Becoming a car owner involves a lot of lingo – sometimes it can feel like a dealer is speaking a foreign language.
Buying a car should be easy and exciting, not confusing and difficult to navigate. To make the process go more smoothly, familiarize yourself with the different types of car warranties, what each covers, and how it works. This helps you in understanding what you are paying for and how each stands to benefit you. A warranty covers the repair of a vehicle for either a period of time or a mileage level. It can apply to both used and new cars if purchased from a dealership.
Here are some common types of car warranties and their coverage.
Also known as “bumper to bumper” coverage, this is standard on new vehicles. Sometimes it can be transferred between owners if the car is sold while still under basic coverage.
Coverage length will depend on either a length of time or mileage. Common manufacturer coverage includes 3 years/36,000 miles, 5 years/50,000 miles, or even 10 year/100,000 miles of coverage. This will very much differ based on the manufacturer and is an important topic during the car buying experience.
Car warranty types also include coverage from a dealership. Coverage here depends on the dealership and usually has stipulations. Terms and conditions are normally detailed in the contract and inform the buyer of what must be done to repair any parts that are eligible for coverage. Examples of conditions include having car services at the dealership where the car was purchased.
This is a type of dealerships warranty and covers issues that can occur in the first few weeks of car ownership. Typically this is a limit of 90 days, but that can vary based on dealership policies. Covered issues include small adjustments, brake alignments, leaks, squeaks, rattles, and other little hindrances. In this type of coverage, the dealership will need to be the one to fix the problem. That is an important factor if purchasing a vehicle far away from home.
This warranty is also known as an aftermarket warranty and covers the car for a period of time after the manufacturer warranty has ended. This warranty comes at an extra cost to you.
Types of extended warranties for cars will vary based on the company and may possibly not be offered at all. Each manufacturer website details the extended type and will almost always cover less than the original warranty. Some types of extended warranties for cars and their coverage levels include:
Highest level of coverage and is also known as comprehensive coverage
Second highest level of coverage and lists what is covered in detail.
This covers what isn’t included in powertrain (see below) and is typically based on length or mileage. When wrap and powertrain coverage combines, it equals exclusionary.
This is an example of a state component warranty because the policy will only list what is covered and exclude everything else. These types of car warranties can also cover major parts of the vehicle, including:
In the event of a manufacturer error, these parts should be replaced at no cost to you. Companies sometimes offer this type of car warranty without a deductible, but a deductible is possible. Another name for this type is sometimes called the drivetrain warranty.
This is not typically included in basic warranties from dealerships, but can be found with some manufacturers. As the name suggests, it covers rust and corrosion, typically after rust has made a hole in the metal. This coverage can sometimes only be applied to specific parts of the vehicle, like from the window down, so knowing the coverage here is important.
Any emissions issues from a certain time or mileage point can be covered under this type of insurance. It might be under the basic warranty or it might be offered separately. Finding this separate from the basic warranty is rare.
Statutory warranty applies based on the purchase price of the vehicle. It is automatic when buying from a dealership but not in a private sale. It is a legal obligation so you’ll see it in used car contracts and coverages. It is one of the standard types of used car warranties. The length of coverage will depend on the age of the vehicle and mileage of the vehicle.
Depending on many factors, some car manufacturers’ have “secret” coverage policies unknown to customers. Sometimes they have the name “policy adjustments” or “goodwill service.” Essentially, if a major problem occurs outside of the factory warranty window, a phone call to customer service might be a fast route to find a solution. It helps if you are a loyal customer or if the make and model has had a history of this issue in the past.
Yes, there was a lot just discussed and a lot to process. Walking into any dealership with at least this basic knowledge has already helped you get ahead of the game. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and really push to make sure you are getting the right amount of coverage for the best period of time at the right price.
A car is a significant investment and a warranty is a pledge to the life of the car. If a company is willing to cover a car for a longer period of time, not only are they committed to quality customer service, they are willing to attest to the value and longevity of the car’s ability to serve you. Know the basic types of car warranties before entering the dealership and you will walk out a happy and satisfied new car owner.