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Factory Warranties

A factory warranty is a warranty through the car’s manufacturer and can be used for a specific time or mileage after the purchase of the vehicle.

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Updated: Sep 17, 2023

If you’ve ever shopped for a car, you’ve likely heard the term factory warranty. While its exact definition can vary in different situations, it always refers to some type of coverage that is offered by the original brand or manufacturer. In this article, we’ll cover all the details of factory warranties and talk about extended warranties offered by manufacturers and other providers.

Speed Reads:

  • A factory warranty covers car repairs within a specific time frame and/or mileage after you purchase a car from a dealership
  • A new vehicle limited warranty often includes a powertrain warranty as well as coverage for costs related to maintenance, corrosion, and emissions
  • Bumper-to-bumper factory warranty lengths often range from 3 years/36,000 miles to 4 years/50,000 miles.

In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about factory warranties. Once your factory warranty expires, you may still wish to maintain coverage on your vehicle to ensure your peace of mind. Our team also researched the top aftermarket auto warranties that you can look into once the terms of your factory warranty are over.

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What Is A Factory Warranty?

The “factory warranty” pays for car repairs within a specific time frame and/or mileage after the purchase of a car. A new vehicle limited warranty is provided by the car manufacturer, and these factory warranties most commonly apply to new cars. They can include a powertrain limited warranty, maintenance, corrosion, and emissions coverage. 

Factory warranties are different from other kinds of warranties because they are backed by the actual manufacturer. A big difference between a factory warranty and a manufacturer warranty is that you don’t have to pay for a standard factory warranty. It is automatically included with your new car, though some forms may require a deductible for certain repairs.

Today, practically all brands offer manufacturer’s warranties on new cars. What these warranties cover differs between makes and models, but the basics are similar. Since major car brands are competing in the same marketplace, shoppers expect that most factory warranties will offer similar core coverages, though the warranty details can differ between brands.



What Does A Factory Warranty Cover?

The term manufacturer warranty really includes more than one warranty. To understand what those are, we need to make a quick distinction between inclusionary and exclusionary warranties.

Inclusionary Vs. Exclusionary Warranty

If a factory warranty is inclusionary, the contract will explicitly list every part that is included in the coverage. If a warranty is exclusionary, the contract lists the excluded parts instead. Exclusionary coverage typically covers more items, since there are thousands of parts that make up a car. However, the circumstances under which those parts are covered can vary.

Below are the main types of coverage that are typically included in a factory warranty.

Basic Limited Warranty

Also called bumper-to-bumper coverage, a basic limited warranty covers defects in materials or workmanship for many parts of the car. This is an exclusionary warranty that often excludes wear items like brakes, brake pads and tires, as well as environmental damage like external rust. The bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover routine maintenance like oil changes or damage from lack of such maintenance. Damage from misuse – like taking a Cadillac offroad – isn’t covered, and acts of God, like flooding from a natural disaster, are also not covered.

Factory Powertrain Warranty

The second core coverage that is a part of almost all factory warranties is the powertrain warranty. Powertrain warranties will usually cover the following:

  • Engine, including internal parts and the engine block
  • Transmission or transaxle
  • Drivetrain 

The powertrain warranty is usually inclusionary, so the contract will list the parts that are covered. Under this warranty, coverage is only for defective parts or installations that were made at the factory. Some powertrain warranties may require a deductible for repairs.

Factory Warranty Services

There are a few more coverage types that can come with a manufacturer warranty. These include:

  • Corrosion coverage: This warranty covers the cost of replacing sheet metal that has rusted through. It usually requires a hole to have formed in the metal, and it may not cover surface rust. Corrosion coverage can vary between different parts of the car.
  • Roadside assistance: Many brands today offer roadside assistance. These programs can be tied to the powertrain warranty period, or they can have a separate duration. Some may also require deductibles or only offer allowances toward roadside assistance.
  • Emissions warranty: Federal law requires emissions parts to be covered for defects. Most emissions parts are required to be covered for two years or 24,000 miles, though some parts like the catalytic converter or emissions control unit are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. Manufacturers can follow the minimum guidelines or offer more coverage for these parts.
  • Maintenance: Some auto brands cover regular maintenance for a period of time. This coverage is usually short in duration. For example, Toyota covers regular maintenance on new cars for two years or 25,000 miles.

These are all fairly standard components of a factory warranty

Original Equipment Manufacturers

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can offer warranties on specific parts. For example, Mopar offers a 2-year/unlimited-miles warranty on many of its parts for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles.

That means a transmission part replaced toward the end of the powertrain warranty could be covered for another two years. Since Mopar is the parts and service division of Chrysler, this can be called a factory warranty, though it’s not what most people mean when they use the term.

