Your Auto Warranty: What To Look For

By Leland Poliks

When deciding which car to buy, make sure you check the auto warranty that comes with the vehicle. In this article we will help you sort through all the auto warranty-related issues. After all, not every new car warranty is created equally. Some will cover all the non-wear items on the car up to only three years or 36,000 miles. Others will cover repairs all the way up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. The strength of the coverage that is included will help you decide whether to buy an extended auto warranty.

It's important to understand the different parts of an auto warranty as it is good to know the difference between a new car warranty and an extended auto warranty.

A typical new car warranty has two parts: the "bumper to bumper" warranty, which covers everything except the "wear" items such as brakes and tires; and the power-train warranty that covers all the parts that make the car move, such as the engine and transmission.

Bumper to Bumper

Few extended vehicle warranty plans cover absolutely everything on a vehicle. Read the warranty contract and find out exactly what is and what is not covered. If the contract says it covers everything except for X, Y, and Z; that's a lot more coverage than a contract which lists 10 or 20 items which are covered. Keep in mind your own history with vehicles and what repair/maintenance you expect to have in the next few years to your car.

Wear and Tear

Many extended vehicle warranty plans cover parts that break, just as they cover those that wear out. Once again, read the contract to understand the differences and how they may affect your final cost.

An extended auto warranty can be purchased to prolong the coverage of the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Most people are familiar with the extended warranty that is sold at dealerships. This is sometimes called a "factory warranty" because factory-trained technicians perform the required work on the car. There are also "third-party" warranties, which can save consumers money but are generally less convenient to use. Many third-party warranties require out-of-pocket payment for repairs before reimbursement. Weigh all these factors carefully before you make your choice.

By looking carefully at your auto warranty before you buy, you will save yourself much potential future problems.

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