Sometimes there’s confusion about auto warranties. For example, brake pad change is unlikely to be covered under the warranty – but there are exceptions. Also powertrain warranties apply only to certain car parts. So what is covered and when? Let’s look at some common terms and clear up the confusion.
Factory And Bumper-To-Bumper
You might have heard the terms “factory” or “bumper-to-bumper” when referring to a new car warranty. This coverage comes included with the purchase of the car. These warranties are described in terms of time and mileage, for example, 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
When you buy a car, nearly the entire vehicle is covered for unforeseen mechanical problems. This means that if the engine starts to fail for no reason during the coverage period, the repairs are paid for by the dealer.
The powertrain warranty is also included in the new car purchase. It covers specific auto parts and often has longer terms than the bumper-to-bumper warranty. For example, it might be extended to 5 years or 60,000 miles or even more with some dealers. In general, the powertrain warranty covers the:
- Engine (cylinder block, cylinder heads, fuel pump, engine mounts, injection pump, manifold, oil pump, seals & gaskets, thermostat, timing chain, etc.)
- Transmission (clutch cover, seals & gaskets, torque converter, transfer case, transmission case, transmission mounts, etc.)
- Front and rear wheel drive components (axle shafts, bearings, support bearings, drive axle housing, drive shaft, propeller shafts, retainers, support, seals & gaskets, universal & constant velocity joints, etc.)
If your factory warranty has expired, these components are no longer covered, so it might be wise to purchase extended coverage.
What’s Not Covered In Auto Warranties?
In general, auto warranties do not cover:
- Accident or collision damage
- Car wash damage
- Vandalism or theft
- Fire or chemical spills
- Damage due to misuse
- Dings, dents, and paint chips
- Road salt damage
- Environmental damage (e.g. tree sap, bird droppings)
- Damage due to natural disasters or hail
Furthermore, normal maintenance is not covered either, such as:
- Oil, fluid, and filter changes
- Tire rotation and alignment
- Wiper blade change
- Brake pad replacement
- Clutch lining
- Cleaning, detailing, polishing
What Are The Exceptions?
Usually windshield stress cracks are not covered. However, some factory warranties will cover stress crack repair within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles of use. Also, some dealers provide wiper blade replacement during the first six months of driving, regardless of the miles driven. Finally, wheel alignment, tire balancing, and brake pad/lining replacement might be covered under factory warranty for the first 12 months or 12,000 -18,000 miles depending on the dealer.
Car warranties are a great benefit to cover unexpected maintenance problems, however, it is important to know what is covered. If your car factory warranty has expired, or if you are buying a used car, it might be a good idea to buy an extended vehicle protection plan. These plans are nearly identical to the original factory warranty and will pay unexpected car repair costs.