what is the meaning of "life?"

but if there's a lifetime guarantee, there's a few things to think about. one is what is meant by "lifetime?"

the chrysler website has definitive information on this. i now quote to you from chrysler, they own the copyright on the following couplet.

Q18: What does 'lifetime' mean?
A18: Lifetime is lifetime.

amazing. amazing not only that someone at chrysler suggested that in a meeting (which undoubtedly drew snickers) but that it actually made it all the way to the public eye. and better still, it's reassuring while actually being totally meaningless.

it's either completely inane, or pure genius. and, i for one, can't tell you which is true.

so what if chrysler "goes away?" what if there is one, and then there isn't?

i call my brother, a person who is not only intimately familiar with the ins and outs of warranties, but has also had the priviledge of having worked at a company that went away.

his feeling is the same as my suspicion, "chrysler won't go away. they're too important. they're too big a part of not only america, but what america means. the government won't allow it to falter. they bailed 'em out before, they do it again if they have to." he blathers on a bit and we talk about chrysler being a buy-out target in a hazy future, "yeah, it wouldn't surprise me if you'd have to take it to a toyota dealer ten years from now."

but what about the concept of lifetime itself?

the obviously wearing parts (brake pads, tires, upholstery [most likely]) aren't covered. neither is the paint. unless it had some kind of glaring defect, i'd bet large money that the cloth of the top isn't covered (although the convertible frame and mechanism are).

the fine print of the warranty talks about manufacturing defects but doesn't actually talk about things like normal wear and tear specifically. i mean, if you put 250,000 miles on a car and then the transmission explodes it's hard to call that a defect.

yet, the overlying intent of the warranty is clear: you can trust these powertrains for life. implying that if you go bumper-to-bumper that'll be true for those 5,000 items as well.

i've had warranty work done a number of times (at least four times on luggage with lifetime guarantees, at least twice on hondas, and on some other miscellaneous stuff) and i've never had a question. never had a rejection. i meet the criteria they specify (e.g. show you have routine maintenence done in the past) and it just works.

irrespective of what people claim, or what their impressions are, the dealership is where the work gets done. they get paid by the corporate headquarters to do warranty work. now it's true that it may be a tremendous paperwork headache, and it could well be compounded by the fact there are incentives from the dealers not to do that work (e.g. bonuses for no claims, or budget on how much they're expecting). but work is work. pay is pay.

maybe i'm the most naive person in the world, but if something fails, i'd expect it to be covered.

the one thing i don't know that my brother pointed out, and that is i have to be aware of a buy-out clause in the contract ... something along the lines of "chrysler will do the repair or reimburse you for the price of a vehicle, whichever is less." 20 years from now a convertible top switch replacement (if it could even be found) might be, say, $500 parts and labor and if the car's worth $3.78, it's a pretty easy decision.

this facet may not sway me from buying a car, but it is something to be aware of.

partially recapping what i said before i need to:
* live a long time
* not destroy my car (crash, fire, flood, riot, monsters)
* have chrysler stay in some form of warranty solvency

right now today, the hardest thing of that set in my health. but hey, i die, it doesn't really matter where the money goes anyway, right?

technically the bumper-to-bumper wrap is overkill. the car has bumper-to-bumper for the first three years and then the wrapper doesn't kick in until after that. in theory i could wait three years before i applied the wrapper (they'll even let you do it with one-year of expiration). however, it would be more expensive (maybe a lot more expensive), and the BIG one: it's possible they wouldn't even sell the wrapper for a lifetime in three years.

which means the time is now.

i need to talk to karpov. an actuarial view of this would be interesting.

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