Warranties & Coverage
By Mike Roney
The majority of truck owners I've met have never received a full explanation regarding what is covered and what is not on their vehicle. I have known people who have been involved with vehicle warranties and coverages for years who still have trouble explaining it fully.
On this web page, I hope to provide you with useful information regarding new truck warranties, used truck coverages, a few recommendations, and some tips and tricks that will help you make informed decisions when it comes to securing your vehicle.
Understanding New Truck Warranties
Believe it or not, when buying a used truck, it helps to understand new truck warranties. You may be told that a truck has a 5 year, 500,000 mile warranty on the engine, but this is often a very incomplete statement as "remaining" warranties are never cut and dried.
Original Manufacturer Warranty - New trucks are covered under a manufacturer's warranty which is somewhat similar across brands for a particular class. The brand of truck, whether Freightliner, Peterbilt, Volvo, or Western Star, will have their own warranty that protects you from any build-out issues from the assembly line. This can change per manufacturer, but is typically going to be a one year or 100,000 mile warranty from the time you purchase the truck.
Component Warranty - Due to the highly competitive nature of the business, all warranties tend to have some twists when it comes to specific component coverage. This is not meant to trick buyers. Warranty providers are trying to cater to specific needs such as miles driven over time, or the amount of time a driver is on the road. Perhaps you want more coverage on a water pump or injectors. These component warranties are attached to the company that built the specific part such as the engine or transmission.
Used truck buyers should note that traditionally, the bulk of the items in a comprehensive five- year, 500,000 mile warranty cease to be covered around the three-year, 350,000 mile mark. As of late, however, many warranties are now sustaining a lot more comprehensive covered items to the five-year, 500,000 mile warranties and beyond. This is great news for the used truck buyer. When you're told that the engine in the used truck you've chosen has a five-year, 500,000 mile warranty, you need to ask for specifics. I recommend calling the engine company directly to determine the actual amount of remaining coverage. Generally, you will need the last eight digits of the VIN number or better yet, the engine serial number along with the current mileage. It's important to remember that it either time or miles (whichever comes first) on all warranties and coverages.
Used Truck Coverages
It's equally important to do your homework when deciding on used truck component coverage as it is with a new truck warranty. There are basically two coverages available for a used truck:
Manufacturer Coverage - This type of coverage through the manufacturer dictates that service be provided through an authorized dealership. The same applies to engine and transmission coverage purchased through the part's manufacturer. Freightliner's "Select Limited Warranty" is one at the top of my list of manufacturer coverage programs. The program includes Freightliner, Western Star and Sterling trucks. Although you must take it to the authorized dealer for repairs, I don't think you will find a bigger footprint in service around the country.
Third Party Coverage - There are several third party programs that offer component coverage. This type of coverage is available for all used trucks whether you purchase a used Kenworth truck, a used International Truck, a used Sterling Truck or a any other manufacturer. Generally, their programs mimic most manufacturer coverages, but you do not necessarily need to go to a dealership of your truck's make. However, they do require that you have your part serviced at that part manufacturer's authorized mechanic. I often recommend Premium 2000+™ as their prices are competitive and the service is great. From time to time, I will receive a letter stating that a customer of mine was in "this shop" with "this problem" and Premium 2000+™ paid the bill on this date and got my customer back on the road.
Don't wait until you're in the shop to understand what is covered on your new truck. It always seems that a service writer cannot tell you what is covered with your warranty or coverage, but they can tell you in a blink of an eye what it doesn't. While warranties and coverages can be confusing, taking time to understand your choices, selecting the right policy, and adhering to the maintenance guidelines can be the difference between footing the bill for a $15,000 overhaul, or only $300.00 on a co-pay. It is completely your responsibility to know what you have and adhere to the guidelines to ensure there are no surprises when you need a repair. If you have additional questions regarding warranties or coverages, give us a call (Toll Free) at 1-888-724-4163, and we'll be happy to share our knowledge.