Federal Emission Warranty: How It Works

  In order to meet the emission standards set by the federal government, the federal government requires that every manufacturer offer a limited warranty emissions control on the vehicles they build. The Federal Emission Warranty covers any repairs needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship which would cause your vehicle not to meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. These federal emissions warranties do not cover incidental or consequential damages such as loss of the use of the vehicle, inconvenience or commercial loss. Most components that fall under the federal emissions warranty are covered for 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. The catalytic converter, emissions control unit (ECU), and the onboard emissions diagnostic device (OBD) are covered for 8 years or 80,000 miles whichever comes first. For a list of what is and is not covered, refer to your manufacturer’s warranty booklet or your owner’s manual. There are two parts to the emission warranty, There is a Performance Warranty and a Design and Defect Warranty. The performance warranty covers components that are listed under the federal emissions warranty, if the vehicle fails an emissions test. If the vehicle fails a state mandatory emissions test, then the performance warranty will cover the cost of repairing or replacement any component covered as long as it is within the time and mileage limits. According to federal law, the Design and Defect Warranty covers “an emission control or emission related part, or a specified major emission control component, that fails because of a defect in materials or workmanship, must be repaired or replaced by the vehicle manufacturer free of charge as long as the vehicle has not exceeded the warranty time or mileage limitations for the failed part.”1 In order to receive warranty repairs, the vehicle must be taken to an authorized service center. If the repair shop is not authorized to perform repairs then the federal emissions warranty will not cover the cost.   Since the federal emission warranty applies for only 2 years or 24,000 miles, for most components, most manufacturers' factory warranties cover the components after the emission warranty expires. Then beyond the expiration of the factory warranty, an extended auto warranty may cover the components depending upon the level of coverage.       1“Emission Warranties For 1995 and Newer Cars and Trucks”, EPA Enviromental Fact Sheet (1996): accessed September 1, 2011. http://www.epa.gov/oms/consumer/warr95fs.txt

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