Understanding your Car Warranty

What's Covered, and What's Not!
If you own a car, you have car warranties that come from the automaker that cover repair and replacement of parts when something goes wrong. These include a powertrain warranty and a bumper-to-bumper warranty. Many manufacturers even include a couple of years of roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. A few carmakers also cover oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections for a limited time.
 
This article hopes to break down the basics of auto manufacturer car warranties and how they work. We'll also show you the details on what most of today's car brands currently offer as standard warranties. Let's get started with what is covered under a basic warranty, also referred to as a bumper-to-bumper car warranty, as well as the drivetrain or powertrain warranty.
 
Basic Bumper-to-bumper warranty
This limited basic warranty is called a bump-to-bumper warranty because it covers all the basic components of the vehicle. It is sometimes called a comprehensive warranty and covers the repair and replacement of defects in all the electronic and high-tech features of the car. It includes the air conditioning system, the safety and driver assist features, the audio system, the suspension system, and more. In fact, the comprehensive warranty covers many more parts of the car than the powertrain warranty but generally doesn't last as long.
 
These limited warranties vary by automaker and not all parts are covered. For instance, they do not cover interior trim, seat fabric, cabin surfaces, windows, windshields, wiper blades, tires and wheels, brake pads, fluids, or paint. They also do not cover wear and tear to the vehicle. Bumper-to-bumper warranties last anywhere from three years or 36,000 miles, to up to five years and 60,000 miles depending on the automaker.
 
Powertrain warranty
The powertrain warranty generally lasts longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty and is said to cover the replacement or repair of components that bring power to the wheels. In other words, it covers the engine, transmission, differential, axles, and driveshaft. It includes fuel pumps and the water pump. Simply put, it covers parts that make the car go. However, this warranty does not cover items that are generally known as "wear items." A wear item is a part that is designed to wear out over usage and time.
 
As such, not everything under the hood is covered as part of your powertrain warranty. Typically, parts such as the oil filter, battery, drive belts and hoses that wear out over time, are not covered. The radiator, alternator, suspension parts, and steering components are also likely to be excluded. Note that tires and batteries have their own manufacturer warranties.
 
The federal government requires vehicle manufacturers to cover emissions equipment for two years or 24,000 miles and up to eight years or 80,000 miles on such components as catalytic converters, the electronic emissions control unit or ECU and the onboard emissions diagnostic device (OBD) or computer.
 
Roadside Assistance Coverage
Most automakers include a service that will come to your aid if your car leaves you stranded by the side of the road. Many automakers include free towing for up to four years and unlimited miles. Check your Owner's Manual to see if your car has this coverage. Roadside Assistance usually covers such services as getting you into your car if you locked yourself out of it, changing a flat tire, jumping a dead battery, replacing the battery, or bringing you gasoline if you run out.
 
Rust warranty
Steel makes up approximately 54 percent of today's cars. Steel offers strength, durability, and is continuously recyclable, but steel also rusts. That's why auto manufacturers include an anti-perforation, corrosion, or rust warranty. This corrosion coverage varies and some carmakers such as Tesla, which uses a lot of aluminum in its vehicles, only covers rust perforation which occurs when a rust hole forms from the inside out due to defective materials or workmanship. Read your warranty contract's fine print to find out what is covered.
 
Hybrid and EV Battery Warranties
If you own a hybrid such as the Honda Accord Hybrid or a Toyota Prius, plug-in hybrid such as the Hyundai Santa Fe or Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, or an all-electric vehicle like the Tesla Model X, Chevy Bolt or Ford Mustang Mach-E, your vehicle has a battery pack that has a special warranty. Since these vehicles help reduce the amount of gasoline that is used in the world and lower emissions, the federal government requires manufacturers to offer an eight year or 100,000-mile warranty on these batteries. California has mandated a warranty on hybrid and EV batteries that is ten years or 150,000 miles! As of this writing, that mandate by the California Air Resources Board is active in California as well as Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Toyota has adopted that standard in al 50 states.
 
