Whether you decide to buy a new or used car, a warranty can offer peace of mind if your vehicle develops mechanical faults during the warranty period. Understand more about car warranties and how they work with the help of our guide.
What is a car warranty?
Usually, it’s a guarantee by the car manufacturer to repair a mechanical failure or faulty paintwork during the period of the cover. Typically, new cars will come with a warranty that’s valid for three years or 60,000 miles from the date of manufacture, whichever comes first.
Some manufacturers offer even longer warranty periods. Hyundai, for example, offers a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, whereas Kia’s is for seven years or 100,000 miles.
Can you get a warranty on a used car?
If you buy a nearly new car (usually three years old or less), then you may have some time remaining on the standard manufacturer’s warranty.
It’s possible to buy a used car with a warranty. Most franchised dealers typically offer a 12-month warranty, and some second-hand dealers may offer three, six or 12-month warranties as an incentive.
If you’re buying a car from a private seller, you’re really buying ‘sold as seen’. However, it’s possible to buy an aftermarket, third-party warranty for cars up to 12 years old, although they do tend to have more exclusions than a manufacturer’s warranty.
What does a car warranty cover?
Warranties differ according to the manufacturer or provider, so you’ll need to read the policy details. But most warranties typically cover mechanical and electrical parts such as the gearbox, engine, suspension, transmission and ignition systems.
As well as checking what parts are covered, you should see if certain parts have a limited cover period. For example, although Kia’s warranty is for seven years, the cover for batteries is only for two.
What isn’t covered by a car warranty?
You shouldn’t assume your car warranty will cover you for every kind of fault you encounter during the warranty period.
Depending on the kind of warranty you have, things like these may not be included:
- Most warranties won’t cover you for general wear and tear such as worn tyres, brakes and windscreen wipers.
- Most warranties will state that you have to take reasonable care of your car and that you could invalidate it, if you don’t take your car in for regular servicing.
- You may be expected to only use garages approved by the dealership for repairs and servicing.
- Any modifications to your car could invalidate your warranty, so it’s a good idea to check before you add that super-sized rear spoiler.
What else should I look out for?
Always check you understand the small print in your warranty – it often contains jargon.
Here are a couple of examples that you might want to familiarise yourself with before signing on the dotted line:
- What is betterment?
If your car ends up getting a part that is ‘better’ than the part it’s replacing, you may be expected to pay for it, or at least contribute to its cost.
- What is consequential loss?
This is when a part that’s insured fails because of the failure of another (uninsured) part. Ideally, you want a warranty that will cover you for consequential damage, otherwise you’ll be expected to pay for some or all of the part that needs replacing.
Is it worth having a car warranty?
Warranties can provide peace of mind, but how useful they are will depend on the warranty you have. Cheaper warranties may have a lot of exclusions, but a comprehensive warranty may be more expensive.
Some warranties also include breakdown cover, so you might want to factor this in when it comes to totting up the cost of buying a car with or without a warranty.
Is it worth buying a warranty for a used car?
If you’re buying a used car through a dealership, you may have the option to purchase a warranty or extended warranty via the dealer. The warranty will usually be through a third-party, rather than the dealership themselves.
If you don’t trust the reliability of the car or you just need reassurance, a warranty could offer you extra peace of mind. However, you need to be clear about exactly what the warranty will cover, which means looking very carefully at the small print. You also need to weigh up the cost of the warranty in relation to any repairs you might need to make to the car. It might work out cheaper just to pay for any repairs up front.
How much does a car warranty cost?
This depends on a number of factors, including:
- your mileage
- make and model of the car
- age of the car
Warranties for more expensive or older cars are likely to cost more.
The price of your warranty may also depend on how comprehensive you want it to be, and how long you want it to last for.
Different providers may offer you lower prices, so you shouldn’t feel obliged to go with the manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty. Shop around to make sure you’re getting a great deal.
How can I find a cheaper warranty?
Before signing any paperwork, make sure you’ve done your research. Compare prices online to find the type of warranty at a price that suits you.
Comparing prices will allow you to pick and choose the things you want to include in your warranty. For instance, you may be able to set the claim limit or the voluntary excess.
Warranty or not, you’ll always need car insurance
While you’re deciding whether to choose a model with or without a warranty, take the time to find out how much your insurance will cost you. We’re dedicated to helping you find and compare the right car insurance to suit your needs.
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**Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2020, 50% of customers could save up to £289.85 on their car insurance premium.
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