Hidden Warranties

Eye glasses on a warranty

As a consumer, knowledge truly is power, and knowing about hidden warranties is consumer power that can save you money and a world of stress.

Do you have a problem with an electrical appliance or your car, but your warranty has run out? What if you found out that you might still be able to get parts and repairs for free? Well, if you read through the small print of your warranty booklet, you may discover that you have a hidden warranty guaranteeing you exactly that.

What are Hidden Warranties?

Also called a silent warranty, a hidden warranty is a warranty on a particular product that most consumers might not be aware of, because the manufacturer does not publicize it. There are different types of hidden warranties that you might not know of which may apply to a product you purchase. The most common hidden warranty, and one that is least taken advantage, of is provided with every new car.

Types of Hidden Warranties

Hidden Warranty on a New Car

When you purchase a new car, virtually every part on that car will typically be covered by a warranty. During the warranty period, any replacement parts and/or repairs that are required as a result of some malfunction will be provided at no charge to you. This warranty is typically limited to the first 36 months that you own the vehicle. After this period, you will have to foot the bill for any such expenses. A hidden warranty, however, typically extends beyond this limited warranty period.

Like most people, you may not realize that your car comes with a certain hidden warranty - the "emissions warranty." This is a warranty that covers particular components of your car for a five-year period. This coverage is mandated by the government for all new cars. It is intended to ensure that every car remains pollution-free for this period. The emissions warranty ensures that the car manufacturer bears the responsibility for ensuring that the emissions system on each car they produce remains in proper working order for this warranty period.

Check your warranty booklet and user manual to find out exactly which parts are covered on your "hidden" emissions warranty. These will typically include:

  • Catalytic converter (up to 80,000 miles)
  • Throttle control, exhaust and intake
  • Temperature, speed and oxygen sensors
  • Distributor and related components
  • Spark plugs and throttle body
  • PCV valve and vacuum hoses
  • Turbocharger and ignition coil
  • EGR system and fuel injection system,
  • The clamps and the tubing of the emissions system
  • The secondary ignition wires, valves and switches used for the emissions system.

Hidden Warranty Offered by Credit Card Issuer

Your credit card issuer may offer an extended warranty for products purchased using the card. This coverage may supplement other warranties which you might purchase. The hidden warranty might have to be requested before the purchase is made, so check with your credit card company before you the purchase the product or any extended warranties.

Hidden Warranty Offered by Organizations

Organizations such as the Automobile Association of America (AAA), offer their members warranties for any repair work that is provided by their approved auto repair centers. If you belong to this or a similar organization, check with them to find out what coverage, if any, that they offer so you can take advantage of it.

How to Take Advantage of a Hidden Warranty

  • Always read the fine print of your users manual and warranty booklet carefully. The time and mileage limits vary for different car parts and systems.
  • Store your warranty booklet in a safe place in the event that you need it.
  • Keep good records of any faults or problems you may experience.
  • Save copies of invoices and receipts for any work that is performed on your product. You will need this information if you need to apply for a reimbursement for repairs.

Read the Fine Print

The next time you make a major purchase, take the time to read through the fine print and arm yourself with knowledge of exactly what coverage any hidden warranty may offer.

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Hidden Warranties