Is it Covered Under Warranty

Is my car problem covered under warranty is one of the common questions I receive here at the auto repair information blog. In most cases this is a question that I can only shed some light on because ultimately whether it is covered under warranty or not is unfortunately a question that the dealership has to answer.

crankshaft position sensor
crankshaft position sensor

As an example let’s say the crankshaft position Sensor has failed on your vehicle and it wouldn’t start. Parts and labor including towing would be covered under the base factory warranty. However, what if external damage is what caused the problem to the car part.

External damage is considered an accident and not covered under the base warranty. Example, the factory will not be responsible if the automobile fell into a sinkhole and this broke the crank sensor. It would be considered an accident. This means that it is really up to the dealership to determine what has caused the part to fail and whether it will be covered under warranty.

Although many dealerships are honest about this I have worked for a few that were not. I have seen service advisers more interested in how much money that particular customer has spent at the dealership in prior visits and use this to decide what failure code would be entered in the claim.

The vehicle manufacturer has to trust the dealership to some extent, because they cannot follow up on every single car problem from each individual customer. This trust does have its limits though. When a warranty problem is submitted to a car maker for reimbursement it contains several codes that help the manufacturer streamline the processing. This is somewhat like what goes on in a medical field.

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What is Factory Warranty Coverage

factory warranty coverage
My factory warranty coverage

A warranty is an agreement by the auto manufacturer to have its authorized dealers repair and/or replace certain car parts if they become defective. This agreement normally lasts until the vehicle has been driven a certain number of miles or a certain length of time (whichever comes first).

Just a few years ago the base warranty was most commonly 3 years 36,000 miles. However, increased competition and the different car-makers fighting for customers has increased the base warranty time on many models to five years and 50,000 miles or even 10 years and 100,000 miles. As a side effect this has made the extended car warranty harder to sell and cheaper to obtain.

In order for the manufacturer to honor the warranty or to cover the cost of parts and labor the failure must occur within the time and miles of the promised warranty. Often this is not cut and dry because manufacturers provide several levels of warranty coverage. The two most popular at the time of this writing would be the bumper-to-bumper warranty and the power train warranty.

Power train warranties usually last longer but cover less items whereas bumper-to-bumper coverage will last for shorter periods of time but cover many more items. To further complicate matters sometimes on these warranties the owners might be responsible for a partial payment known as a deductible. Then the manufacturer will kick in any money above this agreed-upon deductible this is not publicized on the commercials and ads like the length of coverage.

Things not Covered Under Factory Warranty

cadillac warranty manual
Cadillac warranty manual

This is where it gets tricky because a standard car warranty provided by the vehicle manufacturer will not cover many malfunctions. Some of the popular ways out would be to say that the failure is caused by an accident, misuse, poor maintenance or abuse or modifications made to the vehicle by the owner that voids the warranty.

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What is covered and what is not covered is outlined in your vehicle’s owner manual. You should always read this section of the manual to refresh your memory before you take your vehicle in for what you believe will be a covered warranty service.

Ultimately whether it is covered or not will be up to the dealership that performs the diagnosis and determines not only what the failure is, but the cause of that failure. A failed component due to no fault of the driver or owner should be covered under warranty. But the dealer will have to make that decision.

Is your car problem covered under warranty? You can run it by a dealership mechanic at Just to see what they think. For more of the latest posts this next link takes you back to the auto repair information blog homepage.