A simples guide

A guide to car warranties

Buying a car can be stressful, the sheer choice on offer is staggering enough before you even think about finance plans or where the best place to buy your car is, and should you buy new or used? Then there’s the whole warranty issue and because cars are expensive, you’ll want to get it right; so here’s our car warranty guide so you know exactly what to look for.


What exactly are car warranties?

Generally, it’s a guarantee by the manufacturer to repair a mechanical failure or faulty paintwork. Typically, new cars will come with a three or five year warranty or are valid up to 60,000 miles from the date of manufacture. Some manufacturers offer even longer warranty periods such as ten years or 100,000 miles.

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. Older used cars may not have any warranty left on them at all and if you’re buying one from a private seller, you’re really buying ‘sold as seen’. Used cars from a main dealership may come with a limited manufacturer’s warranty.

What does a warranty cover?

All warranties differ according to the manufacturer or provider, so you’ll have to read the policy details. But they’ll usually cover mechanical and electrical parts only, such as the gearbox, engine, suspension, transmission and ignition systems.

When you’re offered a warranty or if it’s an important factor in choosing what car to buy in the first place, consider what parts the warranty covers. The average car has over 5,000 parts to it but some warranties won’t even cover half of those so you need to know if the warranty’s worth the paper it’s written on.

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car dashboard

What’s excluded from a warranty?

Most warranties won’t cover you for general wear and tear such as worn tyres, brakes and wipers. You should also double check the wording on the warranty – most warranties will stipulate that you have to take reasonable care of your car and you could invalidate it if you don’t take your car in for regular servicing. You may also be expected to use certain garages for repairs. Any modifications to your car could also invalidate your warranty so best check before you add that super-sized rear spoiler.

What should I look out for?

Always check you understand the small print in your warranty and don’t be surprised if you stumble across jargon that you don’t really understand, here are a couple of examples that you might want to familiarise yourself with before signing on the dotted line:

• Betterment – if your car ends up getting a part that is ‘better’ than the part it’s replacing; you may be expected to cough up for it or at least contribute to its cost.

• Consequential loss or damage – this is when a part that is 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 you need replacing.

Is it worth having a warranty?

Warranties can provide peace of mind, but how useful they are will depend on the warranty you have. Cheap warranties (as you’d imagine) may have lots of exclusions which could make claiming on them difficult, but a comprehensive warranty might be too expensive. Some warranties will 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 one.

But one thing you’ll always need…

You’ll always need car insurance, there’s no two ways about it. So while you’re dithering over whether to choose the model with or without a warranty take the time to find out how much your insurance will cost you. We’re dedicated to finding you the right deal for you at the best price so there’s no need to dawdle, start comparing the market today.


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