Did you recently purchase a used car from a dealership or through a private sale? Then you’ll want to find out if the vehicle is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Even brand new cars are accompanied by a factory warranty. Keeping track of these warranties and their terms are important because at some point you may have to use them.
How can you check if your car is still under warranty? What type of warranties are available for new and used cars? Keep reading to learn more.
What Is An Auto Warranty?
Most automakers offer warranties to consumers to help instill confidence in their purchases. An auto manufacturer’s warranty is a promise to the customer to cover specific problems that may develop with a vehicle within a specific time frame. While the terms outlined by the automaker can vary in each warranty this agreement typically guarantees to repair, replace or reimburse the customer if a certain part fails. What’s the catch?
A basic car warranty only lasts for a few years. However, today’s vehicles are built to the highest standards and are designed to stand the test of time. Auto warranties are offered as a measure of good faith in the event that the vehicle fails within two to three years of the purchase date. Warranties especially come in handy for used vehicles since you never know what wear and tear have been inherited from the previous owner. Although brand new cars are considered to be more reliable they aren’t immune to wear.
Types of Car Warranties
Warranties vary by manufacturer. They typically cover systems and parts that might fail due to defects in original factory parts. If you purchase a used vehicle from a private sale that’s still covered by a factory warranty you’ll need to have the warranty transferred over to you.
Here are the most common warranties you’ll come across:
Most brand new vehicles are accompanied by a limited warranty that provides full coverage on the majority of the vehicle’s parts and systems. A new vehicle limited warranty usually doesn’t last beyond 36,0000 miles or three years.
A powertrain warranty provides coverage on parts that power the wheel on a vehicle which includes the transmission, engine, and driveshaft. This warranty is the longest-lasting warranty offered by automakers.
Lifetime Limited Parts Warranty
A lifetime limited parts warranty means that the automaker will cover the repair or replacement of certain parts for as long as the vehicle lasts. These days the lifespan of a vehicle is getting longer and longer. Most vehicles can last well beyond 200,000 miles.
Did You Purchase A New Or Used Vehicle?
Yes, the first step to determining whether your vehicle is still covered under the factory or manufacturer's warranty is understanding whether it was purchased brand new or used. Typically, brand new vehicles are accompanied by a couple of standard warranties that cover the powertrain and other limited parts. On the other hand, used cars depending on their age might have a year or two left before the warranty expires. When it comes to used vehicles there is also the possibility that it doesn’t come with a warranty.
Here are the standard warranties offered by some of the most popular automakers:
|Manufacturer||Powertrain Warranty||Basic Auto Warranty|
|Acura||6 years or 70,000 miles||4 years or 50,000 miles|
|BMW||4 years or 50,000 miles||4 years or 50,000 miles|
|Buick||5 years or 100,000 miles||4 years or 50,000 miles|
|Ford||5 years or 60,000 miles||3 years or 36,000 miles|
|Honda||5 years or 60,000 miles||3 years or 36,000 miles|
|Toyota||5 years or 60,000 miles||3 years or 36,000 miles|
How can you find out what type of warranty your used or new vehicle is covered by?
Lookup The VIN
The Vehicle Identification Number also commonly referred to as the VIN is a unique serial number or code that’s assigned to each motor vehicle in the United States. The VIN contains detailed information about the vehicle such as the vehicle type, plant it was manufactured in, accident history, and warranty information. The VIN can be found in several visible sports on the vehicle. You can find the VIN:
- The Vehicle Identification Number can be found right on the windshield on the driver’s side right under the windshield wiper blade just outside the exterior glass.
- You can also check on the driver’s door right on a sticker under the latch or the door jam. In some vehicles, it may be located near the side-view mirror.
- The VIN can also be found right under the hood near the engine compartment
- You can always check the vehicle’s registration and the insurance card for the VIN.
If you can’t find the VIN you can always call the dealership or the person you purchased the vehicle from.
How Many Miles Are On The Odometer?
How many miles a vehicle has on the odometer matters when determining whether the warranty is valid. This is because most auto warranties have miles limitations. For instance, as you can see from the chart above most basic warranties only last for 36,000 or 50,000 miles.
The odometer is located right behind the steering wheel on the instrument panel. You may have to turn the key in the on position to power the vehicle to see the numbers displayed on the odometer. If you’re past the mile limit outlined in the warranty then your vehicle is no longer covered under the warranty.
Contact The Dealership
If you’re having a hard time finding your vehicle’s warranty information or figuring out if the warranty is active you can contact the dealership. So if you own a Nissan SUV, you’ll need to call a Nissan dealership. If you were able to successfully locate the VIN all you have to do is provide the representative with the VIN. If you couldn’t find the VIN, you’ll probably have to drive up to the dealership. Either way, the dealership will be able to provide you with the status of any existing warranties as well as the terms.
