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A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Isn't a Magical Tool That Covers Everything

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, YouTube subscribers and Oversteer readers, I'm here to tell you something important about my Aston Martin's famous bumper-to-bumper warranty: It is not a magic warranty that covers everything the car could possibly encounter. Like all bumper-to-bumper warranties, it has limits. Many of them.

I mention this because I get the sense that some of you people believe that if I'm eating a hamburger in my car and the meat slides off the bread, I could call Aston Martin and get a free replacement hamburger. This is not the case. And this doesn't just apply to my bumper-to-bumper warranty but rather to all bumper-to-bumper warranties everywhere, throughout bumper-to-bumper warranty history. And today I'm going to explain why.

First, here's a little background on the phrase "bumper-to-bumper." This is an automotive industry term that's used to describe a comprehensive warranty that covers more than just the powertrain. Basically, in car world, you have a powertrain warranty, which covers the powertrain, and a comprehensive warranty, which covers everything else. Mostly everything else.

I say "mostly" everything else because there are many, many items that exist on a car but are excluded from a bumper-to-bumper warranty's coverage. I'm going to go into detail on these items now, and then I'm going to trot out this column every single time anyone ever says, "But you don't have to worry about getting a flat tire because it's covered under the bumper-to-bumper warranty!" The items that aren't covered include the following.

Body Panels, Interior Trims and Glass

I can't tell you how many times I've posted a photo of my car in some precarious position, such as along some scary dirt road or in a parking space where another car has tightly parked next to me, and I've received comments that mention how I shouldn't worry about the car getting damaged because it's covered by my bumper-to-bumper warranty.

No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

A bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover damage to a vehicle's exterior. That's what an insurance policy is for. If I walk out to my car in a parking lot and discover that a Nissan Armada has accidentally crushed my entire driver's side because, "Oops, I didn't see ya there," I do not call Aston Martin. The warranty does not cover this. I call my insurance company, and then they total my car, because its present value is an infinitesimally small fraction of its original cost.

Brakes and Tires

Here's another warranty fact. A bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover brakes or tires. Repeat after me, like you're the president getting sworn in at the inauguration: A. Bumper-to-bumper warranty. Does not cover. Brakes or tires.

When I brought my Aston Martin on a road trip to Maine, I got a nail in the tire. This prompted dozens of replies from dozens of people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, all of whom were convinced that I shouldn't worry because I had my bumper-to-bumper warranty.

No. No, no, no, no, no, no.

A bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover tires. It does not cover brake pads. It does not cover brake rotors. It does not cover brakes in any fashion or form. These items are designed to wear, so a warranty company that offered to cover them would be an insane warranty company, such as if you offered a warranty on tissues that offered a free replacement box of tissues if you used the first one up. Well, of course you're going to use the first one up -- that's why you bought tissues in the first place. And it's the same story with brakes and tires.

Other Wear Items

Along the same lines as brakes and tires, it's important to note that other wear items are also excluded from my bumper-to-bumper warranty and from any bumper-to-bumper warranty. Such items include headlights, the clutch, the brake lights and the turn signals. Some warranties also exclude certain hoses and wearable suspension components. Don't forget: These are items that were designed to wear. Think about my brilliant tissue-box analogy before assuming it's covered under warranty.

And so, bumper-to-bumper warranty appreciators, you now have a slightly better grasp on the ins and outs of my bumper-to-bumper warranty -- and all bumper-to-bumper warranties. I hope this information is highly useful, and most importantly, I hope you stop telling me to get my brake pads replaced under warranty.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
I Drove My Aston Martin as Fast as I Could on the Bonneville Salt Flats
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The Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG Was the Rare V8-Powered Minivan of Our Dreams

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Isn't a Magical Tool That Covers Everything - Autotrader