Ford SA says accredited modifications like those applied to the new Ford Ranger Thunder model beat the fashionable but unapproved aftermarket alternatives. Picture: SUPPLIED
Ford SA says accredited modifications like those applied to the new Ford Ranger Thunder model beat the fashionable but unapproved aftermarket alternatives.  Picture: SUPPLIED

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) is warning that nonapproved modifications to their vehicles could have safety implications and could affect warranties, leaving the owner to cover the repair bills.

“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of aftermarket accessories being fitted to Ford Rangers and Everests recently, from grille replacements to body kits, which are a major concern for us,” says Neale Hill, MD of FMCSA.

“While we appreciate the desire of enthusiastic owners to make their vehicles unique, it has major implications for the performance, reliability and safety of the vehicle.”

Most of these modifications are nonapproved by many vehicle brands and flout protocols when applied to cars still under warranty. Ford SA says these modifications could also pose a safety risk, and there’s no guarantee of the quality of workmanship.

Original equipment (OE) parts and accessories have been evaluated through rigorous testing and development, and are professionally fitted, neither of which are guaranteed with aftermarket items, he says.

Imitation grilles, body conversions, performance tuning, suspension lift/lowering kits and lighting systems may compromise driving safety, cause premature failure of components, and may even be illegal in SA, according to Ford.

The imitation Ford Ranger Raptor or F-150 Raptor grilles aren’t simply a cosmetic change, but could increase the risk of premature mechanical failure due to increased air temperatures in the engine bay.

“The grille of the vehicle is carefully designed to manage the air flow characteristics through the radiator and engine bay, which is critical to the vehicle’s cooling and performance,” explains Hill.

Modifications such as body panel changes, suspension lift or lowering kits and performance tuning the fitment of additional lighting kits, such as LED light bars, can impede the vehicle’s cooling performance and compromise the integrity of the electrical system.

Aftermarket bumpers and bull bars that are not manufacturer-approved and have not been homologated, may impact the performance of the vehicle’s active and passive safety features during a collision, including the deployment of potentially life-saving airbags. Similarly, aftermarket grilles, bonnets and fenders could have consequences in terms of the crash performance of the vehicle

“We encourage Ford owners to carefully consider any modifications they wish to do to their vehicles, and discuss this with a Ford dealer,” concluded Hill.

Ford SA was unable to tell us whether there have been cases where customer warranties were voided due to aftermarket modifications.

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