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Car Warranties Not All Created Equal

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What are the types of warranties that you can get on a car and should you pay extra for one?

Whether you are leasing or buying, whether it’s a new car or a used car, the discussion of warranties can be maddening if you don’t understand what’s being offered.

Most new cars come with two types of warranties: a bumper to bumper general warranty, typically for 3 years, 36,000 miles, which covers all parts and labor but not general maintenance, and a power train warranty. A power train warranty covers the parts of the car that provide power and make it move: the engine, the transmission, and the drive train.

That means the stuff that usually breaks down isn’t covered: the brakes, the lights, and the tires for example. Also, the usual cost of maintenance is usually not covered.

In addition, you may be offered to purchase an extended warranty because of course the car will only break down AFTER the regular warranties are up. But extended warranties vary, some cover only the engine and transmission and have a deductible, others don’t.

So ask the salesman for a discussion in plain English of what you are really buying. It’s hard to get a straight answer from a car dealer but it’s easier to get an answer before you plunk down your money than after you have to pay to fix what you thought was covered.

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