Your basic warranty (also known as a limited warranty or factory warranty) promises to pay for repairs to your car if the cause of the repair is due to a manufacturing defect when the car is driven normally and maintained properly. Virtually all car manufacturers offer a factory warranty for new vehicles. The factory warranty usually includes a limited warranty for new vehicles, sometimes referred to as a bumper-to-bumper warranty. The factory warranty can also include a powertrain warranty and coverage for maintenance, corrosion and emissions.
This warranty, also called bumper-to-bumper coverage, covers defects in materials or workmanship on many parts of the car. This is an exclusionary guarantee that often excludes wear and tear elements, such as brakes and tires, as well as environmental damage, such as external rust or windshields. The bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover routine maintenance, such as oil changes or damage caused by the lack of such maintenance. Damage caused by misuse, such as driving a Cadillac off the road, is not covered, and incidental acts, such as flooding caused by a natural disaster, are not covered either.
The specific limits of the manufacturer's warranty will depend on the make, model and year of your vehicle. Hybrid component warranties and electric vehicle (EV) component warranties cover repairs to the battery, electric motor, and other unique components found in an electric or hybrid car. Manufacturers typically issue separate emissions guarantees that provide California residents with longer protection. While this table is not a comparison of all the guarantees on the market, it is a representative sample.
These warranties are often complex and guarantee some parts for shorter periods and others for longer periods. Therefore, they don't cover damage caused by accidents or when the car is used in a way that the manufacturer didn't intend for you to use it. Basically, it's the car manufacturer's guarantee that you won't have to worry about any major issues after buying a new car for a set period of time. In addition, some extended dealer warranties are only available for purchase when you buy your new car or within a specific time period.
Depending on the car model you own, the manufacturer has strict guidelines on how a car must be treated and maintained in order to qualify for warranty coverage. If you learn that the manufacturer recalled your car 22 years ago to repair a safety defect, you can still take it to the dealer to have it fixed at no cost. Most factory warranties are transferable, although the process is not automatic and may require a small fee. The provider offers extended warranties direct to the consumer, unlike many third-party intermediaries in the extended warranty industry.
You don't need to purchase additional warranty coverage once the manufacturer's or dealer's plan expires.