Are Car Repairs Covered Under Warranty?
Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer to that question. The issue of whether a warranty will cover a repair comes down to the type of repair needed and what kind of warranty is protecting the car.
Types of Car Warranties
Just because your car has “a warranty” doesn’t mean that the warranty covers every part of the car.
With bumper-to-bumper warranties, every part of the car is covered. For a new car, the length of time is generally three years, and the mileage is 36,000 miles. Of course, this is an average, as some manufacturers cover more time and mileage, some less.
With a powertrain warranty, only drivetrain components are covered. This includes the engine, transmission, driveshaft, differential, and other parts responsible for getting power to the ground. These are generally the most expensive parts to replace, so getting a warranty that covers drivetrain components can be beneficial. It will usually be cheaper than a bumper-to-bumper warranty and last longer, too. Some powertrain warranties are good for up to ten years or 100,000 miles!
While bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties are the most common warranties, they’re not the only ones. There are also emissions warranties for the parts that control the car’s emissions output, rust and corrosion warranties that protect a car in case of severe rust issues, and even hybrid car–specific warranties that cover items like batteries, inverters, and control modules.
Warranties Are Not Insurance
Let’s be clear that when we talk about “repairs,” we’re not talking about fixing damage from an accident. Accident repairs are handled by your insurance company (and/or the other driver’s insurance company). The repairs that warranties cover are flaws in the vehicle’s build or design. Let’s give some examples:
- If your car is rear-ended, car repair insurance will cover the repairs
- If your window motors burned out, that’s under car repair warranty
And again, natural wear and tear aren’t covered because if it were, every car could conceivably have a claim, which wouldn’t be financially feasible for automakers.
Why Don’t Warranties Cover Accidents?
Remember that the warranty exists because the car manufacturers are essentially saying, “We don’t think anything will go wrong with this car, but just in case, we’ll cover anything that does go wrong for a limited time.” In other words, they’ll take care of a problem that’s their fault. There are plenty of examples of this, such as early Cadillac CTS-Vs experiencing differential failure because of a design flaw. Accidents are out of the control of the manufacturer. There may be recalls if some safety equipment doesn’t work, such as in the case of the Takata airbag recall. However, that’s a preventive measure taken before an accident occurs, not a reaction to an accident that’s already occurred.
What Other Things Aren’t Covered by Warranties?
Aside from accidents, warranties also won’t cover the wear and tear that a car will normally experience in its lifetime. Worn tires and brake pads, paint chips, worn trim and interior pieces, and other parts that naturally degrade would be exempt. There are coverage packages that will cover tires, but they only take care of the tires if something happens to them, such as a rupture or puncture. In this case, they act more like insurance than warranties.
What Are Vehicle Service Agreements?
Once your car’s warranty runs out, the manufacturer will no longer handle any repairs for previously covered parts. If you have a 3-year, 36,000-mile powertrain warranty, once either of those milestones has been reached, you’re on your own. However, you can purchase a vehicle service agreement, which will continue to act as a warranty. Service agreement repairs fall under the same stipulations as your old car repair warranty, covering faults with the car rather than accidents like car repair insurance. As for why you would need a vehicle service agreement, you’ll be able to get service contract repairs when you can’t get repairs under your car insurance. Service contract repairs will take care of otherwise huge bills if, say, you have an alternator that stops working or an unexpectedly worn-out set of shocks.
Are Service Agreements Extended Warranties?
No. While they act similarly in that they cover defects and flaws that can arise, warranties are something offered by the automaker, while service agreements are purchased by the customer. Plus, vehicle service agreements can be tailored to the specific needs of the consumer, not just what the manufacturer wants to cover.
Protect Your Car with CarShield
If you’re driving around in a vehicle with an expired warranty, you could be on the hook when something goes wrong. With CarShield, you don’t have to worry! With 24-hour roadside assistance, towing and rental cars provided, and your choice of repair facility, you can expect all of your service agreement repairs to be completed without any stress on you. If you’re ready to have some peace of mind when you drive, contact CarShield today!