In the infancy of the automobile era, the early cars were crudely made machines of poor craftsmanship and mediocre materials. The invention of the Model T Ford, thanks to Henry Ford, changed the industry standards. It was the first car model for sale to the public, clocking in at 27 mph. At this time, Ford improved the assembly lines and supply chains.
With standards set in place, car buyers of yesteryears could finally enjoy consistent quality with a definable assurance. Today, Endurance warranty reviews attest that this practice from the olden times remains in place since modern car protection plans offer car owners extensive coverage in case of mechanical issues and performance problems. If you’re curious how this practice came about, read this brief history of automobile warranties.
The Earliest Guarantee Available to Car Owners
As noted above, Ford provided the earliest everyday guarantee in 1925. This car buyer guarantee stated ninety days on cloth and thirty days on labor. No guarantee in any way on fan belts, bulbs, glass, transmission bands, wiring, hose connections, rollers, spark plugs, commutator shells, or gaskets.
This minimal guarantee outlived Ford and morphed into the standard practice around the 1950s. Notably, the list of gadgets that wear out became shorter, and car manufacturers saw the need to also enforce a mileage restriction. At that time, this was set to 4,000 miles or 6,400 km.
In the 1960s, imported vehicles from Japan and Europe started to arrive. At this stage, the car industry has begun to resemble the robust market people see today. The competition prompted the car producers in Detroit to launch their all-new compact cars like the Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon, and Plymouth Valiant.
There were also protections enforced for factory coin rebates. Moreover, one of the longest assurances for the market was released by Ford. It was a comprehensive 1-12 months/1-2,000-mile new car policy. Eventually, it was overshadowed by Lincoln Continental’s 1961 2-year/24,000-mile insurance.
Warranties Used as an Ad to Entice Buyers
Eventually, warranties emerged as a form of advertisement to get people to buy vehicles. For instance, in the early 1960s, Chrysler tried to offset poor decisions and sales with 365 days or 12,000 miles warranty to show that they trusted their products.
By the middle of the decade, the big three manufacturers lengthened their powertrain assurance to five years or 50,000 miles or 80,000 km. However, these longer warranties cost a lot of money since the cars built then were not as well-built as today’s modern machinery. So, by the 70s, manufacturers reverted to a 12-month warranty as claims and assurance management became too costly.
The Public Is Frustrated with Frequent Issues
Although AMC doubled their bumper-to-bumper protection for two years and improved the buyer protection plan on parts like brakes and clutches, it didn’t last long. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission had to investigate due to the growing list of customer court cases against car manufacturers.
For example, Chevy had a terrible reputation because their new cars died shortly after leaving the dealership. Car buyers were frustrated with frequent electric problems and stalling issues. The consumers were disappointed that carmakers did not craft vehicles to an acceptable standard. Vehicle manufacturers and dealerships selling the cars did not complete promised repairs. To make things worse, their cars needed to be serviced more often than was deemed acceptable or reasonable due to poor standards.
As a result, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 was enforced. It promoted the inclusion of disclosure requirements on malfunctions and defects. The commission also addressed disclaimers written deceptively on warranties. This inspired similar legislation in other countries to protect consumers, such as in Canada, where a similar consumer protection act is still enforced. Consumers have a right to expect a car that’s free of faults for the reasonable lifespan of the parts.
Longer Warranties Eventually Emerged
In the 1980s, Chrysler unveiled their five-year/80,000 km powertrain warranty to instill buyer confidence. Japanese brands answered by improving their coverage. Subaru, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan had a three-year/60,000 km warranty and a five-year /100,000 km powertrain warranty.
In turn, this forced the factories in Detroit to level up their coverage. Ford came up with a 6-year/100,000 km warranty on powertrains, while Chrysler came up with an up to seven years/150,000 powertrain warranty, depending on the model.
Today, the automotive industry generally uses the three-year/60,000 km comprehensive warranty. However, some brands have expanded this, especially the luxury vehicles that have extended it to four or even five years with an 80,000 km coverage. Examples of this are the Jaguar, Volvo, Acura, etc. Good warranties are essential because more buyers are receptive to brands with good warranties. More showroom deals are made in dealerships that provide car warranties that people can count on.
Apprehensions Regarding Car Warranties Today
Despite the availability of a comprehensive factory manufacturer’s warranty for almost all new cars, some people still can’t help but show disappointment. The new warranties look really good on paper, but they fail consumers in many ways.
For instance, since dealers are not appropriately compensated for diagnosing car issues by the manufacturers, the consumers feel the burden since they’re given the runaround. Sadly, warranty work is not a top priority since dealers are paid less for any claims, and in some cases, not paid on time.
For others, minor repair work could be delayed, waiting for the warranty to expire. Only when this happens do the dealer mechanics diagnose the actual problem. This generally occurs for transmission or engine repair work where car owners have to wait for so long to get served.
Moreover, warranty claims can also be denied or declined if there is any missing scheduled maintenance work or records are incomplete. For example, even if the engine failure is not the direct result of a missed oil change, dealer after-sales services could refuse repairs. In other cases, fluids and other parts could be replaced even if they’re not due for changes, with the cost suddenly charged to consumers.
But despite these pitfalls, consumers today still benefit from warranties compared to the first automobile owners in the olden days. As a car owner, you must exercise due diligence and read the fine print of any car protection plan to ensure you don’t get disappointed. This is the only way you’ll get peace of mind as a vehicle owner.