Many times representatives, distributors and dealers have encountered the common statement or phrase regarding a warranty on a certain piece or brand of equipment, whereas, the customer states that their warranty will be voided if they use anything in the equipment that is not specified or approved by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This statement is untrue and should be confronted in each case. In order to support and strengthen your position, you must be aware of all the facts surrounding product warranties provided by such manufacturers. FACT: Manufacturers' warranties only cover defects in their materials and defects caused by their workmanship. A warranty is unaffected by products or materials which are not manufactured or supplied by the OEM. If a product is used which is not provided by the manufacturer and is PROVEN to be the cause of a failure or to adversely affect the equipment, then the warranty would be "influenced", but not voided. It would then be the responsibility of the user or the manufacturer of the "adverse" product(s) to make restitution for the individual "claim", but the original warranty would remain intact. Included is a copy of a letter sent to STEEL SHIELD from Allison Transmissions, which is a typical example of the position OEM's take in backing their product. STEEL SHIELD takes a very similar position regarding its products through the quality, consistency and proper application thereof, and provides product liability insurance coverage which is on file and can be obtained from the home offices of STEEL SHIELD.
If at any time a claim for our product(s) should arise, certain procedural protocol must be followed, as shown below. The responsibility of any potential claim first falls directly into the hands of you, the field representative.
Obtain a sample of the oil, personally removing it from the unit in question using a clean or sterile container (STEEL SHIELD can provide these if necessary).
Forward this sample, along with all information regarding the base oil being used (Material Safety Data Sheets and technical data sheets), and a description of the unit in question.
Provide a scenario of the unit during operation and what occurred up to the time of failure.
Provide the lot or batch number of the product in question or, if unavailable, submit a copy of your purchase invoice, which will provide STEEL SHIELD with a date the product was ordered so we can pinpoint the lot number.
Upon receipt of the sample and information, STEEL SHIELD will conduct a series of spectroscopic tests to determine if the product(s) used is within compatible standards and meets the necessary standards of quality control. We will also test for product alteration or contamination due to the possible inducement of foreign substances into the lubrication system. Be advised that there have been cases of fraud involving the attempted discrediting of products and by some individuals owning old and worn out equipment who seek to obtain a "free ride" in order to replace or rebuild the unit at anyone's cost other than their own.
In the past 10 years of sales and manufacturing, STEEL SHIELD has not had one legitimate claim or failure. In each case of usage where STEEL SHIELD's products are employed and directions are followed, along with the use of compatible lubrication, there has never been an adverse reaction or lubrication failure of any sort.
In conclusion, there are two additional points that must be made. The first is that OEM's, in some instances, manufacture or package additive-type products with their brand name on them and sell them through their network of marketing outlets. These manufacturers will promote their products for usage in their units rather than another company's product(s) in an effort that they may profit entirely, and not the competition. This is a difficult situation to defeat and should be realized as such. Secondly, if at any time you can obtain a copy or documentation whereby an OEM states it won't warrant its product if another product is being used, submit the information to STEEL SHIELD. Upon receipt of this, we assure you that the necessary action will be taken and the situation will be properly rectified. No action can be taken on a verbal or phone call basis. STEEL SHIELD must have written proof of this in order to act appropriately.
Possible voidance of the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) warranty is sometimes cited as a concern by customers. STEEL SHIELD offers this analysis for your information.
Typically, an OEM's warranty covers only defects in the OEM's materials and/or workmanship, and the OEM's warranty is usually limited as to time and/or usage (such as mileage). Review of the OEM's warranty language is required to know the precise coverage afforded by its warranty.
An OEM warranty may contain a statement concerning use of maintenance products other than those supplied by the OEM. In such cases, the warranty usually states that the warranty "may be voided". The statement that a warranty may be voided is very different from the statement "will be voided". "May" is conditional; "will" is mandatory or automatic. How does this work in practice?
The equipment owner may make a warranty claim in the event the equipment fails within the warranty period. The OEM is entitled to make an investigation of the warranty claim. If the equipment owner/user has used a lubrication product other than the product supplied by the OEM, will the warranty claim be denied automatically? The answer is NO.
CONCLUSION: An equipment owner using Steel Shield products will be covered by either the OEM's warranty or by STEEL SHIELD's product liability insurance. Why?
The OEM's warranty applies, in most cases, unless the OEM is able to prove on a specific warranty claim that use of a particular product caused the damage, rather than failure of the OEM's materials and/or workmanship. If it is determined, upon investigation of a warranty claim, that use of a product supplied by a source other than the OEM caused the failure or adversely affected the equipment, then the warranty would be "influenced", but not voided. The included letter from Allison Transmission, Division of General Motors Corporation (OEM), confirms STEEL SHIELD's position on this point. The position taken by Allison Transmission is typical of the position taken by OEM's in backing their products.
The manufacturer of the "adverse" product causing damage to equipment is subject to a claim by the user for restitution, but the original warranty would remain intact. STEEL SHIELD maintains product liability insurance to back their legal responsibility to the equipment owner in such cases.
A trade secret protected ingredient in Steel Shield products causes the significant reduction in friction and friction-related heat and wear. Steel Shield products do not significantly affect the S.E./SAE or the viscosity of the oil that is required by your automobile engine. The basic chemicals that make up Steel Shield are many of the same constituents that are in regular petroleum and mineral oils used in today's engines, transmissions and other equipment. Steel Shield additive is an organic hydrocarbon and contains no PTFE, graphite, silicon, molybdenum disulfides or any other materials that may be considered deleterious to critical lubrication. For all these reasons, it is highly unlikely that Steel Shield products, would "influence" an OEM's warranty.
Experience is the best proof. Customers using Steel Shield products have never had an adverse reaction or lubrication failure while using Steel Shield products according to directions (with compatible host lubrication when required). Consequently, STEEL SHIELD has not had a single legitimate claim for equipment failure resulting from the use of Steel Shield products during all its years of sales and manufacturing.
Our user data (supplied upon request), especially from George-Pacific Corporation, The Isaac Corporation and Professor Frank Jolly of Humboldt State University, provides powerful evidence that use of the product would have anything but an "adverse" effect on the equipment. See also the "Roller Chain Lubrication Test" by J.L. Cochran, November 19, 1989.
A comparison of the specifications for lubricants supplied by the OEM with the specifications for the STEEL SHIELD products would be helpful. It is likely that STEEL SHIELD's products will equal or exceed the OEM's specifications.
LEGAL ISSUE: The voidance of an OEM's warranty by use of a product other than one specified by the OEM is primarily a legal issue rather than an engineering issue. The significant increase in useful life of equipment afforded by the use of products containing Steel Shield additives makes it worthwhile for the customer's legal department or legal counsel to review this issue if necessary prior to their field testing the Steel Shield product.
OEM's, in some instances, manufacture or package additive-type products with their brand name on them. These OEM-made products are sold through their network of marketing outlets. Naturally, the OEM prefers to profit from the sale of its additive or maintenance products to the owners of its equipment. The OEM or its distributors may be tempted to overcome competition by using a bogus claim that use of the competition's product "will void the OEM's warranty". In such cases, always request a copy of supporting documentation. Chances are the documentation will not support this "negative sales talk". If this be the case, then the integrity of the OEM's sales representative or distributor is in question.
Finally, forward to STEEL SHIELD's offices any written documentation which does state that the OEM's warranty will be voided if a competitive product is used. STEEL SHIELD will ask its legal counsel to review the written documentation and representations to determine if there is a possible violation of an antitrust or fair trade practices or other law.