Are Infotainment Systems Covered Under My Warranty?
In the 1950s and 1960s, having an FM radio in your car put you in the top tier of automobile owners. Since then, it’s fair to say that things have changed a lot regarding the bells and whistles on your car’s dashboard, as highly advanced infotainment systems are more or less standard in every new vehicle. Built-in Bluetooth lets you take hands-free phone calls, GPS lets you adventure further than ever, plus some systems even support movie streaming and apps. They’re so entertaining that they can even be a little too distracting.
But while they’re undeniably helpful, more complex systems also mean more complex parts—and more expensive repairs. Knowing what an infotainment system is and whether your car’s warranty covers it can help you be prepared if it ever breaks.
What Is an “Infotainment System?”
A car’s infotainment system is a specific portion of the dashboard, often found where the radio would be and is essentially part onboard computer, part entertainment system. It acts as a touchscreen command center, allowing drivers to control a wide array of functions with just a touch of the finger. And while the specific features available in a vehicle will differ by make and model, most new cars will have infotainment systems capable of:
Do you remember when you used to need paper maps or a handy Rand McNally Road Atlas to get around? Even TomToms weren’t particularly convenient when they first arrived in the early 2000s. Now, all the perks of GPS navigation are built directly into your vehicle, so you can hit the road without fear of getting lost.
Heating & Air Conditioning
Today, it can be easy to take for granted how quickly and precisely your car can heat up or cool down when using heating or the air conditioner. When first introduced in vehicles back in the late 1930s and until the first infotainment systems began making their way into vehicles, the heating and A/C were controlled by knobs and dials that never could seem to get the temperature just right. With a working infotainment system, you can get precise A/C control with an effortless swipe of the screen.
While you can still get the usual radio stations in a vehicle, the musical capabilities of modern cars are far more advanced than ever before. Many infotainment systems have music streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Music and more as standard features. Or, if you have your smartphone handy, you can connect it via Bluetooth and play your favorite songs, podcasts, or audiobooks. Some systems can even stream video!
Bluetooth isn’t just for playing music. The technology also allows you to take calls hands-free, making driving safer for everyone.
Some infotainment systems allow you to change in-cabin lighting settings, such as brightening or dimming the lights in the footwells, center console or headliner. Depending on the vehicle, you might be able to change the color of the lights, too.
Most infotainment systems found in newer vehicles will often double as the display for a rearview camera. This can help you safely back your vehicle out of your driveway, a parking space or any other scenario where a pedestrian or another vehicle may not be easily seen in your rearview mirror.
What Can Go Wrong with My Car’s Infotainment System?
With so many functions and intricate parts, there are plenty of ways your infotainment could fail. Because of the complexities, faults generally aren’t something you can fix yourself, though you might be able to figure out what’s causing them.
Some common infotainment issues include:
- Power Failure: If your infotainment doesn’t turn on along with the rest of your car, it may be due to problems with your car’s battery. If just the infotainment system or other electrical parts of your vehicle aren’t working, it may be a blown fuse or some wiring issues.
- Bugs & Glitches: Your infotainment system is essentially a computer, which means that it can also suffer from the same issues as one. And while “turning it off and back on again” can work occasionally, a professional should check for any major bugs or glitches.
- Unresponsive Touchscreen: Touchscreens can be very sensitive to extreme temperatures and can stop responding. Spills or other water/liquid damage can also cause the display to stop working entirely.
- Antenna Doesn’t Work: If your car has an antenna on the exterior, any damage can prevent it from receiving signals that your infotainment system needs.
- Smartphone Integration Problems: There are several reasons your phone could stop connecting to your infotainment, including issues with Bluetooth. If you are physically plugging in your phone or device, check to see if the cable or port/adapter you are using is working as it should.
- Rearview Camera Problems: As infotainment systems can double as the screen for a rearview camera, you may see issues with your infotainment system should the camera be on the fritz.
Does My Car Warranty Cover My Infotainment System?
When purchasing a brand new car from a dealership, you’ll have the coverage of a factory warranty, sometimes referred to as a manufacturer’s warranty or a new vehicle limited warranty, depending on the automaker. This coverage will cover the repair costs needed due to workmanship errors or other faults to keep your vehicle running for a set number of years or miles, lasting between three and five years, or 36,000 to 60,000 miles. Your automaker will usually cover your car’s infotainment system with a factory or a new vehicle limited warranty. However, once that coverage expires, you’d be left paying for any repairs unless you have an extended warranty or a vehicle service contract (VSC).
An extended warranty is an extension of the factory warranty provided by your automaker. At the same time, a vehicle service contract is a similar kind of coverage offered by a third-party provider, like Endurance. It’s also crucial to remember that any warranty or VSC differs from any car insurance or mechanical breakdown insurance (aka car repair insurance) policy you may have.
If you have an extended warranty or vehicle service contract, what’s covered in your policy will ultimately come down to your provider, including your infotainment system. However, due to their complexity, most extended warranties or VSCs may not cover infotainment systems, similar to how many will not provide you with coverage for things like your car’s airbags, catalytic converter or windshield.
But, while standard plans may not include an infotainment system, depending on the level of service contract you choose, you may find that you can find some coverage. For example, exclusionary coverage plans like the Supreme protection plan from Endurance cover some manufacturer-installed infotainment elements (like the radio) if the repair is less than $1,000. However, some exclusions may apply, so always check your policy’s fine print.
Some providers also have add-ons available for more coverage, such as the High Tech option available for Endurance’s Superior protection plan, which can provide coverage for:
- Backup camera and sensors
- Video system and display screen (will not include minimal pixel damage)
- GPS/NAV systems
- Blindspot sensors
- Electronic driver information displays
- Anti-theft systems (remote excluded)
Protect Your Vehicle from Costly Repair Bills with Endurance
While advancements in technology are transforming the way the world lives, it can ultimately lead to some pricey repair bills for vehicles. But, with the help of an Endurance auto protection plan, you can get peace of mind when it comes to unexpected breakdowns and costly repair bills. Some Endurance plans, such as the Supreme and Superior plans, can also combine comprehensive breakdown coverage for your vehicle’s most vital components with coverage for parts of your vehicle’s infotainment system.
Additionally, as an Endurance customer, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ll have 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, rental car reimbursements, and trip interruption coverage for free, regardless of your plan. You’ll also be automatically eligible for a whole year’s worth of Elite Benefits, including up to two tire replacements or repairs, collision discounts and more. Just pay a $20 activation fee and enjoy your entire year’s worth of additional perks and savings.
To learn more about how an Endurance protection plan can help you, give our award-winning care team a call at (800) 253-8203, or you can get started by requesting a free, no-obligation quote. By visiting the Endurance blog, you can also find other great articles on a wide range of automotive topics, including vehicle buying guides, extended warranty comparisons, DIY maintenance tips, and more.
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After more than 16 years as a technician and service advisor, Adam Karner transitioned to the auto protection industry in 2009. As a Product Manager for Endurance Dealer Services, he brings valuable hands-on experience. Read more about Adam.