Basic Terms of a Car Warranty

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If you're planning on buying a car that offers any type of warranty, it's a good idea to understand exactly what the car's warranty will cover. In most cases, your warranty will offer some basic terms. These terms typically include a standard power train warranty and maybe even a bumper-to-bumper warranty and special federally created emissions coverage. By understanding the basic terms found in many automobile contracts, you can better determine what type of coverage you are actually receiving.

Bumper to Bumper

  • This type of warranty is also often called the "basic warranty" and will typically cover all factory-installed parts against any type of defects in their manufacturing and workmanship. An example of this type of term would be a 5-year/100,000 mile warranty offered by the car's manufacturer.

Powertrain Warranty

  • As the name "powertrain" would suggest, this typically involves the parts of your car that are needed to make the car drive. Most typically you will find your engine and transmission covered under this area, although other car parts such as axles may be included. You should note that exactly what is covered can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from car to car at the same company. Check the fine print in this section to find out what is covered. Typically, these warranties are also not transferable. This option may also be referred to as the drive train.

Federal Emissions Warranty

  • This is a federal warranty that is covered in all 50 states and is created using two types of systems: Emission Defect Warranty and Emissions Performance Warranty. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the performance warranty covers any repairs performed in the first 2 years or 24,000 miles of vehicle use because the vehicle failed an emission test. The same time period applies to the defect warranty. Certain parts are also covered for longer periods and can be determined at the EPA.gov (see References).

Corrosion Warranty

  • As the name suggests, this section covers any rust-through perforation on sheet metal. This warranty will vary in length on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis and typically excludes damage caused by scratches, nicks and dents. You can usually find this information in your car owner's manual.

Warning - Read The Fine Print

  • While a full powertrain warranty may seem like an excellent add on to your car purchase, you will want to read the fine print to ensure there are no exclusions to that part of your warranty. This rule applies to your entire warranty contract so make sure to read the fine print to determine exactly what is covered and what is excluded.

References

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