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The Hidden Emissions Warranty

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On: Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 4:51PM | By: Peter C Sessler

The Hidden Emissions Warranty

Every car sold in U.S.A. comes with a well-known "bumper -to-bumper" warranty that covers practically every component of the car. The typical warranty these days for most American cars is 36 months/36,000 miles. Some offer even longer warranties, notably the high-line manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.

Not so well known is the emissions warranty, which covers certain components for 8 years/80,000 miles. This warranty, mandated by the government, is there to make sure that the pollution-related equipment lasts for at least the eight years so that the cars remain clean. Otherwise, the manufacturer is obliged to repair the parts or system for free. In other words, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure the emission system works.

Typically, the components covered are:

AIR system controlsCatalytic converter
Deceleration throttle controlDistributor and related components
Exhaust and intake manifoldsEGR system
Exhaust pipes up to the catalystFuel injection system
Ignition coilOxygen sensor
PCV valveSpeed sensors
Spark plugsTemperature sensors
Throttle bodyTurbocharger
Vacuum hoses, clamps, emissions systems tubingValves and switches used in emissions systems
Secondary ignition wires

Some of these parts are covered only to the first replacement interval (such as spark plugs), but some are covered for a longer period. The catalytic converter, by law, is now covered to 8 years/80,000 miles if it is 1996 or newer. Every new car comes with a booklet or it is stated in the owner's manual what is and isn't covered.

As you can see from the list, quite a bit of the car's electronics are covered. What constitutes an emissions-related problem? Basically, anything that makes the car run worse than it normally does. This can be an uneven idle, hesitation when cruising or accelerating, and even poor gas mileage. Sometimes bad gasoline or water in the gas may show the same symptoms so switch to a different brand of gasoline before you go to the dealer complaining. They'll tell you do that first anyway.

It's possible that when some of these components fail the dealer may refuse to repair or replace them. Perhaps they may be ignorant of the emission warranty. In such cases, just show them your warranty booklet. You can also call the manufacturer's customer service department if that doesn't get you anywhere.


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