Many modern cars come with a bumper to bumper warranty, but the actual meaning to this term can be a bit misleading. While the term “bumper to bumper” comes from an attempt to describe that the warranty covers everything from one end to the other, in practice, this is not entirely true. Even the duration of the warranty itself can be confusing, so to fully understand what is truly being covered and for how long, it’s a good idea to look at the warranty point by point. Here are some frequently asked questions about a bumper to bumper car warranty:
All modern cars come with some form of warranty from the factory. Many American companies offer factory warranties that last for 3years/36,000 miles, while many imports may offer a bumper to bumper warranty with a term of 4years/50,000 miles or more. What these numbers mean is that the effective duration of the warranty in the case of the first example, is good for either 3 years or 36,000miles, whichever comes first. This means that if you manage to drive 36,000 miles in your first year of ownership, your original warranty will end after the first year. Conversely, if you own the car for 3 years, yet only manage to drive 50 miles, your warranty will still expire at the end of the third year.
Warranties regardless of manufacturer almost never cover common wear items. Wear items include the various parts of the car that are designed to wear during normal operation. This may include brake components such as pads, drums and rotors, tires and various lighting components such as headlight bulbs and tail lamp bulbs. Don’t just expect anything that breaks to be automatically covered either, because if you cannot prove that proper maintenance such as regular oil changes have been done, the dealer can choose not to honor the warranty. This is also true for performance cars; taking your car to a track or participating in racing events may automatically void your warranty regardless of mileage or age. Aftermarket parts that can be proven to have contributed to the cause of the failure may also result in exclusion of repairs from the warranty. These exclusions must be within reason however, as a manufacturer cannot refuse to repair your engine because you installed an unrelated part such as an aftermarket stereo.Are All Repairs under the Warranty Free?
Just because a part is covered by the warranty doesn’t mean repairs are completely free. Depending on the manufacturer and the specific part covered, sometimes a deductible may be charged before repairs will be started. For example, if your transmission is covered for three years but there is a $300 deductible, then should your transmission fail, the dealership will replace it for a cost of $300. While many manufacturers are starting to offer 0 deductible coverage on various models, don’t automatically assume this is the case. Extended warranties may also add an additional cost for warranty if they are an optional purchase rather than factory issued.Always make sure to read the fine print about what your bumper to bumper warranty actually covers, as definitions and costs tend to vary greatly between manufacturers.