The company says 10 years/100,000 miles, but what’s covered and for how long?
UPDATE: The original version of this article included incorrect information about the start date and transferability of Kia's warranty, which has been corrected.
One of the benefits of a new car is the fact that it comes with a manufacturer’s factory warranty. And when you’re spending a premium on a new vehicle, it’s worth digging into the specifics of the factory warranty.
The warranty offered by Kia is often referred to as one of the best in the industry. But how true are these claims, and does the contract itself have limitations, exceptions, or loopholes? Keep reading to learn what Kia's warranty covers, its pros and cons, and why purchasing an extended warranty can provide peace of mind even with the industry's best factory warranty. We'll also tell you why, if you do purchase an extended warranty, we recommend you purchase one from CARCHEX.
In this article:
- How Long Is Kia's Warranty?
- What Does A Kia Warranty Cover?
- What’s Not Covered By Kia's Warranty?
- What Does The Fine Print Say?
- Our Conclusion
- Should You Consider A Kia Extended Warranty?
How Long Is Kia's Warranty?
A car is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, and, when you buy any new product, you expect it to perform according to the seller’s promises and your expectations. This is, in a nutshell, why car warranties exist. Car manufacturers stand behind the quality and durability of their vehicles by providing new owners with one or more warranties that promise repairs in the case of defects or a breakdown.
On average, most new car factory warranties last 3 years/36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Most automakers also include a separate powertrain warranty as well, which usually lasts 5 years/60,000 miles, whichever comes first. A powertrain is your car's engine and the driveline that transmits its power to the wheels.
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Kia, however, stands at the forefront of the industry with one of the longest powertrain warranty terms on the market. Kia debuted its 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on January 1, 2008 and, according to this Kia dealer, every Kia vehicle manufactured and sold since then has come with that coverage. As of today, only a few other car manufacturers provide warranties as long as Kia, such as Hyundai and Mitsubishi.
The length of time a company is willing to stand behind its product is a strong statement about the company’s belief in its own workmanship, materials, and the overall quality of its products and services. If this weren’t the case, Kia would essentially be putting millions of dollars on the line by honoring warranties for such a lengthy period of time.
What Does A Kia Warranty Cover?
Kia's warranty is known as the 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program, and while those numbers have massive initial appeal, it’s important to pull back the curtain, shine a flashlight on the fine print, and determine whether this warranty is all it’s cracked up to be.
The 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program provides the following coverage for new Kia vehicles:
- 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty: The lengthiest coverage, this warranty applies to the powertrain only (engine, transmission, and elements like the axles and driveshafts).
- 5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty: This is Kia’s bumper-to-bumper warranty, which covers almost all of the vehicle’s elements with the exception of common “wear and tear” items like brake pads, windshield wiper blades, and tires.
- 5-year/100,000-mile limited anti-perforation warranty: This warranty provides protection against corrosion and perforation of exterior body panels from the inside out. It does not, however, protect against perforation from the outside in such as sand, hail, stones, or perforation by accidental damage.
- 5-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance: These services, limited to $75 per occurrence, include towing to the nearest authorized Kia dealer, gas delivery, flat tire assistance, jump start assistance, trip interruption benefits, and more.
Again, the most noteworthy aspect of Kia's warranty is the term lengths. Both the powertrain and limited (bumper-to-bumper) warranties are almost twice as long as the industry standard.
What’s Not Covered By Kia's Warranty?
Keep in mind, like most manufacturer warranties, Kia factory warranties don’t cover everything. Below are some of the expenses you can expect to pay for, if you're just relying on your Kia warranty:
- Damage from collisions
- Damage from "misuse" of your Kia, such as driving over curbs or hazardous objects
- Alterations or modifications
- Damage due to a lack of regular maintenance or incorrect fuel, oil, or lube
- Environmental damage, such as road salt or hail
- Wear and tear
- Damage caused by the consumer, such as spills or burns on carpet or surfaces
- Window scratches and breaks
- Damage from installing incorrectly sized tires
What Does The Fine Print Say?
