One Jeep Wrangler enthusiast's battle with Chrysler over whether his extensive modifications violated his warranty opened up a Rubicon of debate. The secret for keeping your lifted Wrangler under warranty? Make your dealer happy.
There may be no vehicle that gets more modifications by its owners than a Jeep Wrangler. Hundreds of shops around the country specialize in suspension lift kits for greater off-road clearance and toughened accessories; many Jeep dealers offer similar parts and sell Wranglers pre-lifted for extreme rock crawling.
While Chrysler embraces the customisers and sells parts of its own, the fine print of its warranty carries a warning: Its warranty doesn't cover "any part that was not on your vehicle when it left the manufacturing plant," nor repairs caused by them, including "performance or racing parts."
Chrysler has also long told dealers it will "restrict all or part of a vehicle's eligibility for warranty service when we believe that the vehicle has been so extensively damaged or modified that it cannot be repaired to conform with manufacturing standards."
Basing a rule on belief leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Which brings us to Eddie Oh.
Oh runs the Project JK website devoted to off-roading and mods for the current generation Wrangler. Earlier this year, he got into a dispute with a Jeep dealer in California, and aired his grievances in a customer satisfaction survey.
When he took his 2009 Wrangler X to a different dealer in May for what turned out to be a broken exhaust manifold, the dealership told him his Jeep had been flagged by Chrysler for its lift kit and barred from any warranty repairs. After several rounds of escalation, including letters to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and getting hung up on by a Chrysler exec, Oh received another surprise: Chrysler had shared his satisfaction survey with his previous Jeep dealer, who then flagged his Wrangler in Chrysler's computer service system for having too many mods.
Oh's description of his problems on the Project JK-Forums sparked hundreds of responses, many critical of Chrysler and Jeep.
But the company has its defenders. The problem with Wrangler mods is that there's no way to know how any random combination of changes can affect other parts of the vehicle. Could running 35-inch tires on a lifted suspension put so much strain on the engine that a manifold could crack under stress? It's not likely, but it's possible.
And with all warranty claims under strict scrutiny from automakers, more dealers may fall back on denying borderline claims rather than risking the expense of having the claim rejected and paying the cost themselves.
While some posters reported strict warnings from their dealers that any changes to their Wranglers would cut their warranties, others said their dealers who understood Jeep owners were able to work through problems. And while a lot varies from case to case, one rule of thumb emerged: Lifts no taller than three inches.
my dealership said if I lift it over three inches and or put 35" tires my warranty would be voided so i lifted it 2" and put 33" tires on it and have had no issues with them.....they have done warranty work on it since the upgrades......you should call your dealer and talk to them before you do anything.....just to find out what you can get away with.
(Thanks to KaiserM715) [Project J-K Forums]