It's so easy to get lost and be overwhelmed by the variety of warranties offered by many a-dealership. Car warranty is a promise made by the car manufacturer or dealer to cover repairs and defect at no cost to the customer. Every warranty depends on the dealership and vehicle you are purchasing with the most basic manufacturer's warranty starting at three years or 60,000 kilometers. But how does a newbie car owner pick the right deal? And when do you actually can take advantage of this warranty when your car starts squeaking and wobbling? Here we asked motoring journalist and CNN Philippines's Drive host James Deakin on making sense of car warranties, drivetrain, and the Philippine Lemon Law.
Before buying a car, what should a newbie must know about car warranties?
That there are terms and conditions attached to it. For example, you must have your car serviced at an authorized dealership and on or before the manufacturer’s scheduled intervals. Also, many consumable items are not covered by warranty, like brake pads, bulbs and tires, and the after market installation of such can potentially void your warranty.
What terms should we know like what does years/kilometers mean? What is extended warranty? Should we avail of that?
Years and kilometers simply mean whichever comes first. If you are a low mileage type of owner, for example, it may take you two years to reach your first service, by which time your engine oil, fluids and filters may have already gone way past their use by dates. This is why they say 6 months or 5,000 kilometers.
Extended warranties give piece of mind but are usually only limited to the powertain or drivetrain (engine and transmission) and not the bumper-to-bumper warranty that you get from a factory new car warranty. So if your power windows break or you have suspension failure, it may not be covered. Plus you commit yourself to casa servicing during the duration of the warranty period, which is usually more expensive than an independent shop.
What is not included in the manufacturer's warranty? Do all car dealers adhere to the same rules as to what should be and not be included in the warranty?
Consumables like brake pads, bulbs, filters, and tires. All reputable brands adhere to a minimum standard, but check to see the availability of parts by asking friends who own that brand their experience. For example, there was a new brand that launched a few years back that offered an outstanding five-year warranty. But when people went to claim, it took one year to bring the parts in. Technically the customer wasn’t denied, but the user experience was as if he had been.
The Philippine's Lemon Law in a nutshell. Are new car owners the only ones who can benefit from it?
In theory, the Lemon Law was enacted to prevent buyers ending up with the automotive equivalent of the runt of the litter. In reality, the implementing rules and regulations made it far too complicated to get any real world gains. So sadly, in my experience, it hasn’t really given the consumer any added protection. And yes, it is only for new car buyers.
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