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The Different Types of Car Warranties

In general, all new cars come with 3 different types of warranties. These are the Adjustment Warranties, the Manufacturer's Warranties, and "Secret" Warranties.

Let's take a look at each one in more detail:

Adjustment Warranties

These are provided by the dealer and cover items such as squeaks, rattles, small adjustments, alignments, leaks, and any other type of small annoyances you may encounter during the first few weeks of ownership.

There's usually a time limit of 90 days in which you can use the adjustment warranty.

Since the warranty is provided by the selling dealer, they're the only ones that will fix the problems. If you purchase a car located far away from home, it's important to do a thorough test drive to make sure there are no problems before taking the car home - and if there are, make sure you get the dealer to fix them on the spot or agree to do it later.

Manufacturer's Warranties

The factory warranty covers all major components of a vehicle up to a certain time period or mileage milestone (whichever comes first).

Manufacturer's warranties are broken down into 3 types:

  • Bumper to Bumper Warranty
    This is the most comprehensive part of a factory warranty and covers all parts and systems of a vehicle, excluding "wear and tear" items such as tires, brake pads, and wiper blades.

    Many vehicles these days tend to have expensive problems with electronics and this is where the real value of a bumper to bumper warranty comes into play. Most manufacturers offer a 3 year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, with some such as Hyundai and Mitsubishi offering up to 5 years/50,000 miles of protection.

  • Powertrain/Drivetrain Warranty
    This covers the engine, transmission, differential and other mechanical parts of the vehicle. Most manufacturers provide a longer coverage period for powertrain warranties than they do with bumper to bumper. Some, such as Hyundai and Kia provide up to 10 years/100,000 miles of coverage.
  • Corrosion/Rust Warranty
    This covers repairs due to rust or premature deterioration of major sheet metal. Some manufacturers provide lifetime protection.

"Secret" Warranties

Secret warranties are provided by most manufacturers, but most car buyers don't know about them. They're sometimes referred to as "policy adjustments" or "goodwill service".

If your vehicle develops a major problem after the factory warranty runs out, sometimes all it takes to fix it is to call the manufacturer's customer service number and complain.

It especially helps if you've been loyal to the brand in the past, or if other car owners are having the same problems.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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