CPO Warranty

Many car brands offer certified pre-owned (CPO) options. These are used cars that have been inspected and refurbished either by the manufacturer or another authority. They will typically come with some factory warranty coverage, as well. The factory warranty on a CPO car can continue the full coverage term, extend coverage, or start as a new contract with the second buyer.

If you’re buying a used car that is not CPO, make sure you have the previous owner transfer any unexpired warranties to you. Most factory warranties are transferable, though the process isn’t automatic and may require a small fee. With a transferred warranty, the car is covered through the original warranty period in most cases, though you might not have perks like roadside assistance.



How Long Is A Factory Warranty?

Looking at the bumper-to-bumper warranty, the shortest duration on the market is generally 3 years/36,000 miles. Many brands, including Subaru, Nissan, and Mazda offer this. The factory warranty period offered by most brands is 4 years/50,000 miles. While these are the brands’ general warranty periods, there can be exceptions.

Let’s break that down a bit. These coverage periods have a specified number of years and miles. Your factory warranty expires when you meet either of those limits. If you work from home and rarely drive, you might have many miles left when you meet the time limit.

Alternatively, you could burn through a manufacturer warranty with extensive driving. In that case, your five-year warranty could expire after only three if you hit the mileage limit. Currently, there are no unlimited bumper-to-bumper factory warranties

Powertrain Warranty Duration

We see longer coverage options when looking at powertrain warranties. In all cases, powertrain warranties offer coverage periods that are either the same as or longer than the brand’s bumper-to-bumper warranty. That’s because the powertrain warranty covers far fewer parts, and these parts should last if the manufacturer built a solid vehicle.

While there aren’t any fully unlimited powertrain factory warranties on the market today, Hyundai, Genesis, Mitsubishi, and Kia all offer 10 years/100,000 miles for new buyers. That is the best on the market right now, though Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram have offered lifetime powertrain warranties in the past – between December of 2007 and 2009.

Another thing to note is that the warranties for 10 years or 100,000 miles just mentioned only apply to the original owner and are not transferable. Any subsequent buyers will get a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty retroactive from the original purchase date.

Best Car Factory Warranty

If you’re in search of a new vehicle, the coverage associated with the factory warranty could be an important factor in your decision. Let’s examine the term lengths associated with a few popular manufacturers.

Volkswagen6 years/
72,000 miles
6 years/
72,000 miles
7 years/
100,000 miles
3 years/
36,000 miles
Hyundai5 years/
60,000 miles
10 years/
100,000 miles
7 years/
unlimited miles
5 years/
unlimited miles
Cadillac4 years/
50,000 miles
6 years/
70,000 miles
6 years/
unlimited miles
6 years/
70,000 miles
BMW4 years/
50,000 miles
4 years/
50,000 miles
12 years/
unlimited miles
4 years/
unlimited miles
Ford3 years/
36,000 miles
5 years/
60,000 miles
5 years/
unlimited miles
5 years/
60,000 miles
Toyota3 years/
36,000 miles
5 years/
60,000 miles
5 years/
unlimited miles
2 years/
unlimited miles

While this table isn’t a comparison of all warranties on the market, it’s a representative sample. 



Is My Car Still Under Factory Warranty?

Whether it’s been a few years since you bought your car, or you just bought a used one, finding out if you still have factory warranty coverage is relatively easy. The first step is to locate your vehicle identification number (VIN).

Some automakers allow you to search for your car’s warranty information on a website. However, make sure you can log in or register with your VIN number and see information about your exact vehicle. Don’t just go by the generic warranty for that model year, since cars can be bought and put in service up to a year ahead of time.

A better way is to call a dealership of your car’s make. Ask them to look up your warranty coverage through your VIN in their database. They will be able to see the in-service date and tell you if your coverage goes through January or December, for example. You can do this even if you purchased your used car from a private seller. All brands should have dealership locators online for you to use if you don’t already have a phone number to call.

Drawbacks Of A Manufacturer Warranty

The one constant between all manufacturer’s warranties today is that they expire. Most manufacturers allow you to extend your warranty, but that is not included in the regular price of the car. 

While a factory warranty can’t require you to go to the dealership for repairs, it’s a good idea to do so. That’s because the dealership can record each service in its database. This makes it easy to keep track of your service history. A lapse in maintenance can void a manufacturer’s warranty, while a good service history can help you sell your car later on.

Toward the end of your factory warranty, it’s also a good idea to take your car into the shop and see if anything needs to be fixed. That way you can make sure any covered part gets replaced if needed. When your factory warranty expires, whether it’s a bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranty, you’ll have to cover the full cost of repairs unless you have extended protection in place.



Should I Extend My Car Factory Warranty?

The main thing to do when presented with an extended warranty at the dealership is to sit down and read the whole contract. If you have current coverage from your factory warranty it is usually unnecessary to extend coverage, especially if it overlaps with your current plan. However, if your protection term is coming to an end it may be time to compare plans from both the dealership and third parties.

