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Old 10th November 2006
Cojoroh Cojoroh is offline
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Default autocross vs. warranty

i came across this thread and thought i'd share it...

http://www.smallvolvos.com/index.php?topic=23128.new

Quote:
Warranty Woes: Whether abuse or autocrossing, most automakers are not covering it

MICHAEL MILLER DIDN’T know it, but the drivetrain warranty was already void on his son’s new Mitsubishi Evolution before he even took the car in for service to his local Salt Lake City dealership.

Unbeknownst to Miller, Mitsubishi placed a lifetime warranty restriction on the engine, clutch and transmission in Miller’s Evo because the company discovered the car had been entered in a Sports Car Club of America autocross event a month earlier.

Miller said that about two weeks after entering the Evo in the SCCA event he heard bad noises emanating from the engine bay and took the car in for service. “The dealer performed a vehicle service inquiry and I was told there was a restriction placed on my file,” Miller says.

Bottom line: After entering the car in one SCCA event, Miller was left with a $7,000 bill for repairing two failed connecting rods and a blown turbocharger.

“Problems related to racing or modifications are not covered under warranty,” says Mitsubishi spokeswoman Janis Little. “Autocrossing, or timed competition, is classified under the warranty terms as racing. It’s difficult for us to know if you’re out there racing, but if there is evidence of racing damage, we’re going to look into it and you may have warranty restrictions placed on certain parts of the vehicle.”

Most owners recognize that part of the cost of going racing means footing the repair bill when something goes awry. Manufacturer warranties and owner manuals typically specify that harsh use, abuse, non-factory modifications and racing can void all or part of a vehicle’s warranty intended to cover defects in materials or workmanship. Miller’s case, however, raises questions about how the company discovered his autocross involvement.

The buzz in online communities suggests Mitsubishi is cross matching names from its owner database with SCCA autocross results. Those who turn up on both lists are notified that their vehicle warranties are void, the online chatter claims. Miller says Mitsubishi wasn’t clear on how it learned of his autocrossing.

Mitsubishi adamantly denies that it uses automated web search systems to look for Evolutions involved in race events. “We don’t have people out there searching websites for names,” says Little.

No matter how racing involvement comes to the attention of an automaker, companies steadfastly stand by their right to limit warranty coverage—even if the cars they sell are clearly built for speed and marketed with flashy ads and brochures that promote enthusiastic driving. Most automakers say the same thing: Racing, track use, competition and other abuses aren’t covered.

“When it hits the track, all bets are off,” says Bob Carlson, Porsche Cars of North America spokesman.

For instance, even though Subaru pops for a one-year SCCA membership for every interested WRX buyer, and in its marketing materials appears to encourage owners to enter their cars in autocross events, the company says autocrossing is racing and racing can void warranty coverage. The WRX/SCCA application form says the SCCA “looks forward to helping you fully experience the benefits of owning this car.” But the form also includes a disclaimer that Subaru’s warranty excludes “damage or failure resulting from participation in competition or racing events.”

“If the damage looks to be racing related, you’re not going to be covered,” says Subaru spokeswoman Larkin Hill. “We don’t want to punish the person who goes out once in a while and autocrosses—and that shouldn’t cause any problems with the car anyway. However, autocross is considered competition and the warranty does not cover abusive driving or competition. If you’re out there racing every weekend, you can’t expect us to fund it.”

You’ll hear the same story at DaimlerChrysler Street and Racing Technology, where they make the Dodge SRT-4, the Viper-powered Ram SRT-10 and the supercharged Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6. “Technically, racing damage is not covered under warranty,” says SRT spokesman Dan Bodene. “If a guy autocrosses, submits a problem for warranty and the dealer suspects it is racing related, he’s going to huddle with our technicians to find out. If it is, our dealers are not obligated to cover it under warranty.”

Chevrolet lures young buyers with the performance promise of its 2005 supercharged Cobalt SS, but the owner’s manual clearly states the warranty does not cover alterations and misuse.

“Under the misuse heading, such things like running over curbs, improper loading and competition or racing are spelled out specifically,” says Chevy spokesman Mike Stoller. “If there’s a car coming into the dealer that has been racing and that results in damage, and it’s something that is probable or obvious, that would not be something we would be compelled to cover.”

Internal investigations aren’t limited to auto-crossing, but cover any activity deemed outside normal use, such as track days and plain old aggressive driving.

“If a guy’s constantly lighting up the tires on the street, that’s not normal wear and tear,” says Chrysler’s Bodene.

