Will Installing a Hitch Void My Warranty? No.

Here’s a topic that’s been debated almost as much as tire brands and the “best oil.” Will installing a hitch and pulling a motorcycle trailer or camper void your new bike warranty?

The simple answer is "No." It’s against the law.

Here's the longer answer. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1974 was passed to insure that manufacturers honored the terms of their warranty fairly. Any manufacturer who sells a product that comes with a full warranty (like a motorcycle) can’t cancel your warranty or decline to honor it just because you’ve install aftermarket parts, like a motorcycle hitch or a wiring kit.

A notice from the Federal Trade Commission published in 2010 clarified this matter, stating that consumers (like you) have the right to patronize independent retail stores and repair shops for parts and service without fear of voiding your new vehicle warranty.

A dealer or vehicle manufacturer does have the right to deny a warranty repair only if they can demonstrate that the aftermarket part caused the problem. That means if you were to install a hitch on your bike, tow a 20’ bowrider and burn out the clutch, your dealer could refuse to repair that under warranty. I wouldn’t blame them.

However, under ordinary travel conditions, the only effect a motorcycle-specific trailer or camper will have on your bike is to cause accelerated wear on consumables like tires and brake pads. You’d expect that.

Furthermore, your warranty remains in effect for all other covered parts. Let’s say you have a problem with the display on your bike’s media center. Your dealer can’t deny a warranty repair because you have a hitch installed.

The debate about tires and oil, or which color is faster will never be settled. (It's blue, by the way.) But when it comes to installing a motorcycle hitch and your warranty, the law is clear. You don’t give up your warranty or your rights by installing and using aftermarket parts.

So install your hitch, plug in your wiring, hook up your trailer, and go ride.

If your dealer and your manufacturer fail to own up to their responsibilities, you have legal rights to pursue. And, while you’re at it, you’ll probably want to look for a better dealer and a different brand of ride.