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Understanding New-Car Warranties

New cars all come with warranties – some comprehensive giving bumper to bumper coverage while others providing it to specified parts like seat belts and or catalytic converters.

A dozen of the most common warranties are listed below:

Bumper to bumper – this is often known as the basic warranty for a new car and covers the important parts like air-conditioning, music systems, sensors, fuel systems and important electrical parts. Majority of the policies do not include regular maintenance (fluid top-offs, oil changes) except for a few luxury cars (BMW and Saab) that have separate free provisions for maintenance.

Powertrain: This can be misleading for a powertrain warranty for 10 years or 1000,000 miles does not assure ten years free from repairs. It generally gives coverage only to the engine and transmission and perhaps some moving sections connecting the wheels – driveshaft and CV joints.

Extended-length: The dealer selling a new car will try to sell an extended contract with it that goes beyond the standard powertrain and the bumper to bumper warranties. The programmes are varied.

Roadside assistance: Few auto manufacturers include in their warranties roadside assistance along with bumper to bumper and powertrain. Some have distinct policies for this. These give coverage to nearly everything from changing flat tyres to services of a locksmith as also to problems relating to towing and starting problems.

Tyres: The new tyres like the replacement ones are covered with warranties from the manufactures. It is relates to the kind of tyres. Most of the warranties cover a fixed number or years or mileage – which ever is first. Usually the tyres become eligible for replacement if the treadwear indicators show premature wear and tear.

Rust perforation: These policies cover the panels of the body that become rusted. Generally the policies are up to five or six years without any mileage limits. They give coverage to a relatively rare happening – complete perforation. But with modern rust proof chemicals this rarely happens. Reimbursement will be denied to a sheet that has only partly rusted.

Emissions: Government has ruled since 1972 that all the cars have to be fitted with emission controls (oxygen sensors and catalytic converters). For this two kinds of warranties are available – one for performance and another for defects in designing. The former expects the manufacturer to repair or make adjustment to emission controls for a minimum of two years or 24,000 miles if the car fails to pass an emission test.

Factory accessories: These are inclusive of all things – big or small from the fancy audio system to the engine modifications like racing developments of Toyota and Ford. The majority of the manufacturers cover these accessories for a period stretching from one to three years or the remaining part of the bumper to bumper warranting depending on which one happens to be shorter.

Batteries: If batteries are not included in the all comprehensive policy then the 12 volt conventional battery sometimes has a separate warranty of its own, usually ranging from two and stretching up to three years.

Hybrid components: These are inclusive of high-voltage battery pack that is distinct from the 12 volt conventional battery of the car. It also includes hybrid assisting motor and the inter connecting electrical points. These may be excessively costly either to repair or to replace. For this reason the auto manufacturers offer liberal warranties lasting up to even eight years covering 80,000 to 100,000 miles – whichever is first.

Seat belts and airbags: There are a good number of car manufacturers that include seat belts and airbags in the powertrain or the all comprehensive bumper to bumper warranties. Some others issue separate warranties sans any expiry date.

Third party components: This refers to equipments produced by other firms like a DVD player or wireless headphones. These come with a warranty from the individual manufacturer of the products. Note should be taken because the period may be less than the comprehensive warranty for the car.

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