Drivers will go to great lengths to protect their cars. Unfortunately, not everything is preventable. Weather is an uncontrollable factor that has an impact on every car, so things like rust and corrosion are issues that drivers of old and new cars alike must deal with. However, a driver can use a corrosion warranty to help offset the uncertainties weather can cause and maintain the quality of their vehicle. With road salt and other particles chipping away at car paint and rain and humidity capable of producing rust, corrosion warranties give drivers options when preparing their vehicles for the unexpected.
Is a corrosion warranty right for you? Let’s take a further dive into corrosion warranties to see if this is the right way for you to protect your vehicle.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion is the breakdown of metal once it is oxidized by being exposed to air and moisture. On vehicles, corrosion is seen most commonly as rust. Once a car’s paint is chipped and the metal underneath is exposed to weather, it will begin to rust and corrode.
While corrosion initially starts as more of a cosmetic issue, it can also have an impact on a vehicle’s function. If left untreated, heavy rust on a car can corrode through to the vehicle’s internal components and cause them to malfunction. Suspension components and brake lines are prone to rusting out, causing a dangerous driving situation if they are not addressed.
What Is a Corrosion Warranty?
With rocks, people, other cars, and even particles in the air able to deteriorate a car’s paint and expose the metal surface underneath, most drivers go to some length to prevent rust and corrosion. While many opt for a few generous layers of car wax a couple of times per year, corrosion warranties are also options for those who want to make sure they’re covered should issues arise.
The purpose of a corrosion warranty is to help cover the cost of repairs if a problem occurs. The coverage of the warranty differs with each customer’s unique needs, but most corrosion warranties cover both cosmetic fixes and damage to the engine and battery parts should corrosion issues penetrate the interior of the car. This helps drivers maintain the look of their vehicle while also ensuring that it runs efficiently.
Types of Corrosion Warranties
Corrosion coverage is usually built into larger warranties when buying a new car and can occasionally be extended to cover a used car. What the warranty specifically covers in regard to corrosion depends on the particular dealership and vehicle.
Most standard factory warranties do carry corrosion coverage in the form of an original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) naturally occurring corrosion warranty. This type of warranty covers the cost of repairs from rusting caused by naturally occurring elements and not the driver’s own actions. Most dealerships typically offer additional corrosion protection to cover the costs of corrosion should it extend into a car’s interior elements. This option is occasionally available for used cars as well.
Generally, there are two main types of corrosion coverage that most dealerships offer as part of a larger warranty:
- Surface corrosion: This is the broader and more comprehensive warranty option, and it covers the costs of repairs for any rust that’s visible on the surface of the car. Rust on interior components of the car, such as the suspension, brake lines, and frame, is also included in the coverage so long as there is visible damage.
- Rust perforation: The more limited option, this type of corrosion warranty only covers the cost of repairs should the corrosion perforate the surface of the vehicle. If the rust hasn’t eaten through the metal and created a hole yet, the dealership will not cover the cost of repairs. Rust perforation warranties also typically exclude interior components of the car from coverage.
Corrosion Warranty Pros and Cons
The biggest downside to a corrosion warranty is that most plans have limits on how long the coverage lasts. Just like warranties for other issues a vehicle may face, there are often limits on how many miles a car may drive or a time restriction on the length of coverage before protection against corrosion lapses. Many warranties expire around 100,000 miles or five years, which is also approximately the length of time it takes for rust and corrosion to start developing on the surface of a vehicle.
However, having some form of corrosion coverage does come in handy when issues do arise. Rust or corrosion can become a problem on a vehicle early in its life span in humid climates, coastal areas, or cold regions that require frequent road treatments. The cost of these repairs should be covered under a corrosion warranty. Most corrosion packages do offer extended and unlimited time or mileage limits that can aid in protecting your car for longer periods of time when rust and corrosion typically start to form.
Corrosion Warranty Costs
With corrosion warranties usually part of a collective factory warranty, it can be difficult to project the cost of corrosion coverage. Generally, extended warranties cost from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the type of vehicle needing coverage.
It’s also challenging to predict the cost of repairs caused by corrosion and rust, as it hinges on what components of the car are impacted. Small surface repairs can set a driver back a few hundred dollars, while internal issues could come at a much higher cost.
Should I Get a Corrosion Warranty?
Overall, protecting a vehicle with some form of a corrosion warranty is a smart idea. With numerous factors capable of scratching a car’s paint and exposing the metal to oxidation, drivers can maintain the look and performance of their vehicle with corrosion coverage.
A plan with extended time or mileage coverage is also worth exploring, as rust and corrosion often don’t become issues within the standard periods outlined in most packages. Opting for surface protection is also recommended because it provides more comprehensive coverage from corrosion-related repairs.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.