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Using Auto Warranty to Get Free Repairs You Are Entitled to Receive


A basic warranty or the basic part of a bumper-to-bumper warranty normally runs for a vehicle's first 12 months or 12,000 miles,
whichever occurs first. During that period, the repair of any flaw due to an error in manufacturing or a faulty part will be fully paid
for by the manufacturer.

If the manufacturer of the car offers a power-train warranty, power-train coverage kicks in after the basic warranty period expires. The power-train warranty protects the car owner against engine, transmission, and differential failure as long as that failure is not caused by owner neglect or abuse of the vehicle, such as failing to follow manufacturer maintenance servicing requirements. Repairs are not normally free—you usually have to pay $50
or $100 for each.

The period of time that a power-train warranty remains in effect depends on the manufacturer. For less-expensive model cars, that period is generally 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever occurs first, beyond the basic warranty period. The power-train warranties of some luxury model cars extend for 60 months or 88,000 miles, whichever occurs first, beyond the basic warranty period. A bumper-to-bumper warranty covers the entire vehicle for an extended period. This includes a basic warranty period of 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first, during which time the repair of every flaw and defect that is the fault of the manufacturer is paid for in full by the manufacturer. After that, repairs for anything resulting from a manufacturing deficiency or a defect in components—not only engine, transmission, and differential problems—are paid for on a shared basis. You usually have to pay $50 or $100 each time a repair is made, with the manufacturer paying the remainder.

Throughout the industry, the standard period of time bumper-to-bumper warranties are in effect (as of January 1994) was three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The manufacturer of your car may be more generous. You can verify this by consulting
the warranty booklet that comes with your car.

To summarize, the difference between a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a basic/power-train warranty package is that the former covers the entire car for an extended period. The latter covers the entire car for a short period and the engine, transmission, and
differential for an extended period.


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