When buying a new car, a manufacturer’s warranty is always a welcomed bonus. But, when it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, the manufacturer’s warranty will typically be expired. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to extend a manufacturer’s warranty with an extended warranty. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used vehicle, this is everything you need to know about getting a warranty for a used car.
Used Car Manufacturer’s Warranty vs. Extended Warranty
Your used car can be covered by two types of warranties, manufacturer’s warranty and extended warranty.
Used Car Manufacturer’s Warranty
A manufacturer warranty comes into effect when you purchase a brand new vehicle from a dealership. It is a standard warranty that comes with almost all cars and typically covers the repair costs for the vehicle’s mechanical or electrical issues.
A manufacturer’s car warranty usually expires after a set mileage limit (typically 60,000 to 100,000 km) or a set time period (usually three to five years), whichever comes first.
The warranty is transferable between owners and provides the same coverage as the original owner. However, you’ll only receive part of the warranty as it does not renew with each owner. For example, if you purchase a 2-year old car that has 20,000 km on it, you’ll have between 1 to 3 years or 40,000 to 80,000 km of coverage.
Used Car Extended Warranty
An extended warranty takes effect after a manufacturer’s warranty expires. It is usually transferable between owners but must be included in the terms and conditions of your contract.
The key difference between a manufacturer warranty and an extended warranty is that an extended warranty is optional. Moreover, the type of coverage you get depends on the type of coverage plan you choose (or what the previous owner chose). For example, you may have bumper-to-bumper coverage or something a little less comprehensive.
Extended warranty plans typically last between 3-5 years after your manufacturer warranty has ended. Do note that extended and manufacturer warranties do not cover normal wear and tear.
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Are Used Cars Covered Under The Manufacturer Warranty?
Used cars might be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. They are generally covered if the used car is less than three years old and has less than 60,000 km on the odometer.
There are usually three key components of a manufacturer warranty:
New Vehicle Warranty
This kind of warranty covers almost the entire vehicle for mechanical and electrical problems, minus wear and tear. Tires, hoses, brakes, and belts are not included under this warranty. New vehicle warranties are usually in effect for about three years or 60,000 km.
This kind of warranty covers parts of a vehicle that are related to a vehicle’s movement, such as the engine and transmission. Powertrain warranties are usually in effect longer than new vehicle warranties—about five years and 100,000 km.
This kind of warranty covers parts of a vehicle that are directly related to its emissions, including the powertrain control module and catalytic converter.
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Types Of Extended Warranties
All extended warranties are not created equal, they can differ greatly depending on the provider. Below are the types of coverage you can expect for most extended warranties.
- Repairs: Vehicle repairs coverage covers the labour and parts required to make repairs to a vehicle. Some vehicle repair extended warranties do not cover fluids or certain parts. Make sure to read the fine print to see exactly what is covered by this kind of warranty.
- Roadside Assistance: This kind of extended warranty covers the cost of a tow truck to bring your vehicle to a repair shop. It may also cover battery boosts and fuel, oil delivery and other roadside assistance services.
- Rental Car Coverage: Rental car coverage gives you access to a rental car if you need to take your vehicle in for repairs and it needs to stay overnight. To qualify for this coverage, the repair must be covered by the warranty. You can usually only get rental car coverage for a maximum of five days.
- Tire And Rim Warranty: This kind of warranty covers tire punctures, blowouts, and rim damage resulting from tire damage.
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Dealership Extended Warranty vs. Third-Party Car Warranty Providers
You can get an extended car warranty through a dealership or a third-party provider.
Dealership Extended Warranty
When you purchase an extended warranty from a dealership, it’s typically extremely convenient as you can add it to your contract when purchasing the vehicle. Moreover, you can roll your warranty costs into your car payment plan if you’re financing it. While dealership extended warranties are easily accessible, they do have some drawbacks:
- Limited Repair Location Options – You usually have to go to the dealership for any repairs under your warranty, which limits where you can get your repairs done.
- Can’t Compare Prices – Dealerships usually have a few partners they work with to offer extended warranties. Meaning, you won’t get the opportunity to compare prices from multiple extended warranty providers.
Third-Party Car Warranty
Rather than purchasing a warranty for a dealership, you can purchase your extended warranty for your used car from a third-party provider such as Ensurall, Autopair and Carshield. This can be a better option than a dealership as you’ll be able to compare your options and choose one that is most suitable for your needs. Moreover, you’ll be able to:
- Get A Lower Price – These third-party extended warranty providers are usually cheaper than dealerships because you’re able to compare prices from multiple providers.
- More Repair Locations – There is usually a long list of repair facilities where your warranty provider will allow you to get repairs done.
- Added Benefits – Some third-party providers offer additional benefits such as fuel delivery, towing, and roadside assistance.
- Transferable – Most third-party car warranties are transferable between owners.
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What To Look For When Getting A Used Car Warranty
There are four important factors to look at when you’re getting a used car warranty:
Price is extremely important when looking for a used car warranty. You want to make sure that you’re purchasing a warranty that you can afford and one that is about as expensive as similar warranties from other providers. You should also look at how often you will have to pay for it and how long you’ll have to wait before you can use your warranty.
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You definitely need to know what your warranty covers and what it doesn’t cover. You should pick a warranty based on what kind of coverage you think you will need and based on getting the best coverage for your price range.
You should look to see how difficult it is to get a claim processed and what is needed to get repairs made to your vehicle. An important question to ask your warranty provider is whether you need to pay for repairs out of pocket and then get reimbursed or if they will pay for repairs directly. You should also see if you have to take your vehicle to a certain mechanic in the provider’s network or if you can take your vehicle to any mechanic.
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You should look at the warranty provider’s reputation when getting a used car warranty. There are many sites online where customers leave reviews about their warranty providers, so start there. You should see what other customers have to say about the warranty, including if they had any issues making a claim and if their claims were processed promptly.
How To Make A Car Warranty Claim
To make a warranty claim, you have to get your vehicle’s issues diagnosed by a repair facility that is authorized by your warranty provider. Contact your warranty provider to find out about authorized repair facilities in your area. Although you will likely need to visit the dealership that sells your vehicle.
When you take your car to the authorized repair facility, your vehicle’s issues will be diagnosed and registered with a claims adjuster. Someone at the repair facility will then tell you if your vehicle’s issues are covered under your warranty and if you have to pay anything for repairs.
How To Keep A Car Warranty Valid
It’s also important to understand that most warranties come with set guidelines that you need to follow in order to keep your warranty valid. Typically, both manufacturers warranties and extended warranties will come with stipulations that you need to take your vehicle to an authorized garage or repair shop. Any repairs completed at a non-authorized garage will likely not be covered.
Keeping Up With Maintenance
Keeping up with the required maintenance is also another common guideline set by warranty providers. Generally speaking, you will need to make sure you regularly perform the following:
- Oil changes
- Transmission flushes
- Cooling system flushes
- Timing belt replacement
- Spark plug replacement
Depending on the vehicle type and warranty provider, this list may include other more specialized maintenance.