Secret Car Warranties

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What if we told you there was a way to have the manufacturer pay for some of your expensive car repairs? They're called secret warranties, and while your car manufacturer may not tell you about them, we will.

You're driving down the Interstate and suddenly your car starts chugging and stalls. What's worse--- you're out of warranty. That's what happened to James Lampton. "I was getting on 95 and it just stalled and it won't start again." Does bad timing mean you're stuck paying for a pricey repair?

Not necessarily, but you may have to do some detective work. Each year carmakers uncover thousands of defects---anything from engine surges to faulty head gaskets. But there's no law that requires them to tell you the car owner anything about it.

And what you don't know could cost you. Just ask Gail Copeland. "Quite an expensive payment around a thousand dollars." Gail was lucky. Her mechanic noticed a pattern of similar problems on other cars like hers. Computer software that he uses alerted him to just how common the problem was, even though there was no formal recall. Using the year, make and model of the vehicle, you can look up any electrical problems or conditioning problems, and much more.

Armed with this information, Ford reimbursed Gail for the problem. There are a lot of repairs on vehicles made by consumers, for which they probably shouldn't have paid.

But there are ways to learn if problems with your car are covered by a secret warranty. When you go into secret categories, you have what's called technical service bulletins. Carmakers have to issue technical service bulletins to dealers when they spot a widespread problem. That information is also posted for you on the National Traffic Administration Website under service bulletin database.

Enter your car's year, make and model, and find money saving information at your fingertips. Experts say it's information the dealer will send out to repair shops, but they wont necessarily have a formal recall. For example, if you have a 1995 Ford Taurus, your head gasket could be bad. Ford extended the warranty to 100-thousansd miles and offers a free fix.

Even if you arent looking for a free fix...
It's important to see what quirks have been reported with cars like yours. and how the dealers are dealing with them.

Check out the following websites for more information:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site

Lemon Aid Cars web site