Most working people use a laptop daily. But the vast majority of them have a fairly passive relationship with their device. They buy it ready made from a retailer and never even consider tinkering with it. When it no longer does what they need it to do, they replace it. They often fail to realize that it can be a lot cheaper to upgrade their HDD to an SSD, increase their RAM or fit a new battery than to buy a whole new laptop from scratch.
As tech lovers, we want a little bit more from our laptops and we are a bit more savvy about the insides of our laptops. We not only want to construct them from scratch, but also want to be able to upgrade parts when possible. The question many people ask is whether doing so will void their warranty.
It is important to define what a warranty is and is not. A warranty is different from insurance. Laptop insurance coverage will pay out if your laptop is lost or stolen. A warranty, on the other hand, is a commitment made by the manufacturer to repair any technical faults that occur in the first year or two.
Why would a warranty be voided if you install new components? Well, warranties only guarantee that the manufacturer will fix problems caused by manufacturing faults. When you start tinkering with your laptop, it is no longer as straightforward to identify whether the fault was caused by manufacturing issues or by your actions.
That being said, in most cases, installing new components in your laptop will not void your warranty. Let’s get into the details.
Building Your Laptop
If you have built your laptop from scratch, you might be wondering how warranties work at all. In this case, the answer to the above question is fairly straightforward. You’re expected to be adding components, and doing so definitely does not void the warranty of the base device.
However, unlike with stock laptops, separate components each have their own warranty. In other words, if something goes wrong with your laptop, the maker of the component at fault will fix it for free.
This is especially important to remember if you add more components in the future. These components are under warranty from the moment you bought them, regardless of how old your laptop is.
Ready made Laptops
But what if you buy a laptop that has been put together by the manufacturer with stock components? The warranty for these devices covers the device as a whole, including all the components. Will changing some of these components later on void your warranty?
The answer is that it depends. With most laptops, you can upgrade or swap components without affecting the device as a whole. In these cases, unless it can be shown that your tinkering caused the fault, laptop manufacturers will usually honor the warranty. If you want to be extra careful, it may be worth asking a professional for help so that you don’t damage, for example, the back cover when trying to install new components.
However, there are certain products that work differently. This is often the case with Apple products, and Macbooks in particular. Modern Macbooks come with all the parts not just preinstalled, but soldered to the logic board. As such, you cannot upgrade components without a fair amount of work.
Since you’ll be removing soldered parts to replace them with upgrades, you are tinkering with the foundational aspects of the device. For this reason, Apple is unlikely to honor your warranty if something goes wrong in the future.
That being said, few Macbook owners would have the inclination to upgrade parts. It is not the sort of device you get if you like to tinker. While Macbooks are excellent products, they are not ideal for many tech lovers who want more than a passive relationship with how their laptop works.
One thing that might void your warranty, even with modular laptops, is if you carry out repairs yourself. In most cases, you will not face any problems. After all, if you fix it properly, your actions are unlikely to cause further issues. When you take it in at a later date, the manufacturer will not ascribe the fault to your repairs.
However, if you try to repair your device and are unsuccessful, you may void your warranty. When you take it in, the manufacturer may see that you have made the problem worse. At the least, it will be harder to prove that you had nothing to do with the issue.
Buying and installing new components for your laptop should not void most warranties. If, however, you get a Macbook, you will struggle to replace parts and are likely to lose out on your warranty if you do.