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What does a Vehicle Warranty Cover?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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It’s easy enough to say that a vehicle warranty covers exactly what it promises to cover, and usually no more than that. This can be difficult, as these warranties can be notoriously boring to read or quite complex, and there may be huge differences in amount and type of coverage offered. People may receive warranties with a new car and some used car purchases, or they can buy extended warranties to increase the amount of things that will be covered.

There are several types of the vehicle warranty. With new cars, it’s quite common to get a bumper to bumper warranty that lasts for a certain period of years or until a certain amount of mileage is reached. This might be five years or 60,000 miles and the warranty will usually be null as soon as a person hits 60,001 miles on the car, even if this does not take five years to do. Other time periods and mileage limits can be longer or shorter.

A basic warranty may cover almost all things on the car, and some people get what are called drive train warranties, which cover the various parts that run the car, such as the transmission, engine and the like. Another warranty that may be offered is the wear and tear warranty. Wear and tear can help cover things like wiper blades, or power windows and door looks, and even the function of power seats. Rust protection is an additional warranty that usually simply covers the car for a certain period of time from rust decay.

A few things are notoriously not covered on the majority of car warranties. These include tires, belts, window wipers, hoses and oil filters. Some companies do offer a service vehicle warranty that will pay for the servicing of vehicles, including oil changes and filter changes as needed. When these are the car owner’s responsibility, warranties may occasionally be void if the owner clearly abused the car and did not get it serviced per manufacturer’s recommendations. This is an important clause to look for in a vehicle warranty, though it may not always be enforced. Usually warranties are also not enforceable if the car’s function is impaired through an accident or car crash.

Probably the best way to proceed when purchasing a car with a warranty is to look for the warranty’s exclusions. It might cover parts for instance, and not service. Alternately, it may have limited coverage with too many exclusions. If the warranty doesn’t cover much, it may be best to consider buying an extended warranty from the manufacturer or from an independent source. Alternately, looking at cars made by manufacturers with more generous vehicle warranty programs may save money down the line if repairs are required.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WikiMotors contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Jolecter — On Dec 09, 2013

I agree with Legenderous, and would also suggest the same thing with a used vehicle warranty--if you aren't sure whether or not the warranty covers something, ask. If someone at a dealership tells you a specific service is covered by their warranty, but you don't see it in the warranty language, have the service person write it down, along with their name and date. That way, you'll have proof if you need it (though you'll probably need to take it back to that specific dealership to get it honored).

By Ledgenderous — On Dec 09, 2013
I agree with what the article says about how if an owner abuses the car? Will that void the warranty? This can also be the case if you are adding on after market parts, such as an upgraded stereo, rims, or something of that nature. If you have questions about whether or not doing something to your car would void the new vehicle warranty, ask beforehand.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WikiMotors contributor, Tricia...
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