Your Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 7 Things That May Not Be Included
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is great — but it doesn't cover everything. These seven components may not be included.
Like car and health insurance, a bumper-to-bumper warranty can be a great thing to have—but never needing it is ideal. It can be time-consuming to carefully read the pages detailing coverage, and figuring out what's covered can sometimes feel confusing. At the same time, you likely feel better knowing it's there.
While coverage depth and length of term can vary from automaker to automaker—and even from vehicle to vehicle—in general, there are some items that are traditionally excluded from the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Here are seven to keep in mind.
A powertrain warranty is different from a bumper-to-bumper warranty. The powertrain includes the engine, transmission, drivetrain; really anything to do with propulsion. Often, the powertrain warranty has the most prolonged coverage. Many these days last more than
Wear and Tear-Prone Components
Most "wear and tear items" are detailed in a car warranty, but as a quick reference, it's best to refer to the things that you'll likely need to replace during the life of a vehicle. Think of brake pads, tires, and wiper blades. You won't find them covered in the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Even light bulbs and fuses are often excluded.
Many warranties traditionally do not cover vehicle upholstery, trim pieces, and even glass and other cabin surfaces. This is because most warranties only cover items that are due to the manufacturer's fault. For instance, if your seat belt stops working, it will likely be covered. However, if there's a hole in your leather and it has an ink stain on it, they might assume that a pen was the culprit, not a production defect. If your interior finishes start peeling, cracking, or showing signs of design flaws, get it to a dealership as soon as possible to document the defect.
Vehicle batteries often have their own coverages, which are traditionally shorter than a typical three-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty. In this instance, 2 years or 24,000 miles is the norm, at least as of 2022.
Traditionally, the warranty includes rust corrosion, the type that occurs through no fault of the driver. Most automakers won't cover rust as a result of sand, salt, tree sap, or hail. Other exemptions include rust caused by scratches from stones or gravel. Coverage terms for rust are usually different than the standard warranty terms (and vary widely between manufacturers). However, some extended warranties also have an add-on for rust protection.
Don't expect your ability to call for help to last as long as your warranty. While these services are typically offered for free following a purchase, they are usually only covered for a limited amount of time, after which you must pay a monthly fee. If your subscription expires or you dislike paying the fees, you can consider organizations (such as
Stereo systems. DVD players. Touchscreens. These days, new cars can have an enormous amount of technology. However, similar to roadside assistance, the entertainment components often have different coverage lengths than the rest of the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Most manufacturers do cover factory-installed audio systems, but only for a limited time. Thus, it's best to begin at your certified dealer, who can then make a referral if a specialized repair is required.
Although these exceptions may seem disheartening, there are positive aspects to consider. Automakers are highly competitive about the reliability and longevity of their vehicles. As long as you maintain your ride and keep good records in the process, the better your warranty experience will be if and when you do encounter an issue.