Understanding Your Car’s Warranty

Understanding car's warranty

Most car buyers spend countless hours researching and evaluating details of the vehicle they wish to purchase, meanwhile very few take the time to read and analyze the warranty. A car’s warranty is an important part of the large investment that car buying is, within a vehicle are numerous moving systems and parts which are potentially susceptible to mechanical malfunctions of many kinds. If the car you purchase does not have a good warranty, you may end up having to pay the full cost of repairs of broken and malfunctioning parts. If you want to better understand your current warranty or that of a vehicle you wish to purchase then you may want to follow the basic steps listed below, each of which can help you to get the most out of what the warranty covers.


Find Out the Warranty’s Source

When dealing with a car warranty, one of the most important steps is identifying the where your warranty came from. Manufacturer warranties are much more comprehensive and defined than dealer warranties, so it is important to know which kind you have. Take a look at your warranty, assessing what the coverage options are. Car manufacturer warranties is something that auto makers stand behind, manufacturers generally will repair cars to meet the company standards at participating car retailers and dealerships. Dealer warranties meanwhile generally cover less, repairs often will only be done by an individual shop with lower standards than that of manufacturers trying to uphold brand quality.


Evaluate Individual Coverage of Parts and Labor

The coverage period and cost of parts and labor are often times listed in warranties separately. More often than not, parts are covered for longer periods than labor. Look at the breakdown in the warranty and find out what is and is not covered and how long parts and labor are covered individually. Warranties also require certain fluids to be used, the recommended maintenance schedule outlines which fluids to use as well as how often the fluids need to be changed.

 

The Warranty’s Time Frame

Give consideration to the warranty’s time frame. Specific time frames apply to individual parts and labor, with manufacturer time frames typically consisting of several years while temporary warranties provided by used car dealers may only be valid for several months. Warranties are only temporary, make sure you know how long of a warranty your vehicle has.


Measure the Extent of Coverage in Your Warranty

Car buyers and owners must also take the important step of finding out what exactly is included in the warranty’s terms and conditions. This you can do by determining what type of and how comprehensive of a warranty you have. The more comprehensive warranties cover virtually everything bumper to bumper while other less comprehensive warranties only cover certain things like the engine and drivetrain. Car owners should look for these types of exclusions, more than half of warranties exclude specific parts and repairs covered in particular situations in which mechanical problems and breakdowns occur. If you know what is covered and what is not, you can plan better and anticipate situations in which you will have pay out of pocket for repair costs.


Know Warranty Record Keeping Requirements

Often time’s warranties require accurate and regular service records to be recorded in order for repair expenses to be covered. Always make sure to read the fine print so that you will be aware of and in compliance with procedures and requirements, save all your service records and receipts. The more documentation, the better.

 

Determine what Repairs are Included

Read through the warranty to find out what repairs are offered as part of the warranty terms. Dealer warranties often times will only cover parts and glitches that a designated shop deems necessary, manufacturer warranties on the contrary often define specific parts that the auto maker will replace and fix. This fact weighs heavily on the warranty’s actual value, so you may want to consult the warranty provider to find out the extent of coverage of the replacement and repair of parts.


Modifications

When you read your car’s warranty, check if there are any terms regarding modifications to your vehicle. Car manufacturers often will not honor warranties when modifications have been made to the vehicle that result in parts breaking down. If the warranty specifies modification terms you may want to think twice before modifying your car’s tires, engine and body.

Most importantly, always follow the service schedule outlined in your warranty. Most warranties require regular service in intervals, your warranty may become worthless and voided if you don’t follow and document the service schedule.

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