All new cars come with some sort of car factory warranty, and in fact, they usually come with several different warranties. Each warranty covers a separate part of your vehicle and upgrading your warranty may not upgrade every portion of it. When choosing a longer extended warranty it is best to understand what is and isn’t covered. Warranties can consist of two separate parts, a manufacturer’s warranty and an extended warranty.
The manufacturer’s warranties cover several portions of your car and each is considered a separate warranty with specific time or mileage allowances. These warranties are the basic, drive train, emissions and corrosion warranties.
Basic warranties are determined by the vehicle manufacturer and last a pre-determined number of years or mileage, such as 4 years or 48,000 miles. This warranty covers all factory and manufacturer installed parts for defects and workmanship. Items that suffer wear such as tires, batteries, oil and air filters, and wiper blades are not covered. Some items such as tires may have an independent warranty from their manufacturer that covers wear and use.
The drive train warranty will have terms (years and mileage) similar to the basic warranty. This warranty begins at the same time as the basic warranty, but it covers the engine, transmission and axles specifically. Typically, any mechanical part that allows the vehicle to move is part of the drive train. Consumable parts like belts are not covered in the drive train warranty.
Federal law mandates that emissions equipment is covered for at least 2 years and 24,000 miles for all emissions equipment, but certain parts such as the catalytic converters may be covered for a much longer time.
Corrosion warranties vary by manufacturer and cover corrosion and holes in the sheet metal of the car. It is important to note that surface rust is usually not covered by this warranty. Typically, terms of these warranties can be found in your owner’s manual.
Extended warranties are bought to cover items the manufacturer won’t cover or to extend the length of coverage. Typically, these warranties are through a third party, such as a warranty company or a car dealership. Extended warranties can vary greatly in terms of length and what is and isn’t covered.
Some warranties cover gaskets and seals and wear and tear on items. Others cover specifically named items or extend the life of a drive train warranty, and may even include regular maintenance and upkeep.
Some dealers even offer a roadside assistance warranty as well. These warranties cover you when you are stranded, get a flat tire, are locked out of your car, out of gas or just need general roadside assistance. Roadside-assistance warranties can vary greatly in price and should be carefully evaluated. Third-party services (such as AAA) may prove more cost effective.
It is important to thoroughly review your warranty and ask as many questions as you need in order to understand everything. Terms can vary widely based on region, manufacturer and the dealer involved.