Should I Purchase a Vehicle with a Solid Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty?
When it comes to warranties on brand-new vehicles, you are typically given two different warranties. The powertrain warranty is the longest of the two because it only applies to the costly but rugged mechanical parts of the drivetrain itself. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is there to cover everything else in between. However, this warranty is generally for a much shorter duration of 2 to 5 years at most.
Yet, when it comes to warranties, the devil is in the details. Some warranties may flat out exclude repairs of certain items. Others may claim that the warranty is void if you make any modifications or install anything other than factory parts in the new vehicle. In most cases, the factory warranty is only valid if you follow the factory-recommended maintenance.
You must also have any repairs or maintenance carried out by the dealership for the term of the warranty. This is an easy way for the dealerships to generate funding with their inflated part prices and labor rates. It is an additional hedge against the costs of performing any warranty work. They may charge you $150 for each oil change, 6 times during a 3-year period.
Technically, the dealerships are not allowed to void the warranty under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. That is unless the dealership demonstrates that the repairs or modifications created the current issue.
This may seem impossible to prove conclusively, in many cases, where the parts you installed did not fail. However, they can always make a professional assumption that the aftermarket parts or unauthorized repairs were somehow to blame. This is because all the electromechanical systems of the vehicle are so intermeshed.
Therefore, it is not advisable to put yourself on thin ice by trying to argue that that modifications did not void the warranty. Good luck convincing them that the oversized intercooler and turbo piping that you installed did not lead to your turbocharger burning out.
A warranty is a good thing because it will protect you against the obvious defects in manufacturing. It is your first line of defense when purchasing a new vehicle before Lemon Laws might apply. Some manufacturers offer warranties that cover the vehicle for as long as 10 years or 100,000 miles as a method of ensuring customer satisfaction and quality.
One problem with warranties, however, is that they do not cover what is termed “normal wear and tear.” Normal wear and tear can be anything that cannot be pinpointed to a manufacturing defect. Therefore, your brakes, steering parts, suspension, and even your wheel bearings may never see any warranty work.
At this point, the manufacturer will say that they commonly wear out at this time and that you are responsible for replacing them yourself. Wheel bearings often go bad because the driver speeds and exposes them to excessive heat. Brakes likewise are wear items that have a variable life depending on how hard you use them. All that a warranty really covers, then, is the premature failure of specific itemized parts that are guaranteed to last so many years or miles.
What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Cover?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is a comprehensive warranty that is meant to ensure the lifespan and function of your vehicle from bumper to bumper for the length of the warranty. It may be a good idea to get an extended warranty on this type of comprehensive coverage if you are able to make the right deal for your needs.
Although many say that a bumper-to-bumper doesn’t cover the bumpers themselves, they may be wrong. Many modern uniframe cars have bumpers that are fitted with explosives to repel the force of an impact. If these explosives were to go off prematurely or the bumper was to come loose, you should certainly be entitled to coverage. The same would be said for a front fascia or the mounted bumper of a truck.
Although cosmetic wear and tear would not be covered, defective manufacturing processes may be covered. One example is paint peeling prematurely for no reason. This should certainly fall into the range of items covered. But, of course you would have to ensure that all this is written in the contract. This is because contracts are strictly construed and can only be interpreted to cover what is expressly itemized.
The items that are typically itemized in a bumper-to-bumper warranty are as follows:
- Factory stereo systems
- Brake systems (excluding fluids, and normal wear and tear to rotors and pads)
- Suspension systems (excluding damage from hauling excessive loads)
- Steering components
- Ignition systems
- Fuel injection
- Exhaust systems (may rust out under normal wear and tear from road salt)
- Power windows
- Power locks
- Power mirrors
- Anti-lock brake systems
- Rear window defroster
- Windshield washer systems
- Traction control
- Safety systems
- Power moonroof
- Cruise control
- Wheel bearings
- Power seats
- Heated seats
- Interior lighting
- Turn signals
- Computer systems
- And more ….
A bumper-to-bumper warranty will often expire before the powertrain warranty. The powertrain warranty covers all the internal pieces of the engine and transmission. The powertrain warranty may cover differentials, driveshafts, and other items.
Most of the powertrain warranties are limited to manufacturing defects that may cause these parts to deteriorate or fail before a set mileage. In most cases, the powertrain warranty will even cover engine gaskets, seals, timing chains, and other smaller parts besides the forged metal precision parts.
What Are the Benefits of Bumper-to-Bumper Warranties?
Even if you never have to make a claim on your bumper-to-bumper warranty, it is an excellent method of pre-allocating any repair costs. This eliminates the stress of worrying about breakdowns and major repair bills. Some warranties will even offer free rental cars if the repairs take longer than a day.
One thing that you should double check before you commit to a bumper-to-bumper warranty is service coverage. Check whether it will be redeemable at any dealership or repair shop nationwide. You need to have a certain level of flexibility if the warranty is going to work for your lifestyle.
You can also purchase bumper-to-bumper warranties for used vehicles that you buy on the private market. These may require an inspection to assess the condition of the vehicle before a policy is created. The warranty provider may limit the number of places where the automobile can be repaired and limit what is covered under the warranty.
In any case, the warranty work will come at a cost because a deductible is used to prevent fraud. It is easy for someone to sabotage a system this is under warranty to upgrade their vehicles. If there is some gray area about whether it is covered and a cost to pay, they are less likely to try.
A mechanic can tell if a vehicle was operated in an excessive manner or modified to cause the failure. Therefore, most of the fraud that occurs in warranties is from the sellers who take money but never provide protection when it is needed.
For this reason, you have to be careful about which companies you trust. Ensure that you always work with an established business that is not going to go bankrupt before you can redeem your warranty.
The same is true with extended warranties that are available for vehicles that are approaching the end of their factory warranty coverage. A third-party warranty provider can step in to save the drivers from having to purchase a brand-new vehicle. But, if the drivers select the wrong third-party warranty provider, they will have nothing to show for it.
The advantages of third-party warranty providers boils down to competitive rates and broader options for service. You may not have to take your vehicle exclusively to a dealership. The dealerships charge up to 8 times more for parts.
A new Electronic Control Unit (ECU) from an independent shop may only cost $100. The dealership may demand $800 for the same item or void your warranty. This is often why the rates are more reasonable from third-parties. They may offer more flexibility to dodge the dealership monopolies and price gouging.
bumper-to-bumper warranty provides drivers with the comprehensive care and
peace of mind that they need to buy brand-new automobiles. This should be the
case because even a $100,000 vehicle is just about worthless if it doesn’t
start. A bumper-to-bumper warranty also forces the manufacturers to build their
vehicles to a higher quality level. They don’t want to tie up the lifts of the
dealerships and upset customers with frequent repairs.
You should shop for a third-party warranty to take advantage of substantial savings. But, you should also be careful about which warranty provider you choose and which plan. Do some research on the parts that are likely to experience problems on your model. This way, you can put a small cap on the coverage to cover these parts and pay the lowest price possible for protection.