No matter what type of warranty you own, some of your vehicle’s most important components will be protected. But does a car warranty cover routine maintenance as well?
In this article, we’ll explain what’s covered under car warranties, how to have your car serviced under warranty, and the best car warranty companies for routine maintenance. These recommendations are based on our review of the best extended car warranty companies in the industry.
Is Routine Maintenance Covered Under Warranty?
In most cases, a used car warranty does not cover routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations or replacements, and filter changes. Unless a contract specifically says otherwise, you are responsible for keeping up with scheduled maintenance. You’ll need to have your car serviced regularly to keep the warranty from being voided.
Car Warranty Coverage
What a car warranty covers can vary greatly, but most cover repairs for a certain period of time or number of miles. A manufacturer’s warranty on a new car will cover a wide range of parts from defects caused by mechanical failures or problems due to poor workmanship, and the term is often 3 years/36,000 miles.
For an aftermarket auto warranty, otherwise known as an extended warranty, coverage can be fairly similar to that of a new vehicle limited warranty. Bumper-to-bumper coverage takes care of nearly every major component of your vehicle, while powertrain coverage protects the bare minimum.
Car Warranty Terms
In the chart below, we list the warranty terms for popular car manufacturers and mention whether they offer maintenance coverage under separate plans.
|Automaker||Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty||Powertrain Warranty||Are Maintenance Plans Offered?|
|Ford||3 years/36,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles||✔|
|Hyundai||5 years/60,000 miles||10 years/100,000 miles||✔|
|Kia||5 years/60,000 miles||10 years/100,000 miles||✔|
|Subaru||3 years/36,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles||✔|
|Toyota||3 years/36,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles||✔|
What Is Not Covered Under A Car Warranty?
Most car warranties cover certain components but exclude others. After all, your powertrain, corrosion, emissions, and new car warranties don’t cover every car part. Generally, most vehicle service contracts will not cover the following items:
- Routine maintenance: Standard needs such as oil changes, tire rotations or replacements, and filter changes
- Brakes: Inspections or brake pad replacements
- Normal wear and tear: Issues such as exterior and interior scratches, breaks, or burns
- Damage: From collisions, natural disasters, or environmental factors
- Tampering: Issues caused by vandalism, misuse, or modifications
Five Ways to Save On Vehicle Costs
According to AAA, the average annual cost to own a small-sized sedan is just over $7,000. This includes taxes, fees, maintenance, insurance, licensing, and fuel costs – not to mention any car payments you may owe.
Fortunately, there are many ways to cut down on vehicle costs so you can put that extra money toward your other financial goals.
Tip #1: Keep Up With Maintenance
If your car is under warranty and you’re performing routine maintenance yourself rather than taking it to a dealership or repair shop, make sure you’re using the proper oil and fluids so you don’t damage the engine or other major powertrain parts.
After all, taking good care of your vehicle will help it last longer and reduce the chances of an unexpected and potentially costly breakdown. Carefully read your car’s owner manual and keep up with regular maintenance according to the recommended service schedule.
Most manufacturer maintenance schedules advise drivers to go in for tune-ups every 30,000 miles or so. While paying for these products and services costs more in the short term, it will save you money in the long run by increasing your vehicle’s lifespan.
To cover routine maintenance for a car that’s under warranty, take the following steps to keep your vehicle in good shape:
Typically, you should plan to change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles. However, for some cars and drivers, this may be too frequent. This is especially true if you use synthetic oils, which tend to last longer. Check the recommended oil change frequency and oil type according to your manufacturer.
While getting your oil changed too often won’t hurt your vehicle, you can get into trouble if you don’t have it changed often enough. Checking your engine oil monthly or having it changed as directed is essential for keeping your engine intact. Failing to change your oil when necessary will degrade your engine and can lead to maintenance issues such as engine blow-outs, which can have a big impact on your personal finances. You can either change the oil yourself or take it to a mechanic.
