Noteworthy 'secret warranty' repair programs

Is your car on the list?

Published: September 2014

Large-scale car recalls garner frequent, often shocking headlines, but there is a whole realm of manufacturer-backed customer service campaigns and technical service bulletins that address non-safety-related problems.

Here, we present some of the more noteworthy “secret warranty” repair programs now available, along with the related service-campaign identification number. In most cases, owners should have received a notification from the automaker. Though not all vehicles within the model-year ranges are eligible, if you own one of these cars, contact a franchised dealer, give the rep your vehicle identification number, and ask about the service campaign mentioned here.

Consumer Reports has added such information to its car model pages, available to online subscribers.

Visit the Consumer Reports guide to car maintenance and repair, complete with a repair cost estimator.

Fuel tank: Chrysler vehicles

Photo: Dodge

In the 2007-2008 Dodge Nitro and the 2008 Jeep Liberty, a check valve in the fuel-filler neck may allow gasoline to spit back out of the fueling port while someone is filling the tank. In that case, a Dodge or Jeep dealer will install a redesigned fuel tank with a lifetime warranty. Campaign: X46.

The 2005-2006 Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, and Chrysler 300 also have a lifetime fuel-tank warranty. If the engine has a tendency to stall just after a fill-up, dealers are instructed to install the redesigned tank. Campaign: X53

Timing chain: Chrysler Hemi V8

Some 50,000 models with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine may have a defective timing-chain guide. Affected vehicles include the 2009 to 2012 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger and Charger models built between Aug. 4, 2008, and July 10, 2012. Dealers will replace the timing chain and associated parts free. Campaign: 2014 P01.

Fuel-level sensor: GM SUVs

Photo: GMC

In many midsized 2005 to 2007 General Motors SUVs, a faulty fuel-level sensor may cause the fuel gauge to give an incorrect reading of the fuel level. GM will replace fuel-level sensors free for 10 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first, and also reimburse customers who had already paid for all or part of this repair. Affected vehicles include the 2005-2006 Chevrolet SSR, TrailBlazer EXT, GMC Envoy XL; and the 2005-2007 Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, and GMC Envoy. Campaign: 10054E

Paint: Honda Civic

Photo: Honda

Some Civics from model years 2006 through 2011 develop cracks or chalking in the paint on the hood, roof, trunk, or front fenders. Honda has extended the paint warranty to seven years with no mileage limit. Various shades of black, blue, silver, and gray are affected, and Honda will pay to repaint the affected areas. In some cases most of the car has been repainted. Campaign: 12-049

Engine: Honda Civic

Photo: Honda

Civics from the 2006 through 2008 model years, plus some early 2009s, may develop a crack in the engine block that leaks coolant. The repair calls for a new engine block, but if overheating from coolant loss has occurred, that often means replacing the whole engine. The warranty extension runs 10 years from new, with no mileage limit, but excludes the Civic Si and Hybrid. Campaign: 10-048

Rear suspension: Nissan Altima and Maxima

Photo: Nissan

Corrosion from road salt may have caused cracks in the rear subframe in 2002 to 2005 Altimas and 2004 to 2005 Maximas. The needed repairs range from new bushings and seals to a complete replacement of the lower suspension assembly. Repairs are covered for 13 years, with no mileage limit. Campaign: P5216

Instrument cluster: Toyota Prius

Photo: Toyota

The electronic instrument cluster on the dashboard in the 2004 to 2009 Prius can go dark without warning. Toyota has increased its warranty coverage on the electronic instrument cluster to nine years from the original date of purchase, with unlimited miles. Campaign: POL12-05

Editor's Note:

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

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