Friday, August 20, 2010

"Bumper to Bumper" or is it?

It’s not really “Bumper to Bumper”?
So, you just bought a new vehicle or maybe you’re thinking about it and you’re wondering how you’re new "Bumper to Bumper" warranty works. There tends to be a lot of confusion about new car warranties. What’s covered and what’s not. First things first, let's get rid of the "Bumper to Bumper" part. There is no such thing, period! Don't believe your sales person or the finance person. They will tell you anything to sell you a car (trust me I have heard all the pitches these people use). They use the words "Bumper to Bumper" to give you false idea's as to what the warranty really does cover. If you don't believe me open up the warranty supplement that came with your owner’s manual and read through it a bit. No need to read the whole thing if you don't want to, but at least skim through it. You will see what I am talking about and you may learn a few things about your warranty!

What’s a “Limited Warranty”?
I like to add a word to the "Bumper to Bumper" that is Limited. Yes Limited Bumper to Bumper warranty or just Limited warranty. That is truly what a bumper to bumper warranty is. I have never seen a bumper to bumper warranty since I have been in the business. Granted I have not worked for all the auto manufacturers but they are all very similar. So if I am wrong, please someone drop me a line and inform me who does offer this all-encompassing warranty, I want to know. Otherwise live with the fact that these warranties for the majority of the manufacturers are truly limited as to what they do cover. Let’s take a look at some of the basic coverage’s that nearly all warranties have.

What is the adjustment period?
Typically the first 12 months or 12,000 miles is considered the adjustment period. Most warranties will cover most anything that is classified as an adjustment. Things like squeaks and rattles. Say you hear a rattle noise while driving down the road coming from the dash. This would typically be covered during this period (unless caused from an outside source such as: you had an aftermarket radio installed and the noise is coming from around the radio area. This would not be covered, go see the guy that installed the radio). Alignments (as long as you did not hit something), tire balancing (once again as long as you didn't hit something) and turning warped brake rotors (this one varies on how bad you over heated the brakes and is up to the dealer - They will typically cover i). Most of these items are typically a onetime deal under the 12/12. Next time you will end up paying to have it done. Most repairs that do not need a part to repair would be considered adjustments, such as adjusting doors, stickers, loose interior moldings, etc.  These can typically be done multiple times under the adjustment period. So my advice is to get these type of repairs handled as soon as they become an issue. If you wait and it goes past this warranty period you have only yourself to blame if the dealership tells you that they cannot cover it. (As a side note some manufacturers will cover adjustments for longer periods so READ your warranty book or ask the dealership, know what's covered and what's not! All manufacturers may have slightly different of coverage’s!)
What do you mean the battery is prorated?
Most mechanical and electrical components are covered by your warranty after the initial coverage. Some items may only have partial coverage depending on the manufacturer - as a example batteries may have a pro rate and audio/entertainment equipment may have shorter coverage terms. Be sure once again to read your warranty book it will typically have a list of exclusions and exceptions. Sometimes there may be gray areas that are unclear. I suggest calling your dealership or if you are skeptical about what they say then you can always call the manufacturer. They typically can give you all the answers to your questions. You should be able to find their number in the back of the owner’s manual and sometimes it's in that warranty booklet that we were talking about earlier. If you want you can always e-mail me and I will do my best to find out for you if I don't already know (I have lots of friends in the biz that I can quiz).

My vehicle failed emissions, why is it not covered?
The emissions warranty can be tough for some people to understand. Many people believe it will cover emission failure for 8 years or 80,000 miles. Unfortunately this is not true. This will cover the main computers (ECU or ECM) the transmission control unit or TCM and any other emission controlling computer in the vehicle. The warranty also covers the catalytic converters. So if your vehicle fails emissions and the vehicle is 6 years old and has 70,000 miles it most likely will not be covered unless one of these components is the cause of the failure. The majority of emission components are typically covered under the regular limited warranty. Once again check your warranty manual for what is and is not covered. They typically will have a list of components related to the emissions system. Please note that if you live in California your emissions warranties are different from the rest of the country so it is important that you defiantly review your warranty book!

What is a Perforation warranty?
Paint is typically covered under the manufacturers limited bumper to bumper warranty (be care full because I have seen 5 year or 60,000 mile warranties only cover paint for 3 years or 36,000 miles). This warranty applies to manufacturers defects. If the paint is peeling, has ripples (commonly called orange peel), drips or other defects these type of issues would normally be covered. Ultimately it is up to the dealerships, the service manager is usually the one that makes this decision. Things that are not covered are damage due to tree sap, hard water, scratches, paint chips (yes paint does chip when pebbles hit it at highway speeds) and so on. Also if your vehicle has been repainted (and yes the dealerships typically can tell) and there are issues with areas that have been painted or blended into it will not be covered. Another good one is burns in the paint or swirls from a buffer, these are not covered!! So what exactly is the corrosion or perforation warranty if it does not cover paint? Basically 'perforation' means a hole that penetrates through the bodywork caused by corrosion from the inside or underside as a result of faulty manufacturing. This is typically mistaken for the paint warranty by many consumers. Unfortunately as you can see it does not cover from actual paint defects. Perforation is rare and for the most part you will probably never use this warranty, but it looks good because the coverage is usually 5 years or more and may not have a mileage warranty!

Why are brake pads not covered?
Things that are not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty include damage from outside sources: Hitting a curb, backing into the side of your garage, hail storm, jump starting your vehicle and hooking the cables up backwards. Stuff like that. Customer abuse is always a good one. I have seen people break off their turn signal handle and think it's covered. Sorry, not covered! Lack of maintenance or incorrect maintenance; such as using the wrong fluids, adding chemicals to fluids, not changing fluids at proper intervals. Normal wear and tear items such as brake pad and clutch disc wear. Tires are another item typically not covered. Some manufacturers do cover tires but most still do not. Check in your owner’s manual and ask specific questions. There is typically a separate pamphlet with info on your tire warranty, which usually consist of several 800 numbers for different tire manufacturers to call on how to warranty a tire if it does have a defect (road hazards and normal tire wear are typically not covered – as a side note always rotate tires at the suggested intervals!).

To sum it up
That should give you some good ideas on how your warranty works. READ YOUR WARRANTY BOOK! I cannot stress that enough! The more you know about your warranty the more you can make it work for you. Do not assume anything! Chances are your assumptions are wrong!! Do not procrastinate on having repairs done on items that may be covered under warranty. Always make a list of items when you are aware that something needs attention and leave it in the vehicle so you do not forget about it. There is no reason for the dealership or the manufacturers to cover anything after the warranty period is over. I would also advise not to wait just before your warranty expires to get things taken care of. It is not to your advantage!

The Automotive Wise Guy

No comments:

Post a Comment