Know Your Vehicle’s Warranty, or it Could Cost You!

A vehicle warranty is a wonderful thing. They cover a host of things on a complicated machine should it break due to a manufacturing defect. It’s one of the reasons we bought our daughter a year old car before she went off to college. But not knowing exactly what is covered by a warranty can cost you. That lack of knowledge almost cost me over a $100.

A Broken Down Car

The text message from my daughter was a picture of her dashboard with the battery light on. I immediately called her and found out her car would not start. Temps had dipped into the teens that week, but a car less than two years old shouldn’t have had trouble starting. I attempted to walk her and a friend through jump starting the car, but they couldn’t seem to get the clamps on quite right. The car just wouldn’t start.

My initial thought was to call a tow truck to jump her car, but then she would have to deal with trying to figure out why the car wouldn’t start or potentially have it happen again. I drove the 40 miles to where she goes to college, and got the car started. My plan was simply to buy and install a new battery, but her car has the battery hidden under other engine parts. Instead I drove it to the dealership to have them do it.

The dealership offered to test to see if the battery was just worn down from a series of small in-town trips or if it was bad. The battery tested bad, and to my surprise they replaced it for free because the battery was covered under the 3 year 36,000 mile manufacturer’s warranty.

Is the Vehicle Under Warranty?

First, know whether a car is under warranty or not. In my case, I knew my daughter’s car was under warranty by either the manufacturer’s warranty OR the extended warranty we purchased.

What’s Covered?

Knowing what is covered, and what is not can help you decide how to proceed in the event the car breaks down. Had the manufacturer’s warranty on my daughter’s car expired the battery replacement would have been considered normal wear and tear. Installing a new battery would have cost me in excess of $100. But the battery is covered under the manufacturer’s 3 year or 36,000 mile warranty. I wasn’t aware of this, and just by the luck of having brought the vehicle to the dealership was this discovered. Have your warranty documentation, or if you have questions call the manufacturer.

Servicing the Vehicle

A vehicle warranty usually requires it to be serviced at an authorized location. Failure to do so may result in your repair not being covered. Refer to your documentation, or call the warranty provider to determine where to have your vehicle served.

I was in such a rush to help my daughter with her battery issue that I didn’t fully think through the warranty implications. It all happened to work out OK, but it could have just as easily ended up with me replacing the battery to the tune of $100 or more. When dealing with your car, know whether your car’s under warranty, what’s covered, and how you’re expected to service your vehicle. Otherwise, you may end up paying for something you shouldn’t have to.

How about you, EOD Nation, do you have an automobile warranty story to share?

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