What You Need to Know about Vehicle Warranties

We’re protective of our things, more if they’re brand new. If it’s a new item that costs a lot of money, we take every step to ensure no harm comes to it. So when it’s time to purchase a new set of wheels, that protective instinct is front of mind.

Luckily, a vehicle warranty is an effective way to shield yourself from financial fallout should something unfortunate befall your car. We’ll take you through the details.

What Is a Vehicle Warranty

Essentially, this is a contract between you and the automaker that states they will cover repairs when certain kinds of damage are sustained by the vehicle. That’s the simple explanation.

Firstly, a standard warranty should be included with every new car purchase. These are generally broad in the coverage they provide, such as in circumstances involving defective parts or workmanship failures.

You also have the option to get an extended warranty for your car. This will, of course, cost you more, but the benefits should make it worthwhile. They may cover more situations or extend the duration in which your vehicle is covered. Be aware, however, that stipulations may be included, such as who pays and where you can get your car services.

What Does It Cover?

We touched on this briefly above, but let’s take a closer look at what falls under the warranty umbrella. If your car has parts that fail due to manufacturer error, you’re in the clear. Say your driver’s side window fails at no fault of your own three months after purchase. Since you weren’t in error, both the parts and labor are covered.

Let’s go over some things not covered. People commonly assume that wear and tear on things like wipers and brakes are covered, which is incorrect. These are direct results of usage and are not a consequence of poor manufacturing. Warranty coverage excludes damage caused by collisions or neglect. These are things that are handled by insurance companies.

When it comes to warranties of any kind, most people assume it lasts a set amount of time. That’s only half true with vehicles. There is also mileage to take into account. If you have a five-year, 50,000 mile warranty, it expires once you reach either of those milestones. So if your car is only four years old but has 56,000 miles on it, your warranty has expired.


Sometimes, a hazard is found with the manufacturing of specific car models, resulting in a recall. Anyone who owns that model will receive a notice in the mail.

The important thing to know about recalls is that they are always free, regardless of whether you have a warranty or not. The automaker works with the federal government to institute the recall, and covers the cost.

Types of Warranties

Many warranties provide coverage for different systems within your vehicle. The rules surrounding these vary from company to company. Let’s go over the different types.

Bumper to Bumper—Also referred to as a Comprehensive Warranty, this covers all of your car’s systems we’ll discuss below.

Corrosion and Perforation—The great outdoors can be harsh, and even the most well-built cars can suffer corrosion under certain circumstances. Extreme weather such as snow or heat waves can cause damage. This warranty is for those situations.

Powertrain—This is specific to the systems that make your vehicle move: transmission, engine, axles, and differentials. Tip: the best warranties of this type provide coverage for 10 years or 100,000 miles, so go for those.

Emissions System—This covers any systems within your vehicle that are observed during your emissions test.

Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Battery—Federal government mandates special coverage on high voltage batteries found in electric or hybrid vehicles.

Tire—Covers faulty construction and premature wear on your vehicle’s tires.

Restraint System—This is for safety items within the vehicle, specifically seatbelts.

Used Vehicles

If you’re shopping around for a used car, be sure your prospects are certified pre-owned (CPO). These vehicles receive coverage from the original automaker. The conditions of these particular warranties vary and can include deductibles, so it’s important to read the details.

Another thing to look out for is factory certification, which ensures manufacturer coverage. Some dealerships will offer “certified” cars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re factory certified.

The world of vehicle warranties can be tricky to navigate, but if you keep the things we discussed here in mind, you’ll have the knowledge you need to make a good decision. Of course, we can’t cover everything here, because warranties vary from maker to maker and model to model. If you have any additional questions, we’re happy to help you out. Get in touch with Bay Motor Finance, and we’ll help you on your car buying journey!