Bumper to Bumper Warranty vs. Extended Car Warranties

March 15, 2012

What a bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage implies and what's actually stated in the contract might not compare favorably to an extended car warranty.

car bumpers

Buying a car is necessary for most people, and along with buying the car comes a whole lot of things you must consider, like what exactly your bumper to bumper warranty covers. There are so many types of car warranties that consumers get confused and often opt for the first one offered to them. If you are planning to buy a car, here are a few things you should know about two very important types of warranties called bumper to bumper warranties and extended car warranties.

What is a Bumper to Bumper Warranty?

These policies are only for a time period of three years, or for a mileage of 36,000. Exact details depend on the vehicle manufacturer. The term bumper to bumper implies that the entire car is covered in the warranty, but this is not necessarily the case. Most bumper to bumper warranties do not cover the regular maintenance that you do on your car. They also have a list of spare parts like windshield wipers and tires that might or might not be included in the warranty. You will have to check before signing on.

A few companies also cover free gasoline, roadside assistance in case of emergencies for towing and replacement rental cars, regular maintenance, some wear and tear, and electronic equipment coverage for the entire car. Almost every car company offers bumper to bumper warranties that you can opt for right at the beginning, instead of buying an extended warranty. These warranties are the best as they include nearly everything that has to be replaced on a car and they are easy to get too.

Wear and Tear
One thing that a bumper to bumper warranty will often not cover is "general wear," or problems related to specific kinds of use of the vehicle. Factory warranties, for example, are meant to cover defects in a vehicle, not regular effects of long-term use.

Exclusions
Other bumper to bumper coverage warranties may have even more items that the issuer of the warranty doesn't want to cover. All of these can be outlined in the fine print of a warranty agreement. Your "total warranty" may cover the engine and transmission, but not small things like the brake lining. It may cover parts and labor on some items, and just labor on others. It's important to seek out all of the little exclusions that may be attached to a warranty, making it less valuable for the buyer.

Time Limits
A lot of bumper-to-bumper warranties have a shelf life determined by either time or the mileage accumulated on the vehicle. That means you don't have a guarantee on how long the warranty will last if you are racking up high mileage. This is something else to consider when factoring in the protections of a total warranty.

Shop Restrictions

One of the biggest things to look out for in third-party warranties is restrictions about where repair work can occur. A warranty is only as good as the shop behind it. Some horror stories about warranties include dealers who issue long-term warranties that mandate a return to their shop, which closes shortly after the warranty has issued, leaving the car owner with a worthless piece of paper. In general, a warranty has far less value if the customer does not have the ability to go to different shops for repairs as necessary, even if it includes extras like roadside assistance or other freebies.

Extended Car Warranties

Most cars come with a routine warranty that covers car repairs and replacement parts during a set period of time. But if you're car breaks down out of the warranty period you have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket. For this reason, most manufacturers advise car owners to take on an extended warranty that exceeds the number of days of the ordinary warranty.

Extended car warranties will cover a larger range of mistakes and repairs, like increased wear and tear on your car, fewer exclusionary parts, rental car reimbursement, and roadside assistance for breakdowns with tows. Dealers can supply you with an extended warranty, but it's better to buy direct from the company to get the best price possible, as most car dealers retain a cut of the purchase price.

An ordinary warranty may only be for a certain time period or dependent on mileage. Find out how an extended warranty works before taking it on. Companies like WarrantyDirect offer protection plans and prices that are all inclusive and easy to choose from.

Use all of the above considerations to figure out what a bumper to bumper warranty is really worth to you, and whether it's worth buying additional extended warranties to get even more protection for the road ahead.