Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says “non-approved modifications” to vehicles such as its Ranger and Everest are a “major concern”.

“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,” said Neale Hill, managing director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“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.

“Ford spends an inordinate amount of time and money developing every aspect of its products, with millions of actual and accelerated kilometres of testing completed before any new vehicle is signed off and goes into production,” Hill said.

“Our standard four-year/120 000 km manufacturer’s warranty is our guarantee that we are confident in the quality and workmanship of all aspects of the vehicle. Should there be a failure within the warranty time and mileage limits that is unrelated to wear and tear, Ford will honour the warranty by repairing or replacing the component,” he added.

The Blue Oval brand’s local arm said the “non-approved” fitment of aftermarket accessories and modifications “may not just impact the manufacturer’s warranty, but could also pose a major safety risk”.

Hill said an example was the “imitation” Raptor grilles being offered by local aftermarket companies.

“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,” Hill said.

“An aftermarket grille could lead to increased air temperatures in the engine bay, which has an adverse effect on numerous mechanical and electrical components, dramatically increasing the risk of premature failure.”

Ford said aftermarket engine tuning, higher-wattage light bulbs, suspension lift (and lowering) kits, wheels with incorrect tyre sizes, aftermarket bullbars and non-homologated canopies and roller shutter systems could all cause damage.

Hill pointed out the company offered a range of “Ford-approved accessories that meet the required specifications, and can be ordered as factory-fitted items, or professionally installed after purchase by a Ford dealer”.