What Is Secret Warranty?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes dealerships and manufacturers are willing to help you pay repairs on your new car, even after the original warranty has expired. This little-known benefit is called After Warranty Assistance, also dubbed secret warranty.

If you’ve taken good care of your car you might be able to take advantage of this unofficial coverage. They won’t tell you but most car companies have it or offer a similar program.

Qualifying for secret warranty is not too hard. All you must do is keep tidy maintenance records for your car, so dealers can verify that you’ve taken good care of it. Make sure you only do repairs with your dealer since they won’t assume responsibility if you have taken your car somewhere else.

Manufacturers offer this service if there’s a problem with the model but it’s not serious enough to justify a recall. For example, Ford performed after-warranty repairs on more than 12 million cars and trucks in the early 70s to cover rust damage. On that occasion, the company accepted responsibility for defective paint jobs, but since it didn’t affect all vehicles, the secret warranty was provided on an individual complaint basis.

Technically speaking, carmakers aren’t required to give disclose secret warranties. However, a few states are trying to change that so the owner is informed about the actual warranty protection on his car. For now, the only way to find secret warranties is by checking the technical service bulletins for your car’s year and model. Defects, frequent repairs and secret warranty coverage will be stated here.

So how come manufacturers and dealers are fixing your car for free? Very simple: they want you to remember them next time you buy a new car.

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