Demystifying New Car Warranties
Purchasing a new car is a process that can be riddled with choices. What make? What model? What color? Which features? Will my mom like it? The list of comparisons goes on and on. To add to the list, a new vehicle generally comes with a warranty to provide peace of mind for your purchase, and one more decision to be made. Buying a new car is a huge investment that can be full of stress. Picking one with a great warranty will at least give you some serenity knowing that if parts break, you’ll be covered. The question is, which warranty is best?
What is a warranty?
First things first, a warranty is a guarantee in writing from a manufacturer to a purchaser, promising repair or replacement (if necessary) within a specified period of time if parts of the vehicle are not functioning as designed. When something covered by the warranty breaks, you’re entitled to have the manufacturer fix the problem through one of their dealers.
What is a Powertrain Warranty?
A powertrain warranty protects the powertrain of the vehicle. The powertrain of a vehicle consists of the parts necessary to get the vehicle from point A to point B and are usually the most expensive parts. This generally includes the engine, transmission, driveshaft, and differential.
However, there are parts of the drivetrain that are usually excluded from a powertrain warranty due to being “wear items”. Usually, the clutch and fluids and belts are not included in the warranty since they will wear out over time.
What is a Bumper to Bumper Warranty?
A bumper to bumper warranty, also known as a comprehensive warranty, covers most of the components of the vehicle. It is usually offered for a shorter period of time than a powertrain warranty since it covers many more components. Like the powertrain warranty, this warranty usually covers non-wear items, but for the entire vehicle. Things covered include but are not limited to: Electronics, sound system, heat and air conditioning, and suspension items.
Again, like the powertrain warranty, there are components that are not usually covered such as your upholstery, interior surfaces, windows, and body panels.
Things to Check For
Each manufacturer, and sometimes each vehicle, has different warranty terms. You should be familiar with these differences when choosing your vehicle since they could affect what, and if, you pay for repairs when things go awry.
- Duration of Warranty – Most warranties have a time and/or mileage duration such as 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. The longer the duration, the more valuable the warranty.
- Covered Systems and Parts – Each warranty will have inclusions and exclusions that you should be aware of. Each manufacturer uses different parts and is covered differently. Make sure the common trouble areas are covered.
- Warranty Transference – If you’re buying the vehicle used, does the manufacturer warranty transfer to you? Most of the time, the warranty transfers to the new owner. In rare cases, the length of the warranty is reduced for subsequent owners. If you’re buying a new vehicle, this shouldn’t matter to you.
Brands with the Best Warranties
Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Kia – All three of these manufacturers offer long-term comprehensive and powertrain warranties. The comprehensive coverage lasts 5 Years/60,000 Miles, and Powertrain coverage lasts 10 Years/100,000 Miles. If you keep your car for ten years, you’d just be at the end of your coverage!
Have warranties paid off for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below!