Getting to Know More About a Car Warranty


One of the least interesting but more important aspects of buying a new automobile is the car warranty. A healthy warranty, such as 10 years/100,000 miles, can bring a prospective buyer into the showroom and even be a deal sealer. After the purchase though, the warranty goes into a drawer somewhere, likely never to be seen again. A valuable piece of paper is treated like the old girlfriend who was once special but now seems irrelevant. Don’t treat your wheels, one of your most prized possessions, like yesterday’s news.

The warranty for your car should be treated like a legal document. It should be read from cover to cover once you receive it and stored along with your other important papers. You might need that “war-ranty” someday to go on a “rant” while at “war” with the dealer where you purchased your car, in the event that you have purchased a lemon.

When purchasing a new vehicle you will automatically receive a warranty for a period of time. The warranty covers almost any defect in the vehicle for a certain period of time, say 3 years, or 5 years. Or the warranty may cover the vehicle from “bumper to bumper” for a few years, and then cover only the “powertrain” for another few years after that. The powertrain is most of the engine and transmission. Although bumper to bumper implies that everything is covered, the parts that undergo normal usage wear and tear such as tires, spark plugs, and basic maintenance are not part of the warranty coverage.

It may also be possible for you to purchase an extended warranty that either supplements what the original warranty covers or adds additional years to the present warranty, or both. Extended warranties can get quite expensive and can be purchased from the dealer or a third party. You would probably only want to purchase an extended warranty if you anticipate that your car would undergo unnecessarily heavy usage after the original warranty has expired.

When purchasing a used vehicle, obtaining a warranty becomes more difficult. Often no warranty is included. If the vehicle is a recent year model, the dealer may add a limited one year warranty.

Whatever the case, you need to ask the dealer what is covered under the warranty. You also need to understand that a warranty will expire whenever one of the mileage or date thresholds expires. If the warranty says 5 years/60,000 miles then it expires once you reach either the five years or the 60,000 miles.

Having a good handle on your warranty will give you piece of mind and help to keep your vehicle running well for years to come.

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