverage and Catch Cans

In conclusion, yes, a catch can void your warranty. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one for your car. It really depends on your risk tolerance as well as your ability to check on your car's oil levels. 

Oil catch cans are not maintenance free. You will need to check the oil levels from time to time and add new oil to the engine to replace what was collected. 

You do not want to add the oil from the catch can back to the engine because of the condensation. 

A catch is basically a feature that adds extra protection to your vehicle. Again, good luck and be aware that you may put your vehicle warranty at risk. 

For more information on how to make your car last longer, check out the other articles.

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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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