What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty on a Car Mean?

A bumper-to-bumper warranty will cover just about any faults in your car, as long as they're not caused by lax or shoddy maintenance. It's preferred by many consumers because of the protection it offers against unexpected or expensive repairs. The warranty covers many repair issues that even a brand new vehicle may incur, such as a faulty transmission or a broken power window button. Vehicle bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage periods differ by manufacturer.

What Does a Bumper to Bumper Warranty Cover?

A bumper-to-bumper warranty covers just about any faulty or broken item within the vehicle that isn't the result of maintenance issues. You are responsible for changing your oil, replacing your tires once they are worn and replacing your brakes when it's time; all of these repairs are maintenance-related. Electronics and controls inside the vehicle are covered under the warranty. Any damage caused by neglect becomes your responsibility, such as a seized engine from lack of oil changes. Your insurance company covers body damage; your warranty does not.

Bumper to Bumper Coverage Time Frame

While bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage terms differ by manufacturer, a 36,000 mile or three-year coverage period exists as a minimum on most cars. This warranty is effective until you reach 36,000 miles on the odometer or reach the three-year mark, whichever comes first. Some manufacturers offer up to a four-year, 50,000 mile coverage period. Even if you purchase a used car, you can take advantage of any remaining bumper-to-bumper coverage, as the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper coverage remains with the car without regard for ownership changes.

What is an Extended Car Warranty?

You can extend your bumper-to-bumper coverage past the manufacturer's original warranty. If you are purchasing a brand new car, you can pay for the warranty at a discounted amount while the odometer miles are lowest. Otherwise, you can extend it later on while still under warranty. If you are purchasing a used car out of warranty, you will have an opportunity to extend the coverage at the time of purchase. You cannot purchase a manufacturer's extended bumper-to-bumper warranty once it is out of coverage unless you are becoming the new owner.

Restrictions on Choice of Dealership

If you need repairs that your bumper-to-bumper warranty covers, you must take your car to a same-make, new car dealership. You do not have to take the car to the dealership you purchased it from. In fact, if you purchased your vehicle privately, you can take it to any same-make dealer nationwide for repairs. If you purchase an extended warranty offered by the manufacturer, the same applies.