What isn’t covered in Car Manufacturer’s Warranty?

What isn't covered in Car Manufacturer's Warranty
What isn’t covered in Car Manufacturer’s Warranty

Comprehensive list of what’s covered & what’s not covered in the car manufacturer’s warranty. Read on to understand the nuances!

It’s not a surprise that while purchasing your own sleek car at a showroom, the first nervous glance you cast invariably goes towards the price list, to decide whether you can breathe easy or not even as your companions admire the automobile calling to you. And when you can, and have bought the car, the only other thing you are interested in is a warranty offered by the manufacturer to protect any damages or deficiencies that may taint your hard-earned vehicle.  

And while you go through the various plans put in front of you by the manufacturer, the most important question that seeps into your mind is what the extent of coverage of each warranty plan will really be. For that very reason, we bring to you a detailed explanation of different warranties and their coverage.

Now, while it is true that factors such as age, conditions, events and handling will affect a warranty, coverage in a manufacturer’s warranty will primarily be influenced by the type of warranty that you choose to opt. Some of the well-known warranties in brief are:

  • Bumper-to-bumper Warranty
    bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components
    Bumper-to-Bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components

    The most common warranty offered by any manufacturer is the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes. Bumper-to-bumper warranty usually ends faster than Power-train.

  • Power-train Warranty
    Power train Warranty covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts
    Power train Warranty covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts

    This type of a warranty typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like your driveshaft and constant velocity joints. In some cases, manufacturers also add seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. In spite of its usefulness, power-train warranties don’t generally cover regular maintenance like engine tune-ups and tire rotations.

Two more common additional elements to a warranty are as below:

  1. Extended-length warranty: When you buy a new car, most dealerships will offer to sell you a supplementary contract that extends beyond the standard powertrain and bumper-to-bumper policies.

  2. Roadside assistance: Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or power-train warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

So the policy you prefer decides the initial coverage of your warranty with regards to different parts. Now, for a clear picture of coverage, we think it would be better if we went part by part, to see how each part and its coverage is influenced by various factors. But before that here is a short list of parts that generally is not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty:

  • Brake linings and disc pads
  • Clutch release bearings
  • Clutch pressure plates and centre plates
  • Tires
  • Wiper blades (wiper rubbers have no warranty owing to their conditions of use)
  • Seat and backrest covers
  • Floor coverings
  • Spark plugs
  • Batteries for key fobs and alarms
  • Light bulbs
  • Shock Absorbers
  • Adjustments to doors, flaps, boot lids, bonnets, sunroof
  • Brake adjustment
  • Clutch adjustment
  • Headlight adjustment
  • Steering geometry adjustments
  • Wheel balancing


  1. Tires: Like replacement tires, new-car tires are covered by their manufacturers, and not of the car. Depending on the type of tire, most warranties have a year or mileage limit, whichever comes first. Generally, tires are eligible for warranty replacement if the tread-wear indicators become visible. That doesn’t always mean a free set of tires as our mentality demands; most tire-makers prorate the new tire cost based on premature wear, meaning you’ll only get reimbursed for the remainder of how long the tire should have lasted. Make sure to have your tires rotated regularly, as improper rotation, inflation or balancing can make your warranty void. Unless a special policy has been purchased, basic tire warranties don’t cover punctures or collision damage. If your tires are wearing prematurely, it may indicate a problem with your steering or suspension that needs to be corrected under warranty, but the tire wear itself is not covered. 
  2. Rusted parts: Rust coverage includes body panels that have rusted through age and obsoleteness. Perforation of your parts happens due to multiple reasons. There are some warranty policies that generally last up to six years and have no mileage limits. Needless to say, they only cover complete perforation of your parts, which is a relatively rare occurrence with today’s rust-proofing technologies. Most policies don’t provide coverage for -rust caused by rock chips, hail or acid rain. 
  3. Emission Controllers: Nowadays, emission controllers like oxygen sensors and catalytic converters are available to everybody. And for these, two types of warranties exist: one is a performance warranty that requires automakers to repair or adjust emissions controls for at least two years if the car fails an emissions test and the other is a design and defect warranty that covers them for at least two years or 24,000 miles if emissions control fails independently of a test. Major components like catalytic converters and engine control modules are covered for performance and defects for up-to eight years.

  4. Factory accessories: Factory accessories include everything from a fancy audio system to an engine modification from a manufacturer’s performance wing. Most automakers cover accessories for up to three years or the remainder of the Bumper-to-Bumper warranty, whichever is shorter. Be sure to check out all the specifics; modifying the accessories after they’ve been installed can waste your coverage.

  5. Batteries: If it’s not covered in the bumper-to-bumper policy, a car’s conventional battery sometimes may get its own warranty. Battery warranties usually range from two to three years; they cover defective batteries on a prorated basis, so you’ll be compensated only for the remaining battery life you lost. Battery warranties rarely cover maintenance or misuse. Or be sure you are on the safer side!

  6. Seat belts and airbags: A lot of carmakers include seat belts and airbags with power-train or bumper-to-bumper warranties. Others make separate provisions, and the warranties sometimes carry no expiration date. Seat belts are generally covered for operating usability only, so don’t expect a replacement for discoloration or some other cosmetic defect!

  7. Third-party components: Sometimes equipment made by other companies, like a DVD player or wireless headphones for backseat passengers, carries a dedicated warranty from its manufacturer, and not from the car manufacturer. Pay attention to these: They are likely to be shorter than the bumper-to-bumper warranty for the car.

  8. Wearable components: Wearable components include your drive belt, brake pads, brake rotors, clutch material (in manual transmissions), and fluids. These are mostly not covered by your warranty.

  9. Maintenance of parts: Fluid maintenance, filter replacements, and other wearable part replacement is your responsibility as a vehicle owner and will not be taken up by the manufacturer.

  10. Adjustments: Generally, adjustments of parts are not covered under warranty past 1 year. If adjustments are required such as a wheel alignment or door adjustment, it must be completed within a year. This is because outside forces usually necessitate adjustments, not manufacturer defects.

  11. Audio equipment: Like any consumer product, car audio equipment usually comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. But unlike most consumer products, car audio equipment has to be installed in a vehicle for it to work. Some manufacturers protect themselves from damage caused by improper installation by extending the warranty only if their products are installed by an authorised dealer. That way they can be assured — and you can, too — that the products will perform the way they are intended.A defective or broken car audio component has to be taken out of the vehicle before it can be replaced or sent back to a manufacturer for repair. A potential bummer is that in some cases, the customer has to pay to have the equipment taken out and put back into the car by the dealer.

Although some speciality shops and big box stores will eat the labour cost and not bill the customer if the product is still under warranty, others would charge their usual rates to take out the component and put it back in again. But it’s rare for high-quality car audio equipment to break or malfunction.

These are some of the common parts where warranty coverage is scrutinised. While you are looking for a policy that covers as many sections of your ride as possible, don’t forget that every policy is negotiable up to a certain point where your preferences and the manufacturer’s meet. Always make sure that you go through all the terms and conditions given in the policy, even though it may seem a tiresome formality for that simple check will avoid many a problem.

With this suggestion and the hope that you go in for a great car warranty policy that satisfies you, we sign off hoping that our article gave you valuable insights on warranty coverage!

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