There are big changes happening at Buick, a brand that stretches back to 1899 and upon which General Motors was founded in 1908. Firstly, Buick, like Ford, is dropping sedans from its model lineup to focus on SUVs and crossovers.
More critically for buyers of any Buick model, however, there’s a major change in warranty coverage for 2021, and not for the better. In our 2019 survey of new-car limited warranties of 35 brands, we ranked Buick’s 11th. We were impressed by the brand’s 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain coverage.
All that changes for the 2021 model year. Buick has reduced bumper-to-bumper coverage to 3 years/36,000 miles, and powertrain coverage drops to 5 years/60,000 miles.
Before, Buick’s warranty was better than that of some luxury brands. Now, it is closer to those of several mainstream brands. There is an exception: if you should find a 2019 model year Buick in dealer inventory, or even a 2018 model, it will still be covered by the longer warranty.
A shorter warranty is usually a cost-cutting tactic, not a reflection of lower quality.
Buick’s warranty downgrade does, however, put a spotlight on considering an extended warranty, either from Buick or a third-party provider, for added peace of mind. We’ll compare both options and explain why we prefer third-party companies. First, let’s see how Buick does on quality.
Buick Warranty Overview
Let’s take a look at the coverage lengths for Buick’s factory warranty.
|Bumper-to-Bumper||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain||5 years/60,000 miles|
|Corrosion||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Rust-Through Coverage||6 years/100,000 miles|
What To Expect From Buick Quality
Buick was once known for an advertising slogan that it used from the 1930s until the 1960s: “When better automobiles are built, Buick will build them.” The slogan may sound hokey today, but the brand can boast of good quality.
In the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study from 2019, Buick registered 92 problems per 100 vehicles (less than one problem per vehicle, on average). That was just below Dodge, Lexus, and Toyota (all tied at 90), and just above the industry average of 93. The study surveys problems buyers encounter when a car is new, in this case within the first 90 days of ownership. What happens far down the road, when the warranty expires?
Now that Buick has shortened its warranties for 2020-2021 vehicles, the J.D. Power Dependability Study becomes an even more critical measurement for car buyers to consider. This study looks at 77 problem areas in 3-year-old vehicles, and there is some good news for Buick here.
After three years, Buicks registered an average of 118 problems per 100 vehicles, putting the brand behind only Lexus, Toyota, Porsche, and Chevrolet. Buick’s showing is better than the industry average (136). Keep in mind that this is an average across the entire model line. Not all Buick models have the same results. The J.D. power website offers more research tools, and Consumer Reports is also a good source to find reliability information of individual Buick models.
What The 2021 Buick Warranty Covers
The bumper-to-bumper section of the 2021 Buick new vehicle limited warranty is pretty simply stated. It covers parts and labor “to correct defects in materials or workmanship, during the warranty period (except normal maintenance).” The warranty transfers to a new owner if you sell the car.
Buick does not offer any electric or hybrid vehicles for 2021, so there’s no coverage listed for their components. For many car brands, the corrosion warranty specifically covers “perforation,” meaning rust-through a sheet metal body part. Buick makes these two separate things and covers them differently:
- Corrosion: Buick’s warranty covers “all body and sheet metal components” against corrosion during the warranty period. Remember, for 2020-2021 Buicks, that’s 3 years/36,000 miles. If you find a 2019 model, it’s 4 years/50,000 miles.
- Rust-through: This part is more generous. Buick covers the vehicle for rust-through, which it defines as “an actual hole in the sheet metal,” for 6 years/100,000 miles on 2020-2021 models and 6 years/unlimited miles on 2018 and 2019 models.
- Courtesy Transportation: If your vehicle requires warranty repairs, alternate transportation, or reimbursement of certain transportation expenses, coverage may be available under the Courtesy Transportation Program.
- Roadside Assistance: 24/hour roadside assistance.
What Is Not Covered By Buick’s Warranty
Buick does not specifically mention maintenance parts, such as brake rotors and pads, not being covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty. However, it does exclude “normal vehicle maintenance,” and so, presumably, that would include any associated parts.
It’s under the powertrain warranty where Buick has a rather long list of major components that are not covered:
- Sensors, wiring, and connectors
- Engine radiator, coolant hoses, coolant, and heater core
- Starter motor
- Engine/powertrain control module and/or module programming
- The entire pressurized fuel system (in-tank fuel pump, pressure lines, fuel rail(s), regulator, injectors and return line)
- Transmission cooling lines, hoses, radiator, sensors, wiring, and electrical connectors
Those components, should they fail, could lead to expensive repairs. Some components, such as in the fuel system, are covered under the 2-year/24,000-mile federal emissions warranty. Such coverage is longer for vehicles purchased in California and states that follow its emissions regulations.
Like other brands, Buick’s warranty does not cover damage resulting from misuse, accidents, or improper maintenance. Damage from contaminated gasoline is not covered, either.