To help you make a decision, we’ve provided a guide to what an extended warranty is, your options for vehicle service contracts, and car repair costs in the sections below.

What is an Extended Warranty?

An extended warranty, in strict terms, is a warranty offered by the manufacturer that expands the coverage period for your vehicle. However, the term is also used to describe vehicle service contracts, which are dealer and third-party warranties that offer a range of coverage options.

Some extended auto warranties will start when your manufacturer warranty expires, and some will begin the day you purchase them and overlap with your current coverage. Make sure you understand the terms, exclusions, and limits before you add it to your new car

Manufacturer Extended Warranty

Looking at a manufacturer-backed extended warranty, you usually have fewer choices for coverage compared to third party options. This is an add-on that many dealers offer at the time of purchase. The brand often requires you to have service performed at your dealership to keep the extended warranty valid. Also, some dealer extended warranties are only available to purchase when buying a new car, or within a specific time frame.

Third-Party Car Warranty

Another option for extended protection for your vehicle is to go with a third-party warranty. This contract obligates a service organization to cover parts and labor for whatever repairs are outlined in the warranty. The nice thing about these warranty plans is that they often let you visit any repair shop you’d like, and many pay the shop directly.

Infographic showing why consumers choose a specific extended auto warranty, as revealed by our warranty survey.

Benefits Of Third-Party Warranties

The two main benefits of third-party extended warranties are that they have flexible terms and they preserve your monthly budget forecasting. Typically, you can find extended warranty options that apply even for older vehicles or used vehicles with high mileage. This is not the case with factory warranties, which usually have to be purchased in a short time frame.

Car Repair Costs

Cars are complex machines and large expenses aren’t uncommon. If you’re able to plan for sudden bills for replacement parts like this, that’s great. However, many people aren’t. Young people and college students often drive older model vehicles that are at risk for expensive repairs. Additionally, they usually aren’t as established in their careers as older generations, and one repair can use up a whole paycheck.

Average car repair costs tend to be around $652 per year, but the actual repair prices vary by vehicle make, model, and age. If an extended warranty is over the cost of your vehicle’s annual repair estimates it may not be a good investment. However, if you are particularly worried about expensive part breakdowns it can give you peace of mind.



Factory Warranties: Conclusion

This article went into great detail on everything you need to know about your vehicle’s factory warranty. The most important thing to remember is that the factory warranty will expire, and you will have to get an extended warranty to enjoy continued coverage. Below, we will help you decide whether or not you need an extended warranty on your vehicle.

Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?

What it really boils down to is if you want to make a reasonable payment for peace of mind, or if you’d rather budget for costly repairs on your own.

Since extended vehicle warranties aren’t limited to manufacturers, there are many options on the market. To narrow things down, we wanted to find out which companies offered the best service and value. Recently, we reviewed and compared the top third-party extended car warranty companies. A few companies rose to the top, including Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield.

Endurance Warranty

Our choice for the warranty provider with the Best Coverage is Endurance. The provider offers direct-to-consumer extended warranties, unlike many third-party brokers in the extended warranty industry. This means warranty services all come directly from Endurance, and the company handles all claims directly. There’s no middleman or underwritten provider, and excellent customer service during the quote and claims processes is a focus of many of the positive Endurance warranty reviews.

Benefits to using Endurance include:

  • Ability to choose any licensed repair shop
  • Direct claims
  • One free year of the Endurance Elite Benefits, which includes roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, towing coverage, key fob replacement, and repair financing
  • Zero-interest monthly payment plans

To learn more, check out our Endurance warranty review.

CARCHEX Warranty

In our research, CARCHEX was the company that stood out as the provider that is Best for Used Cars. CARCHEX has been in business for over 20 years and maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 

CARCHEX guarantees that calling in for a quote won’t put you on the line with a high-pressure salesperson. When you call, CARCHEX will put you in contact with someone who can help you make sense of the plans.

Some things are team liked about CARCHEX include:

  • It has been endorsed by major brands like Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and CARFAX and has received numerous recognitions
  • The company makes its customers’ satisfaction a top priority

Check out our CARCHEX review to learn more. 

CarShield Warranty

CarShield also stood out in our research because it offers the Best Monthly Payments. CarShield offers a wide range of coverage options, including plans for high-tech and specialized vehicles like motorcycles and ATVs. Another nice thing about CarShield is that many of its plans are available on a month-to-month basis.

Some advantages of CarShield are:

  • Most plans include perks like 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement
  • You either pay $0 or a small deductible of up to $100 at the repair shop
  • You can go to any United States or Canadian certified repair facility
  • CarShield pays the repair shop directly for covered services
  • The provider has over 40,000 Trustpilot reviews

Learn more about this provider in our CarShield warranty review.

Manufacturer Car Warranty: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about factory warranty coverage plans:

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