Automotive Warranties By the Numbers – 2018 Edition

It’s been a couple of years since we took a comprehensive look at the warranty terms offered by auto manufacturers in Canada. In that time, we’ve seen the arrival of new models, the departure of others, while some brands were downsized or retired completely (requiescat in pace, Scion). What hasn’t changed are the new vehicle warranty terms – these have held consistent across the board.

So what’s changed? Some manufacturers have revised their policy on rust perforation, commonly called “rust-through” (and coverage may vary based on where the rust occurs). Others have tweaked their roadside assistance terms. All the changes are highlighted below in bold.

Please note that this is a survey of warranty terms for model year 2018 vehicles. Different terms may apply if your vehicle is from an earlier model year.

Overall changes for 2018: Alfa Romeo added; Scion removed; entries specific to Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Lancer removed.

Basic Complete Vehicle

Also called “bumper-to-bumper” or “new vehicle limited warranty”, this covers any defects in manufacturing or workmanship in your car (with certain exceptions that you’ll find in your warranty booklet).

With a few standouts, you can generally expect mainstream brands to offer 3-year/60,000 km coverage (whichever comes first); for luxury brands, 4-year/80,000 km is the standard.

No changes for have been observed for 2018.

Basic Complete Vehicle Warranty Terms
Manufacturer Duration Distance
Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Dodge (SRT), Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota 3 years 60,000 km
Mazda 3 years unlimited
Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Smart, Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo 4 years 80,000 km
Infiniti 4 years 100,000 km
Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi 5 years 100,000 km

Powertrain

The powertrain warranty covers everything that makes your car “go”, such as the engine, transmission, and differential, with certain exceptions, such as “wear items” – like the 12V “starter” battery, the clutch, and drive belt – which have their own replacement intervals.

Most luxury manufacturers make no special provisions for the powertrain components; they are covered under the same terms as the basic warranty – 4-year/80,000 km. Most mainstream manufacturers offer 5-year/100,000 km. The outlier here is Mitsubishi, with its 10-year/160,000 km warranty almost double that of its competitors. Some manufacturers offer diesel-specific warranties.

Buick now offers 6-year/110,000 km coverage, bringing it in line with sister brand Cadillac. No other changes were noted.

Powertrain Warranty Terms
Manufacturer Duration Distance
Dodge (SRT) 3 years 60,000 km
Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Smart, Volvo 4 years 80,000 km
Acura, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Nissan, Ram, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen 5 years 100,000 km
Chevrolet, GMC 5 years 160,000 km
(Diesel) Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Ram 5 years 160,000 km
Mazda 5 years unlimited
Buick, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln 6 years 110,000 km
Tesla 8 years unlimited
Mitsubishi 10 years 160,000 km

Rust Perforation

Also called “corrosion perforation” or “rust-through”, this covers instances where rust has eaten a hole in your vehicle’s body. Some manufacturers distinguish between “visible” and “non-visible” parts, placing greater importance (and coverage) on exterior, “visible” panels. Because the definition varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, these instances are not noted below and owners are advised to consult their manuals for the precise terms and conditions. Note that “surface corrosion” or “surface rust” refers to the precursor to perforation and generally has different terms (if it is offered at all).

Buick now offers 6-year/unlimited mileage coverage, again in line with Cadillac. Volkswagen, for model year 2018 vehicles, has changed to 7-year/unlimited mileage (12-year/200,000 km for MY 2017 vehicles).

Rust Perforation Warranty Terms
Manufacturer Duration Distance
Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Dodge (SRT), Fiat, Jeep, Ram 3 years unlimited
Tesla 4 years 80,000 km
Acura, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Smart, Subaru, Toyota 5 years unlimited
Chevrolet, GMC 6 years 160,000 km
Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus 6 years unlimited
Infiniti, Mazda, Volkswagen 7 years unlimited
Audi, BMW, Mini, Porsche, Volvo 12 years unlimited

Hybrid/Electrical Powertrain

The hybrid or electrical powertrain sometimes doesn’t get its own entry on a warranty chart, or may appear under a different name (Acura lists it as “Integrated Motor Assist System”). There is also some variation between manufacturers about the components that are covered under this warranty, but they all include the battery pack.

The 8-year/160,000 km term is near-universal among manufacturers. Tesla keeps the 8-year term, but does not place a mileage restriction on coverage. Chrysler and Mitsubishi, meanwhile, extend the term to 10 years.

Hybrid/Electric Powertrain Warranty Terms
Manufacturer Duration Distance
Mercedes-Benz, Smart 4 years 80,000 km
Porsche 6 years unlimited
Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen 8 years 160,000 km
Tesla 8 years unlimited
Chrysler, Mitsubishi 10 years 160,000 km

Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance coverage is relatively new and not considered a standard part of vehicle warranties – there is a great deal of variation not only in duration of coverage, but also in the services offered. Since it’s not a warranty, per se, you may find your coverage information in a separate booklet provided by the manufacturer.

Two changes are noted for 2018: Kia keeps its 5-year duration, but no longer imposes a mileage restriction; Buick once again aligns with Cadillac’s terms, in this case an industry-leading 6-year/110,000 km.

Roadside Assistance Terms
Manufacturer Duration Distance
Dodge (SRT), Nissan, Toyota 3 years 60,000 km
Honda, Mazda, Subaru 3 years unlimited
Alfa Romeo, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Tesla, Volkswagen 4 years 80,000 km
Infiniti 4 years 100,000 km
Acura, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Smart, Volvo 4 years unlimited
Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Jeep, Ram 5 years 100,000 km
Chevrolet, GMC 5 years 160,000 km
Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi 5 years unlimited
Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln 6 years 110,000 km
Peace of mind for four years or 80,000 km – whichever comes first 1/26/2018 10:00:00 AM