Adds Mitsubishi’s Little: “You’re not going to get black-flagged just for entering an auto-cross, but if something happens we want people to be reasonable and responsible for their own actions. If you go once in a while, just like if you drive hard on the street, who’s going to really know? But if you’re coming in two or three times to replace a blown clutch, we know you’re probably testing your car’s 0-to-60 time.”

But what about all those manufacturer- and dealer-sponsored “racing” events—track days, club meets and performance driving programs that seem to encourage owners to drive competitively?

The big difference, companies note, is that manufacturer-sponsored driving programs such as Mazda’s Rev It Up or the Porsche Driving Experience provide cars and instruction, and no owner vehicles are permitted.

One rare exception is track day events organized, sponsored and sanctioned by the national Ford SVT Owners’ Association and local Ford/SVT dealers. Owners bring their cars, and the association and participating dealers agree to cover any mechanical failures brought on by normal track use.

“Owners can participate in the instructional days without automatically voiding their warranties,” says Ford Performance Vehicles spokesman Alan Hall. “Obviously if they abuse it [the car] on the track, or there’s a part that breaks due to aggressive driving, that will not be covered under warranty. But your warranty will not be voided across the board by just participating in that event. We don’t automatically void a warranty unless above-normal abuse is shown on a vehicle.”
so, the lesson of the day: give SCCA a slightly false name. from my last event, they botched up my first name, last name, AND car name...so who's going to notice?
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  #2  
Old 10th November 2006
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Sounds reasonable to me. Come on, guy brings his evo in with two broken Conn rods and a blown turbo? I'm sure the dealer is suspecting abuse and the SCCA stuff was just a way out.

I don't think we can expect warratees to cover abuse like that, and racing is abuse. Normal cars just aren't built for that. Thats why we upgrade them, cuase the standard stuff just doesent cut it. So if you are racing with stock stuff, you are abusing those parts.

I do think the burden of proof is on the dealer though, they've got to prove what you did or modified is what caused the problem.

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Old 10th November 2006
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i do understand that manufacturers cannot afford to fund the weekend racer, but in my opinion, ANY car should be able to hold up for one autocross event. the last time i did this, my runs were around 50-55 seconds each, with a total of 3 runs (many times you're not even guaranteed the 3rd run depending on time). so we're talking about less than 3 minutes of hard driving on flat pavement. if this is reason enough to deny coverage, every car given to the press for evaluation should be completely void as well, because i'm quite sure these cars get much more of a workout than any autocross event could offer. apparently "racing" will start voiding warranties...so i guess your warranty should run out the first time you race one of your buddies at a stop light, or the maybe the first time you get caught. maybe they'll start cross-referencing insurance and police records. uh...NO THANKS...and this is no different.
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Old 10th November 2006
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How... in everliving hell do you blow up a 4g63 in that manner while it's in stock form? These arn't little weak rods, pistons, turbos, so on that go on these cars, that would take some real talent in my opinion.
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Old 10th November 2006
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The buzz in online communities suggests Mitsubishi is cross matching names from its owner database with SCCA autocross results. Those who turn up on both lists are notified that their vehicle warranties are void, the online chatter claims. Miller says Mitsubishi wasn’t clear on how it learned of his autocrossing.


That is the part that would really fire me up. That the manufacturer was cross checking databases to find out if you had done it.

All cars should hold up to a brief autocross but i guess you need to draw the line somewhere.
I do remember reading this article in Autoweek a few years ago.
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Old 10th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jango
How... in everliving hell do you blow up a 4g63 in that manner while it's in stock form? These arn't little weak rods, pistons, turbos, so on that go on these cars, that would take some real talent in my opinion.
Three words: Manual Boost Controller
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Old 10th November 2006
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My thoughts exactly, I hate to side with Mitsu, but this car probably had some bad "racing" abuse. And they said right away that the car was only flagged, that they'd investigate the actual cause of the failure rather than simply replacing it. Seems like they were completely fair and within their rights.
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Old 10th November 2006
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my car has been out of warrenty for well over a decade...although I have never seen a connecting rod break on a saab ever...
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Old 10th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronJoe
Three words: Manual Boost Controller
I believe the Evo 8 has a computer that logs any significant change in boost to let the manufacturer know to take it out of warrenty, which should have been stated. Besides, I've seen a kid running around here with his wastegate hose actually crimped off on his Evo 8. The kid has blown clutches and broken an axle, beats the hell out of the thing but the engine is still kicking for some reason.
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