What Is A Car Warranty?
A car warranty comes with a new car when purchased from a dealership and is commonly referred to as a manufacturer or factory warranty. The warranty is an agreement to cover any damage to your vehicle that is caused by manufacturer error or faulty workmanship. It’s a guarantee that your vehicle is in proper working condition when you drive it off the lot, and that if any parts fail prematurely, you won’t have to pay to repair or replace them.
The manufacturer warranty is made up of a few levels of coverage, each protecting different components for different amounts of time. Each carmaker has different terms for what the factory warranty covers and how long it lasts.
How To Check The Warranty On A Car
Your manufacturer’s warranty will expire after a specified amount of time or mileage. For example, Ford’s warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for 3 years/36,000 miles and powertrain coverage for 5 years/60,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you’re unsure if your coverage is still in effect and are wondering how to check the warranty on your car, there are a couple of ways to do so:
- Use your vehicle identification number (VIN): Your VIN can be found in different places depending on your vehicle make and model. Some common places are on the inside edge of the driver’s side door or the driver’s side of the windshield. If you are able to locate your VIN, you can contact the dealership where you bought your car and a representative will be able to pull up the details of your warranty using the number.
- Check the odometer and model year: The simplest way to find out if your car is under warranty is by checking the odometer and model year. If your warranty lasts for 5 years/60,000 miles and your car is over five years old or has an odometer reading higher than 60,000, then your coverage is expired. If you do not know the mileage limits of your warranty, check your owner’s manual or warranty information booklet, or call a dealership.
Different components of your vehicle are covered for different amounts of time, so it is important to clarify all of the terms of your warranty with the dealership so you are aware of what is covered and for how long.
Maintaining Your Car Warranty
If your coverage has not expired but isn’t being honored at the dealership, it is possible that your warranty has been voided. If you violate the terms outlined in your warranty paperwork, you will no longer be eligible for parts protection. Here are some ways you can avoid problems with your warranty:
- Keep up with routine maintenance: Follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to avoid damage caused by neglect or improper repairs. If you don’t keep your maintenance records, you may not be able to get coverage for certain parts.
- Read the fine print: If you read your vehicle’s warranty terms and understand them in full, you will be less likely to violate them by accident.
- Use the vehicle as intended: Using your vehicle for offroading or racing will void your warranty.
Do You Need An Extended Warranty?
If your warranty is about to expire or is no longer active, you might want to look into an extended warranty. Extended warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, can be purchased from your vehicle manufacturer or a third-party company.
A manufacturer extended warranty can be purchased from the dealership and will kick in when your factory warranty expires. Every carmaker has different coverage options, but the plans will typically act as an extension of the powertrain warranty or bumper-to-bumper warranty you already had.
You can also purchase an extended warranty plan from a third-party company. If you decide to go this route, we recommend that you look into reputable extended warranty companies like Toco. Toco provides three different levels of extended warranties to choose from that range from basic to comprehensive coverage.
With Toco, you can take your vehicle to get serviced at any certified repair shop or dealership, which is a nice perk compared to manufacturer-backed extended warranties that require drivers to have their vehicles serviced at a dealership or brand service center. You can get a free quote from Toco by visiting TocoWarranty.com.
Recommendations For Extended Warranty Providers
There are many warranty companies out there, and our team has narrowed down the best extended car warranty providers so that you know which ones to trust. We evaluated companies based on coverage, cost, transparency, customer service, and industry standing. You can get free quotes from three of our highest-rated picks – Endurance, CARCHEX, and Protect My Car – below.