Kia makes affordable and generously backed vehicles. The 10-year/100,000-mile Kia warranty, offered on all Kia models sold in the U.S., is the automaker’s claim to fame, and it’s one of the reasons the brand has become more popular among consumers since 2008. Without a doubt, it's one of the longest warranty periods in the industry, but the warranty itself has several conditions that shouldn’t be overlooked.
1. Not Fully Transferable
The vast majority of new car factory warranties are fully transferable to a subsequent owner whenever the car is sold. However, Kia’s famous powertrain warranty is not fully transferable to subsequent owners. Once the vehicle is sold, the length of the powertrain warranty is automatically reduced from a 10-year/100,000-mile term to a 5-year/60,000-mile term. This shouldn’t turn buyers off from purchasing a Kia, as the second owner will still enjoy a warranty term comparable to other manufacturers in the automobile industry, but it’s an important distinction to note.
2. Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Exceptions
Something else we noticed is many items that would be covered under the limited basic warranty for the full five years have shorter terms. For example:
- Air conditioner refrigerant charge is covered for 12 months/unlimited mileage.
- The original battery in any Kia is only covered for 3 years/36,000 miles. Only a completely defective battery is deemed replaceable.
- The same 3-year/36,000-mile coverage length applies to the vehicle’s audio system, entertainment system, and paint.
3. Surprising Limitations
While Kia's warranty covers a lot of parts, it doesn’t cover everything. Expected exceptions caused by things like inept maintenance by the car owner and accidental damage are listed, but surprising exceptions like some repairs related to the UVO system (Kia's in-vehicle media controller and infotainment system) are also in the contract. Also, in order to receive warranty service, owners are required to have their Kia serviced at an authorized Kia dealership.
4. Kia Warranty Benefits
Kia’s Roadside Assistance Program offers 5 years/60,000 miles of roadside assistance. This is a nice safety net for drivers, as they’ll have access to a Kia-staffed, toll-free hotline 24/7, even on holidays.
Benefits also include towing to a Kia dealership or alternate service location, gas delivery, flat tire assistance, and more, with up to $75 in coverage per occurrence. According to the warranty contract, there is no limit on the number of roadside assistance incidents covered per car or driver. However, Kia does reserve the right to limit or deny these services when the claims or service requests are excessive in frequency.
A simple way to describe Kia’s factory warranty is, in fact, the way they choose to describe it: limited. While powertrain coverage is exceptionally lengthy, certain parts only receive protection for a few years. There’s quite a bit of fine print when it comes to eligibility for certain parts and what coverage is transferable.
Should You Consider A Kia Extended Warranty?
Everyone wants to have a reliable car that’s affordable to repair or maintain. That’s one of the reasons many opt to purchase extended auto protection from either dealerships or third-party warranty companies after the manufacturer’s factory warranty has expired.
Extended car warranties provide peace of mind throughout a car’s lifetime – especially if your Kia’s 10-year warranty has expired or the coverage exclusions have increased (after the 5-year mark). These are service contracts that offset the costs of covered repairs and replacements, which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Kia is known for producing vehicles that suit a variety of budgets and styles – the Kia Soul with its spacious cabin and funky design, the family-friendly Kia Sorento, and the more refined luxury sedan known as the Kia Cadenza. The company’s automobiles consistently rank among the most reliable in the industry, according to RepairPal and Autotrader. The Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power surveyed problems owners had with their vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership, and Kia came out on top.
However, studies like this don’t examine long-term reliability, and Kias aren’t perfect.
Most Kias have at least a 10-percent probability of needing an extensive repair within the vehicle’s lifetime, and even simple repairs can be costly. For example, alternator repairs for a Kia Soul can cost several hundred dollars, and a Kia Sportage with a bad AC compressor can run you close to $1,000 to replace.
The best way to protect yourself against expensive repair bills after Kia's factory warranty has expired is an extended warranty. We recommend getting a quick, free quote for your Kia vehicle from our reviews team's top-rated provider, CARCHEX:
No. 1 overall, beating the competition in company reputation, coverage options, and customer service.