Understanding New Car Manufacturer’s Warranties

car-warrantyWhen you purchase a new car it will come with a warranty of some kind. Warranties can be extremely confusing if you don’t know anything about them, so we’re going to change that by giving you some important information on the typical types of car warranties that are offered when you buy a car. Having this information before you purchase your car can give you confidence that you are not paying for something you don’t need.

Manufacturer’s Warranties

A manufacturer’s warranty is also called a factory warranty. These are provided by the companies that make the cars.  There are four types of manufacturer’s warranties:

  • Bumper to Bumper
  • Power Train and Drive train
  • Corrosion/ Rust
  • Emissions Warranty

Bumper to Bumper Warranty – This is the most comprehensive warranty offered with your car.  It covers all the parts and systems of your vehicle except for those things that incur normal wear and tear. Those will include your tires, the brake pads and windshield wiper blades.

A bumper to bumper warranty will be a huge benefit if you encounter any problems with your electronics systems which can be really expensive to fix if something goes wrong.  The usual duration of a bumper to bumper warranty is 3 years/36,000 miles.

What that means is that your car is covered, from bumper to bumper for 3 years if you don’t drive 36,000 miles during that time frame or for 36,000 miles, even if you reach that mileage in one year. Some manufacturers offer longer terms but that is not very common.

There are conditions and exclusions to the bumper to bumper warranty, so be sure that you know what your warranty covers and what you need to do to ensure it does not get voided.

Power Train and Drive Train Warranty – This warranty is going to take care of many of the mechanical parts of your vehicle including the differential, the transmission and your engine. Your warranty coverage will be longer on a powertrain/drive train warranty than a bumper to bumper. Some manufacturers offer 10 year/100,000 warranties for this type of warranty.

The same “rule” applies for this type of warranty that we recommended for the bumper to bumper warranty and that is know what it covers and what it doesn’t. You can look at this before you ever purchase the car, so ask to see their detailed warranty information if this is something you really want to know about.  If it automatically comes with the car, it is still important that you know what it includes and what your part in keeping the warranty valid is.

Rust/Corrosion Warranty –This warranty covers premature deterioration of the sheet metal on your car.  This is a very basic warranty that only covers what it says.  Be aware that unless the rust has eaten all the way through the metal, they will not usually replace anything. Read all of the fine print on this warranty especially if it is being offered as an add-on. It may not be worth it to get it with the exclusions or guidelines it may have.

Emissions Warranty – This coverage will sometimes be included in the bumper to bumper but it is not standard so you will need to check the inclusions to see if it is.  This warranty is separate from anything else and covers any problems that may occur with your emissions system.  That will include things like the catalytic converter, Map sensor, ECU (emissions control unit) and other things that have to do with your emissions systems.

The biggest thing you can do for your own peace of mind is to thoroughly read your warranty and what it covers (and what it doesn’t) before you sign anything.  Not all warranty companies are reputable so see if you can do some research on the companies that the dealership holds warranties wit. That extra research will serve you well when it comes to having a warranty you trust.