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7 Common Misconceptions About Car Warranty, Debunked
7 Common Misconceptions About Car Warranty, Debunked
August 09, 2023 / staff
7 Common Misconceptions About Car Warranty, Debunked
August 09, 2023 / staff

A car warranty is an agreement from the automaker to cover repair costs due to a manufacturing defect. However, many people are under the impression that car warranties cover all repairs and that all warranties are the same, but this isn’t the case.

Below, we’ll debunk these car warranty myths along with several others.

Myth 1: The Manufacturer's Warranty Covers Everything

Many people assume that when they buy a new vehicle, all repairs will be covered through the manufacturer’s warranty.

However, most new car warranties don’t cover typical maintenance tasks (such as oil changes or tire rotations) or negligence. Rather, the vehicle warranty kicks in when there’s a defect or a component that doesn’t live up to reasonable expectations. So you won’t be covered if you get into an accident or use the car in a way it wasn’t intended to be used.

It’s important to read the documentation to understand what exactly is covered under your car warranty for your specific vehicle. Otherwise, you could end up with unexpected repair bills. This is also why purchasing mechanical breakdown insurance is important, as it will give you coverage against collisions and acts of God.

Myth 2: All Warranties Are the Same

Another common misconception is that all warranties are the same. However, when you purchase a vehicle, the manufacturer typically includes several types of car warranties that all fall under your overall warranty package.

Additionally, once your manufacturer warranty expires, you can purchase an extended warranty to continue your coverage. Understanding the different warranties you have will help you get a better grasp on what exactly is covered or not.

The most common types of warranties include a bumper-to-bumper warranty, powertrain warranty, accessory warranty, rust and corrosion warranty, and federal emission control warranty. Typically, all of these warranties are included in your manufacturer warranty package (minus the extended warranty, which you’d purchase after your original warranty expires), so you don’t need to purchase them separately.

  • Bumper-to-bumper : A bumper-to-bumper warranty is considered the most comprehensive and typically covers headlights, power windows, door locks, and wiper motors. These warranties normally last for 36,000 miles or 36 months, whichever comes first.
  • Powertrain : A powertrain warranty usually lasts 100,000 miles or 10 years and covers the engine and transmission and sometimes other associated parts.
  • Accessory : An accessory warranty covers accessory components such as airbags, seat belts, and sound and navigation systems.
  • Rust and corrosion : Rust and corrosion warranties, as the name suggests, cover corrosion repairs on your car.
  • Federal emission : A federal emission warranty covers emission components such as catalytic converters.
  • Extended warranty : You can also purchase an extended warranty (also known as a vehicle service contract, service agreement, or maintenance agreement) when your new car warranty expires. What’s covered under the extended warranty will vary depending to where you purchase it from, but you can expect to receive much of the same coverage that you’d receive with your original warranty. Most packages will include some variation of the five warranties mentioned above.

Myth 3: Aftermarket Warranties Are Not Worthwhile

If you don’t want to get stuck footing the entire bill for certain repairs after your new car (or factory) warranty expires, an aftermarket warranty (also known as an extended warranty) is absolutely worth it, as it will provide you with peace of mind.

New car warranties tend to be pretty similar across the board due to strict federal standards. However, this isn’t the case for extended warranties, as most extended warranty companies allow you to customize your policy or choose from several packages to suit your needs.

Plus, purchasing an extended warranty will likely motivate you more to keep up with repairs, as you won’t be bogged down with large out-of-pocket expenses. If you think there’s a chance you’ll sell your car in the future, keeping up with repairs and maintenance is very important, as it boosts the resale value of your vehicle.

Myth 4: Repairs and Maintenance Need to Be Taken Care of at the Dealership

Another common misconception is that you must take care of your repairs and maintenance at the dealership from where you purchased your vehicle. However, this isn’t the case, as you have the option to take care of your repairs at an independent mechanic shop, franchise shop, the dealership, or even in your own driveway.

The only requirement is that you keep up with the appropriate maintenance schedule and use the correct parts and fluids for repairs. If you use the incorrect parts or fluids, you may be responsible for footing the bill for your repairs if the dealership can prove collateral damage (more on this below).

Myth 5: Modifications Void the Warranty

In most cases, making modifications to your vehicle will not void the warranty. The only way a manufacturer can deny you coverage is by proving that your modification caused a failure to the vehicle.

However, there are some circumstances that can cause your entire car warranty to become void. For example, if you were in a severe accident that resulted in your insurance company issuing you a salvage title, your vehicle warranty will be voided.

Environmental damage, vehicle misuse, and altering the odometer can also void your car warranty. Additionally, if you use dirty or improper fluids or neglect your vehicle, certain parts of your warranty can be voided.

To avoid having warranty issues with your vehicle, we recommend thoroughly reading your warranty documentation, servicing your vehicle at regular intervals, and keeping track of all service records and receipts.

Myth 6: Extended Warranties Are Overpriced

Some people are under the impression that extended warranties are overpriced and a scam. This may be because many dealerships will put pressure on you to purchase an extended warranty from them, as they can make a large commission from these sales.

However, keep in mind that you don’t need to purchase your extended warranty through the dealership. In fact, purchasing through the dealership will often cost you more money, as they essentially act as middlemen for extended warranty companies and mark up the prices.

To make sure you get a good deal on your extended car warranty, we recommend shopping around and gathering a few quotes before purchasing.

Myth 7: You Should Wait Until Your New Car Warranty Expires to Purchase an Extended Warranty

We don’t recommend purchasing an extended warranty when you purchase your car, as you likely won’t need to use it for several years.

However, waiting until your manufacturer warranty has expired is also not a good idea, as this could leave you with a gap in coverage. This is partly because most extended warranties come with waiting periods, which can range from 30-90 days or 200-1,000 miles. While no-wait-period-warranties exist, they are extremely rare, so we recommend not waiting until the last minute.

Additionally, the more your vehicle ages, the more you’ll need to pay in extended warranty rates. You also likely will get shorter terms and less comprehensive coverage. So if you wait years to purchase an extended warranty after your original warranty expires, you won’t get as good of a deal due to having more miles and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Therefore, we recommend purchasing the extended warranty a few months before your manufacturer warranty expires.

Time to Look Into Your Car Warranty

It’s important to fully understand what your car warranty does and doesn’t cover, and to avoid doing anything that might accidentally void it.

A manufacturer’s warranty covers repairs that are a result of a manufacturer defect but not those needed due to an accident or negligence. They typically cover the first 3-5 years after you buy your new car. Keep in mind that several types of warranty fall under the manufacturer’s warranty, so make sure to read through what’s included before purchasing your vehicle.

Also, remember that you don’t need to take care of your repairs at the dealership—you can do so at a mechanic shop or right at home. If you’d like to make modifications to your vehicle, your warranty will still be in good standing as long as the modification doesn’t lead to a failure in the vehicle.

Finally, we recommend looking into an extended warranty before your manufacturer’s warranty expires so you don’t have any gaps in coverage. Typically, extended warranties last 2-7 years, They aren’t overpriced, nor are they a scam, as they provide you with extra peace of mind knowing you won’t have to pay for repairs due to a vehicle defect.

By staff staff is comprised of freelance writers who write for the site
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