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Secret Car Warranties

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What are Secret Warranties?

Secret warranties, also known as "after warranty assistance" (AWA) and "good will assistance," refer to a little known program that many vehicle manufacturers have.   Under these programs manufacturers offer to pay for repairs for defective parts after the factory warranty period has expired as long as the car owner asks for such assistance.  

Part of My Car Failed after My Factory Warranty Expired,  Will an AWA Pay?

If part of your car failed after the factory warranty expired you may be eligible for after warranty assistance.  However, there are many restrictions that may apply.  These may include:

  • The customer cannot have an extended warranty that covers the repairs.
  • The original owner must still possess the car.
  • Not all manufacturers offer AWA.
  • Time and mileage restrictions may apply.
  • The car must be well maintained.

Are Secret Warranties Nationwide or Regional Programs?

Secret warranties are often regional programs.  Moreover, secret warranties may be largely left to the discretion of the regional dealerships that actually interact with the car owners.  

How Can I Find Out if My Car's Defect Is Covered under a Secret Warranty?

It may be difficult to find out if your car's defect is covered under a secret warranty.  The best way to find out is to check the service bulletins for your car's type and model.  These bulletins are published by the car's manufacturer and are sent to dealerships.  The bulletin may also give the dealerships the authority to fix the problem free of charge.  

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Secret Warranty Issue?

If you find documentation of a secret warranty and the dealership or manufacturer of your car refuses to acknowledge that it exists, don't give up.  Most often, if you continue to complain for long enough, the manufacturer will give in.  However, if they do not, you may be able to sue them for the cost of the repairs and other damages.  An experienced consumer protection attorney can help you prepare your case.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-03-2016 09:20 PM PDT

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