New cars come with three kinds of warranties:
- Bumper to bumper. Covers defects on almost everything on the car, usually for at least three years or 36,000 miles.
- Power-train coverage. Simply put, a power train warranty covers everything that makes the car “go”. While some manufacturers only warranty their power train for three years or 36,000 miles, most are now covering their power trains five years or 60,000 miles. These are often included on certified used cars as well.
- Federally mandated warranties. Certain parts of the emission system, as well as the airbags and safety belts in the car.
Here’s what is covered under these warranties:
Imperfections and Damage (but only when brand new) – If your brand new vehicle has a rip in the seat, a tear in the head liner, if a piece of fabric is discolored, or if a body panel is improperly painted and doesn’t look right, these are all covered under the warranty. However, there is a caveat – you must get these things noticed and documented before you take delivery of your new car. Before you leave the dealership with your new car, inspect it very carefully so you can catch all these things. If you bring the car back to the dealership after a few days with a torn seat or a scratch, the dealer may not warranty these problems.
Adjustments – If there’s something on the car that isn’t quite right, or that isn’t done to your satisfaction, that’s usually considered an “adjustment”. These things may not affect the functionality of the car. For example, let’s say the front grill sticks out a little on the left side, or maybe the radio doesn’t seem perfectly centered in the dash. These things are covered under warranty, but usually only for the first year or the first 12,000 miles.
Defects – Anything that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to is covered under warranty.
What’s not covered?
Damage – Damage isn’t covered under warranty – that’s what your car insurance is for.
Wear and Tear – Damage or problems that result from normal wear and tear are not covered. For instance, if the knob on your radio falls off, if a door handle breaks, or if there’s an interior piece that wears out or that gets scuffed, they may not be covered under your factory warranty.