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What is a Bumper to Bumper Warranty?

A bumper to bumper warranty typically covers the entire vehicle.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
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Generally speaking, a vehicle warranty is a contract that guarantees the seller will cover specific repairs or replacements for a certain amount of time after purchase. A drive train warranty, for example, will cover the cost of repairs if any part of the vehicle's transmission system stops performing as designed. Warranty coverage only lasts for a specified period of time and/or accumulated mileage, however, which means the buyer may have to purchase an extension or pay for the repairs or replacements through other means. One of the most popular warranty offers for new car buyers is known as a bumper to bumper warranty, also known as a new car warranty or wrap-around warranty.

The name of this warranty implies that the entire vehicle is covered from one end to the other. This is not necessarily the case, but it is true that almost every part of a new car will be repaired or replaced while under the terms of a bumper to bumper warranty. The standard warranty period is three years or 36,000 miles, although policies can vary from dealership to dealership. This time or mileage arrangement can work against the buyer, however, since the warranty expires when either condition is reached. A two-year-old vehicle would no longer be covered under warranty once the 36,000th mile is reached. Conversely, a four-year-old vehicle with only 10,000 miles would no longer be covered either.

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There are some significant exceptions to the coverage provided under a bumper to bumper warranty. The language contained in most new car warranties specifically defines the word "wear." If a wire connected to the vehicle's distributor becomes too worn to function properly, it can usually be replaced for free under the terms of the warranty. However, certain parts of the vehicle that experience natural wear and tear during normal operation are not covered under the warranty. Tires, windshield wiper blades, light bulbs and even parts of the bumper are typically not covered. Owners must pay for the replacement of these items out of their own pockets.

It is possible for vehicle owners to purchase additional warranty coverage after the initial warranty expires. Some experts suggest this may not be a wise investment compared to other insurance options, but others say an extended warranty on expensive systems such as the drive train does make economic sense. A standard bumper to bumper warranty is generally offered to new car buyers only, although a dealership can always offer other types of warranty protection as an incentive to potential customers. It is important for new vehicle owners to study the terms of any warranty so there are fewer misunderstandings if repairs become necessary in the future.

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Discuss this Article

MikeyB
Post 4

Thanks for posting this article. I think many people get confused by extended warranties and it's a topic that needs to be dissected earnestly.

In all honesty, it does depend on the manufacturer as well as your driving habits. Not all extended warranties are created equal, and coverage will depend on the vehicle you buy.

Before you buy one, you should also consider what parts and systems are included for repair or replacement. Also, whether or not you plan to drive your new vehicle for more than ten years, or if you plan to resell the car after a few years. If yours is transferable to a second owner, having an extended warranty can actually help improve the resale value of your car.

mutsy
Post 3

Crispety - I know that the dealers try to sell you extended bumper to bumper warranty when the car is brand new. Many credit unions also offer this type of coverage and it often includes road side assistance as well.

My credit union offers a mechanical breakdown coverage beginning with copper and ending with platinum coverage. The platinum coverage covers all mechanical and electrical issues regarding your car.

This is considered the best bumper to bumper warranty and it could be added to your monthly car note.

Crispety
Post 2

I remember when I had my Saturn VUE, I had to take advantage of the bumper to bumper auto warranty. My SUV was not going past a certain speed and I had to have it checked out and later found out that it was the transmission.

Thank goodness that I still had bumper to bumper car warranty available because if not it would have cost me thousands of dollars to fix. The dealer fixed it with no problem and I was really relieved.

CarGuardian
Post 1

This is a great article if you are considering the purchase of an extended service contract or warranty for your car.

An additional and important point is this: When it comes to warranties for your car, one size does not fit all. Be sure to get the best coverage for your car's year, make, model and mileage as well as your driving habits and long term ownership goals for the car in question.

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