The phrase “bumper-to-bumper” is thrown around in the automotive industry and can be misleading.

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When you purchase a new car from a dealer, it’s likely that the sales representative will encourage you to invest in an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty for your vehicle. What does it mean, and what’s the difference between a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty? What does each cover? 

To make a smart decision for your car’s extended warranty, you need to understand what a bumper-to-bumper warranty is and what it covers. Keep in mind that you can purchase extended warranties of all types and term lengths from third-party companies. We’ve researched some of the best extended warranty providers and recommend looking into their bumper-to-bumper warranty options.

 

In this article:

What Is A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?

When you purchase a new car, regardless of the manufacturer, it will come with one or more warranties. These warranties, otherwise known as factory warranties, usually include a bumper-to-bumper warranty, a powertrain warranty, and a corrosion/rust warranty, among other types. You’ll sometimes see bumper-to-bumper coverage called the “new vehicle limited warranty.”

The bumper-to-bumper warranty is the biggest piece of a new car’s warranty package, so to speak, as it includes what is often referenced as comprehensive coverage for all parts and systems of the vehicle. 

As the name indicates, a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers almost everything between a vehicle’s front and rear bumpers. Exceptions include specific wear items such as tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers, and routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.

How Long Does A Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Last? 

In the past, the standard bumper-to-bumper warranties for the majority of new vehicles remained active for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever came first. While you’d be hard pressed to find a factory warranty term length fall below this today, many automakers have increased their new car coverage terms to five or six years as a selling point.

The length of a new car’s bumper-to-bumper warranty can be loosely associated with the manufacturer’s reliability ratings. This makes sense, as the more reliable the vehicle, the more willing the manufacturer will be to stand behind the product for lengthy amounts of time. 

Here are the new car bumper-to-bumper warranty term lengths for some of the most popular manufacturers:

Brand Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

Honda

3 years / 36,000 miles

Ford

3 years / 36,000 miles

Toyota

3 years / 36,000 miles

Nissan

3 years / 36,000 miles

Chevrolet

3 years / 36,000 miles

BMW

4 years / 50,000 miles

Land Rover

4 years / 50,000 miles

Hyundai

5 years / 60,000 miles

Kia 

5 years / 60,000 miles

 

What An Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Does And Doesn’t Cover

The term bumper-to-bumper indicates full coverage, but not all of the car’s parts are protected, whether it’s a factory warranty or an extended warranty. When shopping around, it’s important to take a look at the specifics of the warranty offered by manufacturers. Be sure to examine term lengths, fine print, and details about payment structure.

It’s important to note that several areas aren’t protected by most factory bumper-to-bumper warranties, which means you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for these repairs. Here are the components and services that usually aren’t included in an extended bumper-to-bumper car warranty:

  • Windshield
  • Brake pads
  • Tires
  • Body panels
  • Interior trims
  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Paint
  • Routine maintenance
  • Accidental or collision damage

Powertrain Vs Bumper-To-Bumper Warranties

There isn’t a quick or easy way to divulge all the details about car warranties, extended warranties, and the different types available on the market. However, it’s important that shoppers be able to distinguish the two most common extended warranty types: powertrain and bumper-to-bumper.

In a new car’s factory warranty coverage, the powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties work together to protect the vehicle. A powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and drivetrain, whereas a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers things located between the front and rear bumpers. 

A factory bumper-to-bumper warranty typically expires much sooner than the powertrain warranty. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties last three years, whereas powertrain warranties can last anywhere from four to ten years.

So, where does an extended car warranty fit into this picture? They mimic the coverage of factory powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties and kick in once these warranties expire.

Why Purchase A Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty?

Since a car new automatically comes with coverage, it may seem odd that a dealer would bring up the topic of a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty before you even have a chance to sign papers for the new car. You may wonder, are extended warranties worth it?

It’s smart timing, however, as extended coverage can be appealing to if you prefer to maintain peace of mind when it comes to your finances. One of the greatest benefits of investing in an extended warranty for your car is the feeling of security you’ll experience. Depending on your vehicle’s reliability, which can be checked on sites like J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and RepairPal, an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty may be more or less appealing.

Many extended warranties also come with benefits that add to their appeal, such as 24/7 roadside assistance, reduced cost car rentals, towing discounts, and more. If your vehicle’s make and model has been known to require costly fixes as it ages, an extended car warranty will lessen the financial blow of hefty repairs.

However, dealerships aren’t the only vendor for these warranties, as extended warranties fall into two categories: those sold by manufacturers and those sold by independent, third-party, aftermarket companies. 

Where Should I Buy My Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?

There are pros and cons of every extended warranty provider, but when it comes down to it, we think the coverage provided by third-party extended warranty companies can be more affordable and flexible.

Third-party extended warranty costs don’t have the marked-up price the dealership options may have, and you should have more room to negotiate your price. Also, extended warranties from the dealership have the potential to be wrapped into the auto loan for your new car, which means you’ll be paying interest on it. 

When we say third-party extended warranties are more flexible, we mean in both coverage and eligibility. 

Endurance, for example, has five tiers of coverage ranging from bumper-to-bumper to powertrain protection. Within each tier, there are several contract options that are customizable to your vehicle. Many other extended warranty companies have similar options. 

Some dealerships do have multiple levels of extended protection, but not many. You’ll likely choose from one or two plans and only customize your terms.

Most cars are eligible for an extended warranty through a third-party provider. In general, these companies protect new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, even if your car is well over 100,000 miles.

Oftentimes at the dealership, you can only purchase an extended warranty if the car is still under its bumper-to-bumper warranty. Like we explained, this may only last your first three years of ownership.

What’s The Best Third-Party Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty? 

We researched the most reputable extended warranty companies and came up with several providers we’d recommend, including EnduranceCARCHEXCarShield, and autopom!. All of these companies offer some sort of bumper-to-bumper warranty.

To determine your best option, take a look at their sample contracts and compare quotes. We’ve already done some of the work for you in our best extended warranty company review, comparing these providers’ coverage, cost, customer service, and other key factors.

Use the tool below to get free quotes from our top three picks:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bumper-to-bumper warranty?

A bumper-to-bumper warranty provides coverage for a long list of vehicle components. As the name implies, it generally covers parts located between the vehicle’s front bumper and rear bumper, but it does have exclusions.

What does a bumper-to-bumper warranty cover? What does it not cover?

A bumper-to-bumper warranty covers the entire fuel system, electrical parts and components, safety equipment and instruments like airbags, and high-tech features or navigation systems. 

It does not cover parts of the vehicle that wear and tear with time, such as brakes, brake pads, windshield wipers, tires, sometimes seatbelts, and other components. It does not cover routine maintenance tasks like oil changes and tire rotations. Parts damaged by you, an accident, or improper maintenance are also not covered.

How much does a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty cost?

The cost for a bumper-to-bumper warranty varies. Coverage from dealerships can be more costly due to the fact that it may be rolled into your vehicle payment plan and accrue interest. Third-party extended warranty costs will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, your driving history, and other factors. 

What’s the difference between a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty?

A powertrain warranty covers the vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain, and it typically lasts longer than a bumper-to-bumper warranty. 

Is it worth it to purchase a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty?

If you want to avoid unexpected expensive repairs, a bumper-to-bumper warranty can protect you financially and provide you with peace of mind that you’ll be taken care of. Vehicle service contracts also usually include added benefits such as roadside assistance, towing, and rental car assistance.

Read our guides to other warranty providers: