Buying a new car entails more than just the sticker price, as even new motorists can tell you. In addition to taking on a monthly payment for your auto loan, you'll have to pay for annual registration fees, as well as auto insurance. If you happen to live in Virginia or New Hampshire, you can legally get away with no insurance, but you'll have to pay a fee to forego insurance in Virginia (which infers none of the benefits of insurance), and New Hampshire residents without insurance are held responsible for up to $75,000 in damages in the event of an accident.
The point is, cars will cost you, and the last thing you want to do is shell out more money for potentially costly repairs. The good news is, new cars and many certified pre-owned vehicles come with some form of warranty. While there are various types of vehicle warranties, the two popular types are: powertrain and bumper-to-bumper.
Both cover a slew of parts, but which one is better? Here are a few key differences about which you should be aware.
The powertrain essentially includes everything involved in propelling your car, and a powertrain warranty covers these essential parts. This naturally includes the engine and transmission, but often, the powertrain warranty also covers the parts involved in transferring torque, or rotational force, to the wheels, such as the drive shaft, differentials, and front and rear axles. Other parts, like the transfer case found on 4WD and AWD vehicles, may also be included in this warranty.
So, what isn't covered? Everything else, along with "wear items," or engine parts that are known to wear and require repair or replacement more frequently than the engine at large. Items often excluded from the powertrain warranty are the battery, the clutch, engine fluids, and more, so don't think your tune up at Jiffy Lube will be covered by your warranty.
The bumper-to-bumper warranty is so called because it virtually covers everything between the front and the rear bumper. Funny enough, this warranty typically excludes the bumpers themselves. In addition to covering powertrain components, you'll enjoy coverage for electrical components, the vehicle's suspension, and sundry items like your stereo system and AC components, for example. There is also a list of exclusions, including most interior parts and windows, among other things.
Which is Better?
You might think the bumper-to-bumper is the obvious way to go when it comes to warranties, but don't be too quick to assume. Sure, it covers more parts, but a powertrain warranty tends to last longer and still cover the most expensive (and essential) parts, so it's definitely worth considering, if you have a choice.