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Thread: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly
    By Eric Peters


    There are two types of warranties that come with a new car -- the standard (and so-called "bumper-to-bumper") warranty and the powertrain warranty.

    The standard warranty is like a comprehensive insurance policy and covers the entire vehicle and its systems -- everything from the paint to the lug nuts -- with the exception of normal wear and tear items such as brake pads, filters and fluids and so on. (There are also exceptions in most cases for damage or problems attributable to "abuse" -- which can be defined as failing to have the vehicle serviced and maintained per the factory recommendations.)

    The powertrain warranty typically lasts longer -- but its coverage extends only to the engine, transmission and drive axle. A major engine failure would be covered -- but peeling paint would be your problem.

    Surprisingly, the vehicles with the best standard warranties aren't necessarily Japanese imports. While the mainline Japanese brands (Honda and Toyota) enjoy a reputation for better-than-average quality, the standard warranties on their 2007 model year vehicles are only good for three years and 36,000 miles. General Motors now offers a standard four year/50,000 mile warranty on all Buick, Cadillac, Saab and Hummer models -- matching BMW, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. GM has also introduced a 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, surpassing the coverage offered by BMW, Mercedes and Volvo -- all of which offer four year/50,000 mile powertrain warranties in addition to their standard warranties.

    Honda's powertrain coverage extends to five years/60,000 miles -- while Toyota's is slightly less generous at five years and 50,000 miles. (Hybrid vehicles like the Civic hybrid typically have additional/separate warranty coverage on their hybrid-specific components; in the case of the hybrid Civic, this extra coverage is good for eight years and 80,000 miles.)

    The Korean automakers -- Hyundai and Kia -- continue to offer some of the best standard and powertrain warranties in the industry. New 2007 model year Kias, for example, come with five-year/60,000 mile standard warranties -- and 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage. Hyundai cars come with the same 5/50k and 10/100k coverage as well.

    Ford and Chrysler remain near the bottom in terms of the generosity of their warranty coverage. Their standard warranties are good for just three years and 36,000 miles -- although Ford's recently upgraded five-year/60,000 mile powertrain coverage (six years and 60,000 miles for Lincoln models) is better than Chrysler's minimalist three-year/36,000 mile powertrain coverage -- scaled back from the previous seven-year/70,000 mile deal that had been offered until last year as inducement to attract buyers.

    Several manufacturers also offer free roadside assistance, in addition to their standard and powertrain warranties. In the case of makes/models with skimpy warranty coverage -- and all that implies about the manufacturer's confidence in the long-term durability of its vehicles -- having access to a tow service might be some comfort.

    For vehicles not backed-up with long-lived warranties, you might want to give thought to purchasing an extended warranty, if available. You may even be able to negotiate for the inclusion of its cost in the final purchase price of the vehicle.

    An extended warranty can pay for itself very quickly -- and sometimes, many times over -- if you happen to buy a car that ends up needing a new transmission, rebuilt engine or other big ticket repair.

    And the peace of mind is priceless.

    END

  2. #2
    JohnB
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Or one can get a fairly reliable vehicle.

    So far the G/M hasn't had to go back for any failure in 7,000 miles. There are a couple of "adjustment" items that I could nit-pick (the gear shift indicator is misadjusted by about an 1/8 of an inch and there's a little bit of light leak around the center mounted brake light) but othe wise everything is doing what's supposed to do.






  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB
    Or one can get a fairly reliable vehicle.

    So far the G/M hasn't had to go back for any failure in 7,000 miles. There are a couple of "adjustment" items that I could nit-pick (the gear shift indicator is misadjusted by about an 1/8 of an inch and there's a little bit of light leak around the center mounted brake light) but othe wise everything is doing what's supposed to do.

    There's that, too!

    I'd be concerned about Chrysler dropping their previous 70k coverage; suggests the bean counters told the higher ups that the cars were going to be expensive liabilities. Now they're someone else's liabilities.... glad it ain't me!

  4. #4
    JohnB
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB
    Or one can get a fairly reliable vehicle.

    So far the G/M hasn't had to go back for any failure in 7,000 miles. There are a couple of "adjustment" items that I could nit-pick (the gear shift indicator is misadjusted by about an 1/8 of an inch and there's a little bit of light leak around the center mounted brake light) but othe wise everything is doing what's supposed to do.

    There's that, too!

    I'd be concerned about Chrysler dropping their previous 70k coverage; suggests the bean counters told the higher ups that the cars were going to be expensive liabilities. Now they're someone else's liabilities.... glad it ain't me!
    Earlier this year FORD extended all warranties in most all new 2006 vehicles. I don't know if that goes retroactive to previously purchased 2006 cars and trucks. I may have to ask the stealership.

  5. #5

    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Don't forget BMW's new gimmick - they provide free scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles. You can purchase an extra 50k for about $900, but before you scoff at the price, remember that even an oil change on a car like this runs almost $200; get 3 of those in a 50,000 mile span, and you've already used up $600 of it.

    The only thing that sucks about the maintenance coverage is that it doesn't cover tires - which aren't cheap, especially with the run-flats that come as standard equipment.

  6. #6
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Probably doesn't cover disc brake rotors, either. When changing pads, BMW insists that the rotors need changing too, rather than just turning them & checking them for minimum thickness. This turns a ~$250 service into a ~$1000 service visit.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  7. #7
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Probably doesn't cover disc brake rotors, either. When changing pads, BMW insists that the rotors need changing too, rather than just turning them & checking them for minimum thickness. This turns a ~$250 service into a ~$1000 service visit.

    Chip H.
    Thats pretty bad. Rotors should be good for at least 2 brake pad changies. If I owned a BMW, I guess I'd switch to Brembo pads and rotors.


  8. #8
    Rocketmann
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Probably doesn't cover disc brake rotors, either. When changing pads, BMW insists that the rotors need changing too, rather than just turning them & checking them for minimum thickness. This turns a ~$250 service into a ~$1000 service visit.
    IIRC, I think it does cover brake rotors. The BMW warranty covers just about everything except tires, even wiper blades.

  9. #9

    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketmann


    IIRC, I think it does cover brake rotors. The BMW warranty covers just about everything except tires, even wiper blades.
    The dealer told me the same thing - I guess we'll find out soon enough!

  10. #10
    MrMike
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    For vehicles not backed-up with long-lived warranties, you might want to give thought to purchasing an extended warranty, if available. You may even be able to negotiate for the inclusion of its cost in the final purchase price of the vehicle.

    An extended warranty can pay for itself very quickly -- and sometimes, many times over -- if you happen to buy a car that ends up needing a new transmission, rebuilt engine or other big ticket repair.

    And the peace of mind is priceless.

    END
    Good advice. Are extended warranties usually transferrable to the second owner? If so, that would be a another big benefit of buying one. You would recoup all or most of the cost in higher resale value.

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Warranties: The Good, Bad and Ugly

    Roger that - and good question on the transferability of extended warranties; I don't know, offhand, what's typical. Will definitely check into it!

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