Here are some common terms you will need to know as you research extended warranties.
The company that authorizes and pays the repair facility for repair work to your vehicle. The administrator works with the repair facility to make sure your claim is handled properly. As they are the company that pays your claim, their financial strength is the most important factor in choosing a warranty company.
All Wheel Drive (AWD)
All four wheels are driven by the engine. AWD systems are superior to 4WD because they can be used under any road conditions. AWD systems use a center differential to allow the front and rear wheels to rotate at different speeds. AWD provides better traction than front or rear-wheel drive.
See Extended warranty.
The specific terms established by each manufacturer to repair vehicles through a specified mileage and/or time period. All factory installed and many dealer installed parts are covered under this warranty.
Better Business Bureau (BBB):
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has long been a means consumers have used to check out a company. In order to participate in the BBB Online Reliability Program, a company must have a satisfactory complaint handling record, agree to participate in the BBB's advertising self-regulation program, agree to abide by the BBB Code of Online Business Practices, and agree to dispute resolution with the BBB. Most of the companies who participate in this program value their standing in the BBB, and tend to do a better job at handling complaints
The most comprehensive warranty you can buy. It will cover all parts of your vehicle and will only exclude a small list. Because the coverage is so comprehensive, it will only list the few parts not covered. Most similar to the manufacturer's warranty.
Many cars sold used or off lease are certified by the manufacturer. This means they have undergone a quality inspection process prior to sale. Often, a limited powertrain warranty is attached to them. Most do not have extended or bumper-to-bumper warranties. There is no industry standard for certification.
Claims Reserve Accounts:
An insured account that the administrator will maintain to pay future claims.
Parts such as tires, batteries, clutch plates and wiper blades that are generally not covered under any warranty.
Covers rust through perforation on sheet metal. Offered as original warranty on new vehicles. Extended warranties do not cover corrosion.
The amount that you must pay the repair facility for work when vehicle is being repaired. Many plans are offered with a zero deductible option.
The components that transmit the flow of power from the engine to the wheels. The components include the clutch, transmission, driveshafts (or axle shafts in front wheel drive), U-joints and differential.
See powertrain warranty.
ECU: Electronic control unit.
The heart of the engine management system of a modern car. Regulates fuel delivery, ignition timing, engine idle speed and on some vehicles the transmission shift points.
The Federal Emissions Warranty guidelines are based on federal regulations and apply to vehicles in all 50 states. Vehicles are covered by two types of emissions control system warranty, "Emission Defect Warranty" and "Emissions Performance Warranty". Depending on the state you live in, the Performance Warranty is for 3 years/50,000 miles.
The Defect Warranty is generally consistent with the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty with certain parts (catalytic converter and electronic emissions controls (PCM) for up to 8 years/80,000 miles. Please refer to your owner's manual for your exact coverage.
A contract which protects the car owner against mechanical failures and breakdowns. Extended warranties are often referred to as Vehicle Service Contracts. The warranty will pay for covered repairs after the manufacturer's warranty has expired.
The most comprehensive extended warranty available. It is typically referred to as a "bumper to bumper" policy. This particular policy lists components of your vehicle that are not covered under the warranty. If a part or component is not listed, then it is covered under an exclusionary policy. Most similar to new car warranty.
Gray Market Vehicle:
A vehicle not manufactured for sale in the U.S. They often do not meet U.S. standards and carry no manufacturer warranty. These vehicles are typically ineligible for extended warranties.
A policy that lists the components and parts that are covered by the extended warranty. If the component or part is not listed, then it is not covered.
The date the Vehicle was purchased by the original owner and driven or the date the Vehicle was placed in use for rental, demonstration or other purposes.
The general definition of a Lemon Law vehicle: A vehicle with (a) major, repeated problem(s) that has been repurchased by, or had its purchase price renegotiated with, the manufacturer. The state then earmarks these as Lemon Law or Buyback vehicles. These vehicles are ineligible for coverage.
This is the normal, routine maintenance that is recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle to keep the vehicle in optimum condition. These include such things as oil changes, tune-ups, checking fluid levels, tire rotations, wheel alignments, belts, hoses and others as described in your owner's manual.
This is the standard warranty that every new vehicle sold comes with. All factory-installed parts are covered against defects. Typical manufacturer warranties are 3 years or 36,000 miles or 4 years or 50,000 miles. Check your manufacturer's warranty manual for warranty information or visit our Manufacturer's Warranty page.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI):
A policy, contract, or agreement that undertakes to perform or provide repair or replacement service, or indemnification for that service, for the operational failure of a motor vehicle due to a defect in materials or skill of work or normal wear and tear, and that is issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in California.
Power Train Warranty:
A limited warranty from the manufacturer that covers certain parts of your vehicle's engine, transmission and drive train assembly. If any of these components fail while the vehicle is covered under the powertrain warranty, the manufacturer is responsible for the repair. These warranties cover only about 25% of the vehicle.
See salvage title.
When a manufacturer recalls vehicles it has manufactured back to the dealership for specific repairs related to unplanned mechanical problems and/or safety issues. Recalls are usually voluntary and are made in conjunction with regulatory control of the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA). They can originate with the manufacturer or with the NHTSA. Repairs performed under a recall are usually free to the consumer.
An authorized licensed repair facility located in the United States or Canada. This includes your dealership, local mechanic or national repair facilities.
The amount you will be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred for substitute transportation while your vehicle is being repaired.
A program that provides you with a toll-free telephone number to call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This is for assistance when your vehicle breaks down or when there is a vehicle emergency (towing, battery assistance, flat tire assistance, emergency lock out, or fuel, oil, fluid and water delivery)
A title issued on a vehicle where an insurance company has declared the vehicle a total loss. These vehicles were typically involved in a flood or severe accident. These vehicles are not eligible for extended warranties.
Technical Service Bulletin: TSB
This bulletin is produced by the vehicle manufacturer and alerts automotive technicians about specific service problem areas, repair procedures, and new service techniques for a vehicle. Thousands of these are issued each year.
A vehicle having an extended warranty can have the warranty transferred to the new owner of the vehicle if the vehicle is sold privately for a modest fee. An extended warranty can not be transferred to a dealer.
Travel Interruption Benefit:
In the event of your vehicle not being operable and caused a delay en route and you are more than 100 miles from your home, this is the amount you will be reimbursed per day for restaurants and lodging.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):
Your VIN is located in several areas and is a unique 17-digit identifier of your vehicle. The most common are:
Wear and tear warranties provide a broader contractual definition of what will be covered.
Some service contracts exclude repairs needed due to "wear and tear" However, a large number of car repairs are needed because a part wears out from a long period of use or improper maintenance, not because it was poorly built.
The more miles on a car when a repair becomes necessary, the more likely it is that the repair will be needed because a part wore out, rather than because the part broke due to poor manufacturing. Again, some service contracts do not cover parts that wear out.
Most service contracts and policies define "mechanical breakdown" as a defect in parts and workmanship as supplied by the manufacturer, or a defect that makes the part unable to perform the function for which it was designed. Service contracts that exclude wear and tear will not cover repairs needed because a part's performance has gradually deteriorated because of normal wear and tear, unless a mechanical breakdown has occurred.
Before buying a service contract, you should carefully review what is covered and not covered to see whether wear and tear claims are excluded from coverage. If they are, you might want to consider buying a service contract that does not exclude wear and tear claims. That way, if it is not clear whether a repair is needed due to a manufacturing defect or simple wear and tear, it is more likely that the service contract company will pay for the repair. It is a mistake to assume that a repair agreement will cover every repair your car may need.
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