Niagara Gazette

Features

February 21, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Car warranty wisdom

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — • EMMISSIONS WARRANTY: The federal government requires that car makers provide extended warranty coverage on emission systems to ensure lower tailpipe emissions. Typical coverage is seven to eight years and 70,000 to 80,000 miles. If you have a drivability problem on a late model vehicle, make sure to check with your dealer on emissions warranty coverage before paying for the repair because it might be covered.

• CUSTOMIZED CONVERSIONS: Some vehicles (usually vans and limos) are covered under separate warranties for the add-ons not installed by the manufacturer. Be sure to obtain a written warranty disclosure for the conversion when purchasing these types of vehicles. Make sure you (and your dealer) completely understand the ‘ins and outs’ of conversion vehicle warranties.

I have witnessed nightmares resulting from misunderstandings when it’s too late, after the customer has taken delivery of the vehicle!

• HIDDEN WARRANTIES: There is no such thing as the Urban Legend of Hidden Warranties, however, there is a form of warranty coverage called “Goodwill Adjustments.” Manufacturers sometimes allow their dealers or field reps to make “Goodwill Adjustments” once a vehicle is out of warranty time and/or mileage. Decisions to do so are based on certain criteria such as owner’s loyalty, time the vehicle has been in service, maintenance records, vehicle history, mileage, and whether any service contracts are in effect. With a Goodwill Adjustment, customers may be asked to share some of the cost of the repair with the car maker. Never be afraid to ask for assistance. You’ve got nothing to lose by asking.

• CAMPAIGNS: Sometimes a car maker will embark on a “Campaign.” This type of warranty is usually associated with a safety defect and is often a positive PR move. Campaigns can take the form of a repair or a warranty extension. Although it is not a recall, the campaign is either an agreement between the car maker and the NHTSA or it is a course of action the car maker has taken to ensure the safety of its customers without going to recall AND, to maintain good PR with the public.

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