A warranty is a promise. Whenever you buy a car and it comes with a warranty, you're being promised that the car will perform for a set time period or for a set number of miles.
However, car makers and dealers only bring in money when they sell a car. They actually lose it every time someone brings in their car to have it fixed, especially when the problem is under warranty and they don't have to pay for the fix. Therefore, they want to warranty as little as possible without making you get suspicious and go somewhere else to buy a car. This is why many warranties do not provide total coverage for your car, and why dealers and manufacturers often seem to be able to squirm out of them when you want them to fix your vehicle.
Warranties and California's Lemon Law
When it comes to California's Lemon Law, also known as the Song-Beverly Act, it's the new vehicle warranty that's the most important. Without a new vehicle warranty attached to your car, you can't use the Lemon Law to get a replacement vehicle or a refund of your purchase price, if your car ends up being a lemon.
New Vehicle Warranties
A new vehicle warranty is the one that comes from the manufacturer, guaranteeing that their cars, trucks, or SUVs will perform for a set number of years or miles. New vehicle warranties come in a handful of forms, and can provide bumper-to-bumper coverage, or powertrain, corrosion, or roadside assistance coverage. Each of these types of coverage applies to different aspects of the vehicle, and therefore provides a different kind of protection for your car.
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is also known as a basic manufacturer's warranty. It's a generalized protection plan for your car, and applies to the car parts that were installed in the manufacturer's factory or plant. Because of its wide reach, basic warranties are the most commonly used to cover a specific problem that you're having with your car.
An important thing that's not included in a bumper-to-bumper warranty, though, is your tires. These have their own set of warranties, and are technically not considered a part of your car in the context of warranties.
Different car manufacturers offer different terms for their basic, bumper-to-bumper warranties. As you can see from this chart, these range from warranties covering as little as 2 years or 24,000 miles, to warranties covering as much as 5 years or 60,000 miles.
Also known as a drivetrain warranty, a powertrain warranty covers your car's engine, transmission, transaxle, and other crucial interior parts used to make your car move. Because these components are so important to the life of your car, manufacturers want to make you feel secure in their performance, and so offer a warranty scheme for them that lasts longer than their basic warranty.
Each car manufacturer offers their own powertrain warranty, ranging from 2 years or 24,000 miles to a lifetime limited warranty.
Even though more and more car parts are being made out of materials that are softer than metal, sheet metal still has its place in your vehicle. Doors and side panels are still typically made from sheet metal, and the exterior side of these parts can come into contact with some corrosive substances, especially if you live in parts of our state that gets a lot of snow – the salt and other chemicals that get used to treat the roads can wreak havoc on your car.
Corrosion warranties are meant to cover any damage that these metal parts suffer within the term of the warranty. It covers rust and other forms of corrosion that can weaken the metal and even put holes in it.
Roadside Assistance Warranties
Some manufacturers promise to help you out if you get stuck on the side of the road because your car broke down. This warranty will often help to cover the cost of towing, in the thought that it's just one of the collateral consequences of a larger issue with your car.
Read Your Warranty Closely
Even if your car manufacturer makes all of these promises about how well their vehicle will perform, when it comes time for them to make good on their words, they're often nowhere to be found. Even after contacting them, it can be a hassle to convince them to follow through on their warranty, and you can expect them to try wiggling out of any commitment to help.
This is why it's important to read your manufacturer's warranty closely before you rely on it in your decision to buy a car. Warranties can promise coverage, but then have terms or language in them that make it difficult or even impossible to actually get what they offer. For example, warranties that require you to bring the vehicle in to the dealership for repairs covered by the warranty can be risky if there's only one dealership in your area – if it goes out of business, you'll be hard pressed to get the repairs you need.
California Lemon Law Lawyers
Vehicle warranties are a huge aspect of your decision to buy a specific brand of car, truck, or SUV. They also play a huge role in determining whether the car that you bought could be classified as a lemon: Unless the car falls short of the manufacturer's vehicle warranty, you won't be able to get a replacement car or your purchase price back under California's Lemon Law.
This is why it's crucial to understand your vehicle warranty. Unfortunately, they're often written in a way that makes it difficult to fully comprehend. The attorneys at The Lemon Lawyer know this, and can help you determine what your vehicle warranty covers, and whether your car has fallen so short of those standards that it could be considered a lemon. Reach out to us online or call our law office at 1-844-CAR-PROBS.