Buick Repair Costs
Considering all of the items not covered by the Buick powertrain warranty, it makes sense to see what replacing such things might cost. Checking with RepairPal, we pulled a few examples:
|2019 Buick Envision||Replace knock sensor||$101–$173|
|2017 Buick Regal||Replace starter||$276–$1,392*|
|2017 Buick Enclave||Replace heater core||$400–$472|
|2017 Buick Encore||Replace fuel injector||$836–$1,224|
*Cost depends on engine option and front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Warranty For Buick Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
The General Motors Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program covers Buick, Chevy, and GMC. (Cadillac has its own separate program.) Under the terms of the GM CPO program, the bumper-to-bumper warranty for those 3 brands is 12 months/12,000 miles.
The GM/Buick CPO powertrain coverage for 2020-2021 is still pretty good at 6 years/100,000 miles, although the exclusions mentioned in Buick’s new car powertrain warranty still apply. The powertrain coverage runs from the original in-service date when the car was new. So, for example, if you buy a 3-year-old certified pre-owned Buick with 30,000 miles, the remaining powertrain coverage would give you 3 years or 70,000 miles of covered driving.
The GM CPO warranty offers some solid benefits, including:
- $0 deductible
- Transferable to subsequent owners
- Roadside assistance (for same coverage period as powertrain)
- Courtesy transportation (for 12 months/12,000 miles)
Buick’s CPO program does not indicate availability of GM-backed extended warranties, but you can buy a third-party extended warranty on your own.
Buick’s Extended Limited Warranty
With Buick offering reduced warranty coverage on 2020-2021 models, you may want the peace of mind offered by extended coverage. The available Buick Extended Limited Warranty is quite literally an extension in time and miles of the original factory warranty. It covers the whole vehicle and the powertrain and also has the same exclusions as the original new car warranties.
Also, as with the original factory warranty, the Buick extended warranty differs between 2020 and pre-2020 models, but the difference comes down to 4,000 miles.
- On 2020 Buicks, the extension takes the warranty to 5 years/60,000 miles, meaning it adds 2 years/24,000 miles to the original warranty period.
- On 2018 and 2019 models, the Buick extended warranty adds 2 years/20,000 miles to take total coverage to 6 years/70,000 miles from the car’s in-service date when new.
Here’s a critical point: if you want the Buick Extended Limited Warranty on your new car or SUV, you must purchase it when you buy the car. That can add pressure during the sales process. Some brands allow you to purchase their extended factory warranties at any time within the original factory warranty coverage period.
Pros And Cons: Buick Limited Extended Warranty
|A true extension of the original, GM-backed Buick factory warranty||Must buy at the time of vehicle purchase; puts added pressure in the sales process|
|$0 deductible for covered repairs.||Same powertrain exclusions as original warranty period, leaving many components without coverage as the vehicle ages and accumulates mileage|
|Automatically transfers to new owner if you sell the vehicle.||Covered repairs must be performed at one of Buick’s 1,900 dealerships. In a mechanical breakdown situation, you need to have the vehicle towed to a Buick dealer for repairs.|
Buick Protection Plans
Buick also vehicle service contracts called Buick Protection Plans. These aren’t extensions of your limited warranty, though the highest level, Platinum Coverage, does cover over 1,000 parts. The lower level, Silver Coverage, covers the powertrain, steering, electrical, enhanced electrical, brakes, air conditioner, and seal and gaskets.
These plans are closer to a typical extended warranty, but the coverage options are pretty limited. You can only be covered up to 60 months/60,000 miles. Buick starts its extended warranty prices at $1,319 for 24 months/24,000 miles of coverage.
Is A Third-Party Extended Warranty A Better Value For Your Buick?
Given the changes to the Buick new vehicle warranty for 2020-2021, and the requirement to buy a Buick extended warranty at the time of vehicle purchase if you want one, it makes sense to evaluate third-party warranty options before you go to a dealer. Based on our research, we ranked 12 top aftermarket warranties.
Right off the bat, a key benefit of a third-party warranty compared to Buick’s extended warranty is that you can buy it after you purchase a new or certified pre-owned Buick. Some aftermarket warranties can be purchased even after the factory warranty coverage expires. So, you have a lot more flexibility and less pressure to make a purchase when you buy the car.
Use the tool below to get free quotes from our top three picks:
Among other benefits, third-party warranties offer a wider choice of coverage options than Buick’s extended warranty options. For example, you can buy everything from powertrain-only warranty to a full-vehicle warranty with up to 10 years/150,000 miles of coverage, such as our pick for used cars, CARCHEX, offers. Our best overall provider, Endurance, even offers coverage up to 15 years/200,000+ miles.
Third-party warranties generally cost less than factory extended warranties for similar coverage. Also, with a third-party warranty, you can have a covered repair performed at one of tens of thousands of repair facilities across the U.S., including Buick dealers, local independent shops, and national chains such as AAMCO, Goodyear, Midas, and Meineke. That can be a lot more convenient than having to find a nearby Buick dealer in the event of a breakdown.
Also, you’ll usually have the choice of deductibles for covered repairs, usually either $0 or $100. Choosing the latter reduces the upfront cost of the warranty.
For a no-pressure evaluation, read the sample contracts online before you buy. You’ll see exactly what is and isn’t covered, and be able to best determine what kind of coverage makes sense for you.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.