In the everyday context, a warranty is any type of written agreement or guarantee given to the buyer of something that was manufactured, which promises to repair or replace the item within a specified period of time. A warranty is a legally enforceable promise by the manufacturer of a good. The foundation of the warranty is actually a guarantee that the product will be free from defects, and in the event that the product is defective, the buyer can be assured that it will be fixed or replaced. This way, consumers can have some level of assurance when purchasing products, particularly those of high value.
What is a Car Warranty?
In the context of cars and car manufacturers, a warranty means that the manufacturer promises to the consumer that the car is free from defects, and if it turns out to be defective, the manufacturer is responsible for repair or replacement.
Warranties are always offered on new cars, and it applies to a used car as well, but the used car does not come with a brand new warranty. In other words, a used car only comes with the warranty that is left, if any, from the time that the car was purchased new. So, if the warranty protection on a new car is three years, and the car is sold as a used car two years later, that used car will have one year of warranty left. Consumers that purchased a used car can also purchase a used car or extended warranty through the manufacturer, and sometimes from a third party company.
The typical new car warranty, or factory warranty, consists of two sections. First, there is usually bumper-to-bumper coverage, which includes the car’s interior parts like the electronics, speedometers, and air conditioning. This coverage does not extend to parts of the car that wear down or must be replaced due to normal wear and tear. These parts that wear down over time usually include tires, rotors, and brake pads.
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The second section of the coverage typically includes the car’s drivetrain, meaning the engine and the transmission. This coverage does not include damage done to the car because of negligence, poor maintenance on the part of the owner, or issues caused by accidents. A common misconception is that issues that are covered under the warranty are always the responsibility of the manufacturer to repair. This is not the case if the owner simply fails to repair their car due to normal wear and tear, or if the owner fails to take notice of warning signals.
Warranties vs. Car Insurance
A warranty must be differentiated from car insurance. Car insurance is something that every driver must purchase for their car. Car insurance covers damage that is caused from accidents, collisions, fires, theft, or other unforeseeable causes. The major difference between the two is that car insurance usually does not cover problems due to mechanical or equipment failures, and warranties do not cover problems due to accidents. Car insurance can also cover much more than warranties. Car insurance can include liability coverage, which assists with medical bills or property damage occurring after an accident; collision coverage, which assists with damage from a collision; comprehensive coverage, which helps to repair or replace cars that are damaged due to fires, vandalism, hitting animals, or falling trees; medical payments coverage; and personal injury protection.
Generally, warranties cover any vehicle, including cars, SUVs, trucks, sometimes commercial vehicles, and sometimes watercraft vehicles. Warranties often last for a certain time frame or a certain amount of miles. If you have had a defect or issue with your vehicle, under warranty you may be entitled to relief from your dealer or manufacturer. For further information, or answers to questions you may have about warranties, contact our office to speak with an attorney who works with California lemon law.