Some automakers will replace the battery pack if it degrades over time and falls below a 70 percent charging capacity. Plus, this battery warranty requirement covers such critical components as high voltage current converters, control modules, and the battery pack cooling system.
 
Car Warranty Coverage by Brand
Basic car warranty coverage is different for every brand of automobile and subject to change, but as you'll see from the list below, many follow industry standards for bumper-to-bumper, drivetrain, rust, and roadside assistance coverage. As of this writing in 2023, automakers that offer the best new car warranty coverage include Genesis, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi that give you five years or 60,000 miles of basic coverage and ten years or 100,000 miles of drivetrain coverage. Check manufacturer's websites for detail and updated information.
 
Acura - four years or 50,000 miles basic and six years or 70,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or 50,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Alfa Romeo - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is not available.
 
Audi - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
BMW - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
Buick - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and six years or 70,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Cadillac - four years or 50,000 miles basic and six years or 70,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or unlimited miles rust protection, and six years or 70,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Chevrolet - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Chrysler - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 100,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is ten years or 100,000 miles.
 
Dodge - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 100,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Fiat - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Ford - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Genesis - five years or 60,000 miles basic and ten years or 100,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, seven years or unlimited miles rust protection, and five years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is ten years or 100,000 miles.
 
GMC - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Honda - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Hyundai - five years or 60,000 miles basic and ten years or 100,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, seven years or unlimited miles rust protection, and five years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is ten years or 100,000 miles.
 
Infiniti - four years or 60,000 miles basic and six years or 70,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, seven years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Jaguar - five years or 60,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or unlimited miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Jeep - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is ten years or 100,000 miles.
 
Kia - five years or 60,000 miles basic and ten years or 100,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is ten years or 100,000 miles.
 
Land Rover - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or 50,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is six years or 60,000 miles.
 
Lexus - four years or 50,000 miles basic and six years or 70,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, six years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Lincoln - four years or 50,000 miles basic and six years or 70,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and unlimited roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Mazda - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Mercedes-Benz - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, four years or 50,000 miles rust protection, and four years or 50,000 of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
MINI - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Mitsubishi - five years or 60,000 miles basic and ten years or 100,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, seven years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or unlimited miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Nissan - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Porsche - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or 50,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
RAM - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and five years or 100,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Subaru - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Tesla - four years or 50,000 miles basic and eight years or unlimited miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles of rust protection, and four years or 50,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or unlimited miles.
 
Toyota - three years or 36,000 miles basic and five years or 60,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, five years or unlimited miles rust protection, and two years or 25,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Volkswagen - six years or 72,000 miles basic and six years or 72,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, seven years or 100,000 miles rust protection, and three years or 36,000 miles of roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Volvo - four years or 50,000 miles basic and four years or 50,000 miles powertrain coverage. Plus, twelve years or unlimited miles rust protection, and four years or unlimited roadside assistance. Hybrid/EV battery and components warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles.
 
Transferable Warranties
In the United States federal law dictates that a car's warranty is affixed to the automobile, tied to the vehicle identification number (VIN) and is transferable to successive owners until the warranty expires. New car warranties are valid for the entire term of the warranty, regardless of who owns the car. However, this is based on the vehicle's basic (bumper-to-bumper) warranty which sometimes covers fewer years or miles than the powertrain warranty.
 
For example, Hyundai's five years or 60,000 miles basic warranty is transferable to a new owner but its famous ten years or 100,000 miles powertrain warranty is not. If you are the second owner of a Hyundai, Genesis or Kia, the powertrain warranty will be swapped out for a shorter term five years or 60,000 miles warranty. Similarly, Lincoln's unlimited roadside assistance plan only applies to the original owner. Subsequent owners will have their roadside assistance coverage reduced to the remainder of the car's six years or 70,000 miles powertrain warranty.