Tires wear down differently depending on where they are positioned on your vehicle. Based on your car and driving habits, certain tires will wear faster than others. To increase the longevity of your tires, it is important to have them rotated once every 4,000 miles or so. This will ensure even wear distribution, meaning you will not need to replace your tires as frequently.
Keeping your tires properly inflated reduces tread wear and increases fuel efficiency, lowering your gas costs.
Maintenance At Home
You can perform certain regular maintenance items at home with minimal tools and equipment. The following can be done yourself if you take the time to learn how:
- Check fluids: Check your brake, transmission, power steering, and coolant fluids for any leaks often. These fluids also must be kept at certain levels to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
- Replace the engine and air filters: Your car’s air filter needs to be changed at least once a year. If not, it can greatly affect your engine’s performance.
- Replace windshield wiper blades, fuses, and lightbulbs: Switching out damaged or worn-out windshield wiper blades is necessary to prevent potential damage to the glass or a decrease in visibility during a storm. You should also keep a particular eye on your fuses and lightbulbs to see if they also need to be replaced.
- Check belts, hoses, lights, and brakes: Having these items inspected regularly can ensure your car’s systems are in good condition and working properly.
- Battery cleaning: You should clean your battery periodically to ensure that no corrosion builds up and interferes with your battery’s ability to function. If your car is having trouble starting or you notice problems with the electrical parts of your car, you may need to clean the corrosion off the battery.
It is possible to change your own oil at home as well. However, changing your car’s oil is not quite as simple as the other items mentioned above. It is certainly one way to reduce costs, but many may opt to have a mechanic change their oil instead.
Take Care Of Issues As Soon As They Occur
In addition to regular maintenance, it’s important to address issues as soon as they arise. A small issue left unaddressed can quickly develop into a bigger, more expensive problem. When a maintenance light comes on or you hear a strange noise, have it checked out as soon as you can.
Tip #2: Keep Your Car For Longer
The minute you drive a new car off the lot, it depreciates in value. Your vehicle continues to depreciate as you drive it, but not nearly as significantly after the first year (and even less so after the ninth year of ownership). Depreciation in your car’s value is not a regular expense you will pay, but it will impact your budget when it comes time to trade in your vehicle.
The more often you trade in your old vehicles, the greater depreciation costs you will face. In other words, you will get a better value if you trade your car in between your ninth and tenth year of ownership than you would between your first and second year of ownership. If you keep your car in good condition and it is operable, it can be a good financial decision to wait until your depreciation is less significant before upgrading to the newest model.
Following this tip, of course, means keeping your vehicle in good shape so that mechanical issues do not become a liability. Keeping an older vehicle does run a greater risk of an expensive mechanical breakdown.
Should I Get An Extended Warranty On My Car?
You can guard against a potentially costly breakdown with an extended warranty, though this is not for all drivers. Carefully consider if an extended car warranty is worth it for you. If you do purchase an extended warranty, beware of the many low-value warranty companies and pick a provider with a good reputation and inexpensive plans, such as Toco. Toco is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), holds an A+ BBB rating, and has a customer review score of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Before signing any extended warranty contract, check your provider’s ratings on sites like the BBB and Trustpilot. You can also read customer complaints and see how the company responds. Companies like Toco will take care to address all posted complaints, typically to the customer’s satisfaction. You can get a free quote from the provider by visiting TocoWarranty.com.
Tip #3: Improve Your Driving Habits
Rapid acceleration and hard braking are bad for fuel efficiency. You can save greatly on gas costs by making sure to accelerate gently and cruise to a stop whenever possible.
Safe driving, such as not looking at your cell phone while on the road and not driving while intoxicated, also reduces the chances that you will be issued a costly ticket or get into an accident.
Tip #4: Lower Your Car Insurance Insurance Costs
The average cost of car insurance can be quite high. However, there are some ways you can potentially lower your premiums and start saving money.
