Everything You Need to Know About Car Warranties

Purchase a new or used vehicle and a warranty accompanies most purchases. If the vehicle is new, the manufacturer supplies a set of warranties. If the vehicle is used and purchased through a dealership or used car lot, it may also include some type of guarantee. Car warranties, also known as auto warranties, provide owners with peace of mind and can save them thousands of dollars in repair costs. We’ll look at the various types of warranties available and how they work.

Overview of Car Warranties

There are two main types of warranties for new cars: a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty. Bumper-to-bumper covers almost everything from the front bumper to the back, while a powertrain warranty covers only the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Used cars may come with a limited warranty, or you can purchase an extended warranty separately.

Length of coverage: Warranties vary in length, but most new car warranties last between three and five years. Some warranties are limited by mileage as well. Used car warranties may be shorter and provide less coverage. For instance, 90 days or 4,000 miles is the usual limit. Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, Mitsubishi, and Jaguar each offer the best new car warranties, lasting five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and Mitsubishi also offer 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranties. Again, they’re the best in the industry where 3 years and up to 36,000 miles is basic coverage.

What’s covered: The warranty will outline what is covered and what is not covered. Common exclusions include regular maintenance, wear and tear items, and damage caused by accidents or misuse.

Where to get repairs: You may be required to get repairs done at a dealership or authorized repair center to be covered by the warranty. Check the terms of the warranty to ensure you understand where you can go for repairs. Those terms are included in the owner’s manual as well as found on the manufacturer’s website.

Cost: New car warranties are typically included in the purchase price of the car, but extended warranties can be purchased separately. The cost of an extended warranty will depend on the length of coverage and the level of coverage provided.

Transferability: Some warranties can be transferred to a new owner if you sell the car, which can increase the resale value of the vehicle.

Expiration: Your warranty will expire after a certain length of time or mileage, whichever comes first. It’s important to know when your warranty will expire so you can plan for potential repairs or purchase an extended warranty if desired.

Other Warranties

Manufacturers typically offer other types of warranties that go beyond bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage. The two most popular ones are corrosion (anti-rust) and electric vehicle, the latter offered exclusively for hybrid and pure electric models.

Corrosion Warranty

Corrosion or anti-rust warranties are included with many new cars, offering protection against rust or corrosion. These warranties are designed to assure car owners by ensuring that their investment is protected from the harmful effects of rust and corrosion. Typically, these warranties cover any rust or corrosion that occurs on the exterior metal body panels of the vehicle, such as the roof, doors, fenders, and hood, caused by normal use and environmental factors. However, exclusions may apply, such as rust or corrosion caused by accidents, abuse, or neglect.

To keep the warranty in effect, car owners may be required to perform certain maintenance tasks, such as washing the car regularly, applying rust inhibitors, and keeping the undercarriage clean. In addition, car owners may need to take their vehicle to a dealership or an authorized repair center for repairs to be covered by the warranty. While the length of these warranties can vary, they typically last for several years and can provide valuable protection for a car owner’s investment.

Electric Vehicle Warranty

Electric vehicles, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and pure electric vehicles come with a special electric vehicle warranty. This guarantee is separate from other warranties and mandated by federal law.

The battery warranty for electric cars is particularly important, as the battery pack is one of the most expensive components of the vehicle. The battery warranty typically covers defects or problems that cause the battery to fail to hold a charge or that cause a reduction in its capacity. Battery warranties may also include a mileage limit, which means that if the battery fails before the limit is reached, the manufacturer will replace the battery pack.

Extended Warranty

An extended warranty is a service contract that provides additional coverage for a vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. Extended warranties are typically sold by third-party providers and are designed to give car owners confidence by protecting them from unexpected repair costs.

Extended warranties can vary in coverage, but they typically cover repairs or replacements for major components of the vehicle, such as the engine, transmission, and electrical systems. They may also cover other components, such as air conditioning and suspension systems, depending on the specific plan.

The length of an extended warranty can also vary, but they usually last for several years and/or for a specific number of miles. Some extended warranties may offer a deductible, which is the amount the car owner is responsible for paying before the warranty coverage kicks in.

Notably, extended warranties can be expensive, and they may not cover everything that the car owner may expect. Thus, before purchasing an extended warranty, it’s important to read the terms of the contract carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered. Car owners should also research the reputation of the warranty provider and consider the cost of the warranty compared to the potential cost of repairs.

Not a Warranty: Roadside Assistance Coverage

Roadside assistance is important and typically available from new car manufacturers. This service normally covers scenarios such as getting locked out of your car, experiencing a flat tire, or running out of fuel. If you run out of gas, the service usually provides you with enough fuel to reach the nearest gas station. You can find more information in your owner’s manual or by contacting your dealership.

Initial Maintenance Plans

Some manufacturers, such as Toyota, supply no-charge maintenance for the first few years of vehicle ownership. In Toyota’s case, the ToyotaCare plan covers oil changes, tire rotations, fluid top-off, and a multi-point inspection for the first two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Know Your Coverage

Consumers should always be aware of what’s covered and the requirements for using car warranties. Between scheduled maintenance and covered repairs, owning a vehicle for many years is possible.

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Photo Attribution

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Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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