Extended Warranties ≠ Original Warranties

It is said, for those would deceive, every lie contains a grain of truth. And so it goes with automobile warranties. When you buy a new car it has what is called the original new car limited warranty. With most cars it lasts for 3 years or 36,000 miles whichever comes first, and some luxury cars have original new car limited warranty coverage for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. The manufacturer may also provide a powertrain or an emissions warranty, sometimes both. Rarely is there such a thing as a bumper-to-bumper full warranty. These days most warranties are limited.

The California Lemon Law is based on the manufacturer’s warranty. It is not based in any way on any kind of extended warranty or service plan that you are encouraged to purchase separately. Extended warranties and service plans are by the simplest definition, insurance policies meant to cover vehicle repairs after the new car limited warranty, powertrain warranty or emissions warranty has expired. As with car insurance, there is usually a deductible of some amount.

Again, this so-called “extended” warranty does not extend the original new car limited warranty at all. In other words, it does not give you any additional Lemon Law protection. There are a few ways the original warranty can be officially extended. The “extended” warranty/ service plan is not one of them. Factually, it is an egregious deception for the manufacturer or dealership to suggest or imply that the insurance product they are selling you extends the original warranty. Remember, every lie contains a grain of truth.

There is a reason why we are pounding so intently on this drum. The key to determining whether a lemon law claim exists includes checking to see whether one or more of the defects occurred within the original new car limited warranty, powertrain warranty, or emissions warranty.

Hardly a week goes by that we do not receive a call wherein the consumer thinks his or her original warranty is extended by the service contract which they purchased. Quite rightly, they are angry and disappointed to discover that regarding the lemon law, the so-called “extended” warranty they thought they had, is of no use whatsoever.

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