CarFax is a great resource for finding out any information on a vehicle as long as you have the VIN. CarFax has become one of the most popular paid auto resources for searching for ads in the last few years with advertisements all over television. This website allows you to search for a vehicle’s history. CarFax is able to search through state DMV databases, insurance and dealer records. In addition to the warranty information, you’ll also find essential records that detail the vehicle’s accident history, airbag deployments, major repairs, and whether the vehicle was ever used for commercial purposes. Having this information at your fingertips is important when you are purchasing a used car.
New Car Warranties
If you bought your car brand new off the dealership lot then you can rest assured that it's covered by a basic warranty and a powertrain warranty. Both of these warranties have different coverage lengths.
A basic factory warranty often provides bumper-to-bumper coverage. This comprehensive coverage will cover the defect or fault of any component besides parts that are subject to normal wear such as the tires. Most basic warranties last for about three to five years starting from the date of purchase or until the odometer has 36,000 miles or 50,000 miles on it.
The Powertrain warranty covers manufacturing defects on parts that are responsible for transmitting power to the wheels such as the engine and transmission. Powertrain warranties typically last longer than Basic Coverage Warranties. The average time length of a Powertrain Warranty is about 60,000 miles or seven years.
Used Car Warranties – What You Should Know
No doubt, it can be a bit trickier assessing a warranty on a used car. After, the factory warranty was previously in the name of the original or previous owner. In a situation like this, you’ll need to consider important factor such as:
- Is the existing factory warranty transferable?
- Does the used car dealer provide a warranty?
- Is the vehicle covered by a state-specific warranty?
Existing warranties on used cars will need to be transferred to the current owner to be of any use. In order to transfer the warranty, whomever name is on the warranty will have to write or contact the auto warranty company and inform them that the vehicle has been sold. The name of the new owner will be provided so that the warranty can be transferred. Lease transfers should take place within the first thirty days of ownership.
Some warranties are identified by the VIN or the car rather than the owner’s name so the warranty doesn’t need to be transferred. However, some factory and dealership warranties are non-transferrable. Therefore, once the car is sold the warranty is voided.
Some states have a Used Vehicle Warranty law in place. This law requires that dealerships provide customers with a written warranty for any defects or faults that impair the vehicle’s safety. States that have this law are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
What If The Warranty Is Near Its Expiration Date?
If the warranty on the used car you purchased is about to expire you can always purchase an extended warranty if you desire the protection of added coverage. An extended warranty extends the manufacturer’s or factory warranty’s coverage for the replacement or repair of certain parts. Extended warranties serve as a safeguard against unexpected repairs for a specified period.
Consumers have the option of purchasing an extended warranty at any time before the original manufacturer’s or factory warranty expires. However, it’s important to note that these warranties come with a high price tag. Obtaining an extended warranty for a used car may be worth the cost since used cars are likely to wear faster. An extended warranty can be purchased through the automaker or the dealership where the vehicle was purchased. Extended warranties are transferable.
Car Warranties Aren’t Unconditional
Believe it or not, car warranties aren’t unconditional. Auto manufacturers and dealerships will only honor the warranty and hold up their end of the bargain if you adhere to the maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual. That means you’ll need to make sure you are properly maintaining your vehicle and having regular oil changes performed, keeping up with the fluid changes and wheel alignments. The auto warranty company may even want to see written evidence of maintenance so you should save your receipts.
Common Questions Regarding Car Warranties
Q: Can I check my car warranty online?
Accessing your car’s warranty information is simpler than ever. You can use resources like CarFax to find out about your vehicle’s warranty. All you have to do is go to the website and enter the VIN.
Q: Are used cars still under warranty?
This is a popular question. The only time a used vehicle will have a warranty is if the original factory warranty has yet to expire or it’s covered by an extended warranty. Certified Pre-owned vehicles are covered by a warranty that’s included in the cost of the vehicle. However, if you’re purchasing a used car that’s more than five years old, chances are it’s not covered with a factory warranty unless extended warranty coverage was purchased for the vehicle.
Q: What does a factory warranty cover?
A factory warranty covers systems or parts that may break down due to the manufacturer’s design. It’s important to note that the factory warranty doesn’t cover basic car maintenance and repair such as brakes, tires, and oil changes.
Q: Do you need a warranty on your car?
A factory or manufacturer’s warranty serves as an insurance policy that ensures that your car is covered by the manufacturer’s defects. An extended warranty may not be necessary if you are leasing a vehicle or if you don’t plan on keeping your vehicle past the length of the factory warranty.