CAR WARRANTY GUIDE
6/5/2023 - 9:00 AM
For many people, next to their homes, vehicles are the second-most valuable thing that they own. However, as they age and as we drive them, they tend to break down, which nearly always causes undue stress and headaches. Having a good car warranty in place can help reduce these stresses and headaches and protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket repair bills.
Here at Monicatti Auto Sales & Service Center, since we sell used cars and used trucks, we highly recommend buying extended vehicle warranties (more on that below!) to help protect your purchase. While our in-house automotive service center takes great care to put all of our vehicles through an extensive multi-point vehicle inspection before placing them for sale with the rest of our current vehicle inventory, unfortunately we cannot prevent or predict if or when our vehicles will break down. So we feel it is always in a customer's best interest to protect their investments with at least some sort of extended vehicle warranty.
Below is our guide to car warranties, how they work, what they cost, what they cover and whether or not they are worthwhile.
Car Warranty Facts:
Car warranties can help to reduce out-of-pocket expenses on vehicle repairs.
Car warranties cover defects & damages from regular use.
Car warranties do NOT cover parts that are made to wear out during normal use, such as brake pads.
Car warranties are NOT insurance and do NOT cover accidents or vehicle abuse.
Purchasing a car warranty is a strategic financial decision that may give peace of mind, but may not pay for itself.
What is a Car Warranty?
A car warranty is a contract from your car’s manufacturer or from an aftermarket extended warranty company that states that they will pay for select repairs to your vehicle.
What is Covered/Not Covered by a Car Warranty?
Car warranties typically only cover problems that the manufacturer considers defects. So a warranty will only cover components that don't live up to reasonable expectations. They do NOT cover damage from accidents or if the vehicle is used in a manner that the manufacturer didn’t originally intend.
Warranties also do NOT cover normal wear and tear from daily use. Some parts of a vehicle are expected to wear out regularly, so car warranties only pay to replace them if they wear out ahead of schedule.
For example, depending on the model of the car, it’s normal to replace brake pads every 25,000 to 70,000 miles. A car warranty will generally not cover that cost. If, however, the vehicle were to need brake pads after just 10,000 miles, the warranty would likely cover the cost of the new pads and the cost of figuring out what part of the brake system is malfunctioning to wear them out so fast and fixing that as well.
Car warranties also do NOT cover regularly scheduled maintenance, such as oil changes. In fact, failing to keep up with the manufacturer's recommended maintenance can actually void your warranty in some cases.
Types of New Car Warranties
Most NEW vehicles that are purchased from a manufacturer's dealership come equipped with a number of different warranties. So we will dive into each of those next and explain what they each cover.
Comprehensive or Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty
New vehicle limited warranty
Covers the majority of new car parts on a vehicle
Typically lasts for 3 years/36,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Length and coverage may vary by manufacturer
Covers the vehicle's engine, drivetrain & transmission
Typically lasts for 5 years/60,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Length and coverage may vary by manufacturer
Covers the components that limit the vehicle's emissions
Coverage tends to vary, covering some parts for short periods and other parts for longer periods
Required by law to last for 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Some coverage lasts for up to 8 years/80,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Length and coverage may vary by manufacturer as well as by location
Lifetime Limited Parts Warranty
Covers the repair or replacement of specific vehicle parts for as long as they last
Qualifying parts vary by manufacturer
Does NOT cover normal wear and tear
How Long Does a Car Warranty Last?
Car warranties last for a set period of time or a set number of miles. The typical average auto warranty is 3 years/36,000 miles. That means the warranty will cover repairs for the first 3 years you own the vehicle or for the first 36,000 miles that you drive it, whichever one comes first.
This is typical for a basic, limited "comprehensive" or "bumper-to-bumper" warranty. However, as we explained above, there are a number of different types of warranties, which not only offer different coverages but also come in different lengths/mileages as well. AND, these numbers and coverages can also vary by manufacturer.
Below is a comprehensive listing of most large vehicle manufacturers and their basic warranty coverages. *NOTE* These coverages can change at any time. For the most accurate and up-to-date warranty information, be sure to contact the manufacturer of your vehicle directly.
Extended warranties, commonly known as vehicle service contracts, provide coverage for a vehicle once the manufacturer warranty ends. Some automakers offer their own plans, but they typically require that you buy coverage while your car is still under its factory warranty. However, you can also purchase an extended warranty through various third-party providers. Here at Monicatti Auto Sales & Service, we offer a number of extended warranty options from numerous third-party warranty companies.
Are Extended Warranties Worth It?
Unexpected car repairs are both costly and stressful. A transmission, for example, costs an average of $1,800 to $3,400 to replace, while a fuel pump costs an average of $488 to replace. The price to repair a power steering pump ranges from $507 to $720.
An extended vehicle warranty can save you hundreds or even thousands on repair costs. This is especially important when purchasing a used vehicle, like the ones we offer here at Monicatti Auto Sales & Service. Mechanical breakdowns are inevitable no matter how well you take care of your vehicle, so adding extended coverage could contribute to your peace of mind on the road.
How Much Do Car Warranties Cost?
When purchasing a brand-new vehicle, the warranties are built into the price of the vehicle. No dealership should ever attempt to charge you extra for a warranty on a new vehicle.
When it comes to extended warranties, the cost can vary greatly depending on the warranty company, the type of coverage and the length of coverage. Most third-party warranty companies will offer a basic extended warranty, a mid-level warranty and a higher-end warranty. These can cost anywhere from an average of $3,000 to $5,000 or more and can be completely paid for upfront or billed to you on a monthly basis over a few years.
Does a Warranty Transfer to the New Owner When a Vehicle is Sold?
Most car warranties will transfer with the vehicle when it is sold. However, oftentimes, transferring a warranty will change its terms. For example, both Hyundai and Kia offer one of the industry’s longest warranties on new vehicles: a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, if the vehicle is sold, only a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty transfers to the new owner of the vehicle.
If you’re buying a used car, try to find out when it first sold. Automakers typically start selling the next model year before the calendar year is out. So your 2022 vehicle may have a warranty period beginning in 2021 if it sold early.
How to Check Whether a Vehicle is Still Under Warranty
To find out if your vehicle is still under warranty, you will first need to know its mileage and date of purchase. To find the vehicle's mileage, check the odometer. If the vehicle’s mileage exceeds the warranty limit, then it is no longer covered. If it is not over the limit, you will still need to check the date of purchase. Your vehicle's owner’s manual will have details on the warranty coverage and when the vehicle was originally sold. If you do not have the original owner's manual, write down the VIN (vehicle identification number) and call any dealership selling that vehicle brand. They will be able to look up the purchase date for you.
Another way to figure out if your vehicle is srtill under warranty is to use a site like CarFax.com. You will still need the VIN to look up the vehicle, but CarFax will tell you the current warranty status. (*Note: The CarFax information may not be completely up-to-date as it is only as accurate as the last service update. So you may still want to contact a dealership.)
If you are not the vehicle’s first owner, you may also want to ask whether the warranty was transferred to you when you bought the vehicle. The answer is almost always yes. But, for some manufacturers and some model years, warranty terms can change when a car gets sold as a used vehicle (as we previously mentioned).
(NOTE: Information gathered from a number of trusted sources, including KBB.com and Carchex.com)