Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 21, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Car warranty wisdom

Niagara Gazette — Isn’t it covered under my warranty?”

This question is asked thousands of times a day in dealership service departments around the country. Many people assume that a car warranty entitles them to repairs regardless of environmental conditions, maintenance requirements, and/or length of time/number of miles on the vehicle.

A car warranty is not an entitlement. It is an agreement between you and the car manufacturer.

The purchaser of the warranty or the product that comes with a warranty is responsible to follow the specified maintenance requirements as set forth by the manufacturer. Then, and only then, is the manufacturer obligated to perform any repairs due to a defect from poor workmanship or a failed part for the time or mileage set forth by the terms of the warranty agreement.

In recent years, because of some questionable practices by dealers, car manufacturers now scrutinize every warranty claim that comes across their desks. Such close inspection of warranty claims is interpreted by the consumer as an attempt to get out of covering a particular repair. However, in actuality, the repair may not qualify under the warranty terms due to a number of conditions, ranging from abuse of the vehicle, expiration of the warranty because of time or mileage, or an uncovered part as per the agreement.

My advice to the buyer: Read your warranty agreement carefully so that you understand what is covered and what’s not for how long and for what mileage before signing, fulfill your part of the agreement which will require certain maintenance operations to be performed, then and only then, can you expect the manufacturer to fulfill their part of the agreement.

Below are some examples of warranty coverage carmakers offer on new vehicles:

• CORROSION WARRANTY: A type of warranty that covers rust-through perforation on sheet metal with actual holes. Surface corrosion from nicks, chips, and scratches are not covered (usually due to environmental conditions). Coverage varies with each manufacturer, so check your warranty information or check with your dealer for specific details on coverage.

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