Secret Car Warranties Shared: Tip-of-the-Day #188


Didja know that unlike popular belief, car warranties are not just for new vehicles and are not always in writing? If you take the time to find out what warranties come with your car, what repairs those warranties cover, and how to enforce your warranties, you may save yourself a significant amount of money when your car needs repair.

Here's the catch: not all dealers/manufacturers/purveyors of automobiles are forthcoming with the scoop. Many automobile manufacturers have “secret warranty” or “warranty adjustment” programs. Under these programs, the manufacturer will do free repairs on vehicles with persistent problems, even after the warranty expires, in order to avoid a recall and bad press - but they won't tell you about it until you COMPLAIN! According to the Center for Auto Safety (, at any given time there are approximately 500 secret warranty programs available through automobile manufacturers.

Manufacturers don’t advertise these programs, so a car owner often won’t know about the available relief unless he or she demands that the manufacturer repair a problem after the original warranty has expired. In a few states, including California, Connecticut, Virginia, and Wisconsin, manufacturers are required to tell eligible consumers about secret warranty programs - usually within 90 days of adopting the program.

What does this mean for you? Well, you can either buy your next car in one of the aforementioned states OR be hypervigilant about ferreting out the details of your warranty when an issue arises. It's worth it!

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