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How one driver saved $8,000 on emissions repair

Tough emissions rules mean warranty protection for consumers

Published: October 2014

In 2012, a 2004 BMW 325i belonging to John F. Holmes of Fayetteville, N.C., suffered a fuel-pump failure. The local BMW dealer wanted more than $8,000 to replace it. But then Mr. Holmes learned that his car was covered by a 15-year emissions warranty under California law, and after some wrangling with BMW, he got the repair done for free.

That may be an extreme case, but you should be aware that all cars now have extended warranties on key emissions parts. Under federal law, the catalytic converter and engine-control module are covered for eight years or 80,000 miles. Some other emissions parts carry shorter federal warranties, usually two years or 24,000 miles. But some individual manufacturers voluntarily extend coverage on those parts, stretching it out to three years or 36,000 miles, or even more.

California and the several states that have adopted California’s tougher emissions rules have even longer warranties and cover more items: seven years or 70,000 miles on fuel injectors and the injector-control module, fuel pump, transmission solenoids, and many other parts, plus associated hardware.

Partial zero-emission vehicles, including most hybrids and a few non-hybrid vehicles, warrant those parts for 15 years or 150,000 miles. States where this PZEV warranty is honored currently include California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Details on specific parts covered by federal and California warranties are spelled out in your car’s warranty booklet.

Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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