Defensive Driving Class
Most insurers offer rate reductions to drivers that complete a defensive driving course. Contact your insurer to see if this is the case, and consider signing up for an approved class. These classes may charge a small registration fee but quickly pay for themselves in rate reductions.
Consider comparing quotes from a few of the best auto insurance companies. You may find better rates with a new insurer. Many car insurance companies even offer discounts to new customers that switch over from competitors.
Several insurers offer usage-based insurance discounts. These programs monitor your driving habits and offer reduced rates for safe driving and people who drive less frequently. One insurer, Metromile, is entirely usage-based and may be a good choice if you do not drive frequently.
Tip #5: Refinance Your Auto Loan
If you financed your vehicle and have to make regular auto loan payments, you may be able to refinance your auto loan to get better interest rates. By refinancing, you take out a lower-interest loan to pay off your current loan. Then, you start making payments on the lower-interest loan instead.
If you think that you were given a bad deal or if your credit score recently increased, looking into car loan refinancing is a good idea.
Does An Auto Warranty Cover Routine Maintenance?: Conclusion
Even though most car warranties don’t cover routine maintenance, there are a few third-party warranty companies that offer maintenance plans for things such as oil changes, brake pad replacements, and tire coverage. Endurance, Protect My Car, Olive, and ForeverCar are a few of the best warranty companies for dealing with routine maintenance needs.
It’s a good idea to get quotes from providers to see which coverage plan will work best for you.
Best Warranty Companies For Routine Maintenance
We rated some of the industry’s best used car warranty companies based on factors including coverage, warranty costs, transparency, and customer service. To see how these companies compare, check out our reviews of each provider below.
|Warranty Company||Overall Rating||Coverage||Cost||Customer Service|
|Protect My Car||4.3||4.1||4.1||4.5|
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance is one of the largest third-party extended warranty companies in the market, and it offers extensive car warranty protection through six coverage levels. Endurance warranty reviews reflect the provider’s positive service reputation, as does the company’s gold-level certification from the Vehicle Protection Association.
The EnduranceAdvantage™ plan includes coverage for mechanical breakdowns and maintenance through three levels: Preferred, Plus, and Prime. You can save hundreds on oil changes, engine checks, and brake pad replacements, as well as get access to perks such as roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement.
Be aware that Endurance does not offer vehicle service contracts in California.
Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Protect My Car reviews show that it’s a popular choice for drivers who want car warranties that cover routine maintenance. Offering comprehensive extended warranty coverage at an affordable price point, the company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 4.6-star average rating out of 5.0 from customers on Trustpilot.
The company’s Ambassador Maintenance Plans offer discounts of up to 75 percent on oil changes and tire rotations, as well as repairs for timing chains, air conditioning and heating systems, and electrical components. On top of this, Protect My Car’s Ambassador plans include perks such as rental car benefits, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a 30-day money back guarantee.
Olive: Best Online Warranty
Olive car warranties don’t cover routine maintenance, but the provider is still worth consideration for its affordable extended warranty plans, which make it easy to cover routine maintenance costs on your own.
Olive car warranty reviews reveal satisfaction with the company’s rates and online model, which helps keep prices among the industry’s lowest. With money left over due to Olive’s competitive pricing, motorists could have more to put toward routine maintenance.
ForeverCar: Strong Customer Service
ForeverCar holds a stellar industry reputation and a great selection of coverage options. The company has four vehicle protection plans that range from a nearly complete bumper-to-bumper new car warranty down to a basic powertrain warranty.
With ForeverCar’s Platinum Plus warranty plan, repair costs are covered for both mechanical breakdowns and wear-and-tear items such as windshield wipers, fuses, light bulbs, and brake pads. Deductibles range from $0 to $500, and you have the freedom to choose your preferred repair facility for all covered car repairs.
Routine Maintenance Covered Under Auto Warranty: FAQ
Below are frequently asked questions about whether routine maintenance costs are covered under an auto warranty.
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.