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There is a lot of debate in the car buying world these days as to whether a car warranty is an entitlement or whether it classifies as an agreement. The answer is that a warranty is an agreement that the car manufacturer makes with the buyer that says that they will repair your car if certain types of damage occurs and under certain circumstances. It is the salespeople however, that tell us only what they think we want to hear.
They tell us not to worry, that everything is covered by the warranty. Not everything is covered by the warranty, and these people will try to cover themselves by misclassified repairs and getting them fixed under the warranty under false pretenses. These deceitful practices are causing the manufacturers to be wary when claims come in and over scrutinizing every little detail to prove legitimacy. The buyer may see this as a lie on the part of the manufacturer but they are just doing their job. What the dealer didn’t tell you is that your claim being denied could be caused by a lot of things such as abuse of warranty, expiration of warranty or even just that the part in question is uncovered.
I’ve been in the car business for over three decades and I can tell you the delight I see on the car owners face when he or she sees the words its covered under warranty in their bill when paying for a repair. I can also tell you how unhappy the owner gets when a repair is not included in that same warranty. To clear up any confusion, you must understand that it is up to the car owner to read their original contract. The owner must follow the maintenance schedule as written in their car manual. If the owner does so, then he or she has a car that is currently under warranty for any repairs that are caused by shoddy workmanship, or a faulty part, as long as it falls under the purview of the time limit and mileage restrictions in their original contract.
Next, let’s look at parts and services covered. The auto manufacturer is responsible for parts, such as engines, transmissions, suspension, steering, computers and emission control devices, instruments, chassis wiring, etc. These may have varied coverage based on time and mileage. Anything that would normally wear out in normal use of the vehicle – things like belts and hoses, wouldn’t be covered, nor would any kind of maintenance items, such as filters. Check the paperwork you get with your new car. It will show what is covered in terms of after-market stereo systems, any conversion components, tires, and who covers them. These ordinarily wouldn’t be covered by the auto manufacturers warranty, but rather by the after-market manufacturer. Car buyers and service people both get into situations where they think something is covered, but it isn’t. Steer clear of these problems by reading all your paperwork.
If the paint on your Plymouth minivan delaminated (went dull) would you simply pay $400 for the repair, or would you prefer to take a few steps and instead pay only $40 for the repair work? This is the situation I found myself in and with just a small amount of effort and through understanding of the warranty I was the beneficiary of a GOODWILL ADJUSTMENT from my dealer and the manufacturer. Add-ons not installed by the manufacturer on conversion vehicles such as minivans or limousines are covered by separate warranties and if the time limit or mileage limit has been exceeded the warranty is no longer valid. The dealer took the following into consideration: I exhibited customer loyalty, my vehicle history, mileage, time in service, maintenance records and based upon whether any service contracts were in effect. My understanding of the warranty prior to me taking possession of the vehicle enabled me to obtain the goodwill adjustment” and retain me as a customer.
Some of the more common warranty terms are described here. Bumper to Bumper warranty covers all basic warranty and power train components for a set period, which varies by manufacturer. Corrosion warranty covers rust-through sheet metal damage, but excludes nicks, scratches and chips or owner negligent damage. Certain warranty coverages vary, so check the vehicle’s warranty information card or the dealer for details. Safety Campaigns or Recalls are declared by the manufacturer when there is a safety concern and can occur at any time in the life of a vehicle. The owners are notified of the recall by the manufacturer and instructed to bring their vehicle into the dealer, who will check the VIN number to see if the vehicle is affected in the specific campaign. This work is completed at the dealer, and is no charge to the owner.
There is more to discuss about warranties. I may perhaps deal with it when I write about this later. I recommend that you take the effort to learn more about this. Meet the manager of your dealership and ask him to explain to you every thing that you need to know. Let me assure you that hidden warranty does not exist. Dealers earn money from the factory for the warranty campaigns they perform. It is therefore useless to blame the local dealer for not covering certain operations under hidden warranty. They would gladly oblige you if such a thing existed because warranty campaigns bring in money for them. I hope I have made this clear to you.