Ford’s factory warranty lasts for a few years, but what’s the best way to extend your coverage?
If you’re considering a new Ford car, SUV, or pickup truck, it makes sense to learn about its warranty. Ford's standard factory warranty covers your new vehicle for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Though that’s similar to what other car brands offer, there are some that offer longer standard warranties.
Ford, like many car brands, describes its standard warranty’s coverage as “bumper to bumper.” Does that really mean it covers every single part? We’ve gone through the Ford factory warranty to summarize the coverage for you, explaining what’s covered and what isn’t.
In this article:
- Ford Factory Warranty: The Basics
- Powertrain Warranty
- Corrosion Protection: Limited In Scope
- Ford Factory Warranty Tire Coverage
- What The Ford Warranty Doesn’t Cover
- Cost of Common Ford Repairs
- How Good Is Ford’s Optional Extended Warranty?
If you keep a vehicle longer than three years, as most American car buyers do, you might want to consider how you’ll handle repair costs when the standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty coverage runs out. One study reveals that buyers are keeping their vehicles an average of nearly seven years. According to the same study, some are keeping them 15 years or more.
You could buy an extended warranty to add protection well beyond the standard warranty period, and you don’t have to make that decision when you buy the car. We looked at Ford’s extended warranty choices, and, having compared them to the best extended warranty brands, we recommend choosing a third-party provider.
Ford Factory Warranty: The Basics
Ford’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty shields you from the cost of repairing defective parts or workmanship for nearly every part on the car. As mentioned, this initial bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage lasts 3 years/36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Many know the term “bumper to bumper warranty,” as many car brands use it. This is the warranty that essentially covers the entire new Ford vehicle. Like many brands’ factory warranties, Ford’s does not cover regular maintenance parts such as air filters and oil filters, windshield wiper blades, and brake pads.
The powertrain is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles, which is also the coverage period for Ford’s roadside assistance. The powertrain includes the engine, transmission, and all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, if so equipped. If you buy a Ford F-150 or Super Duty pickup truck equipped with an optional diesel engine, its engine warranty coverage lasts runs for 5 years/100,000 miles.
By the way, if you sell your Ford before the warranty expires, any remaining coverage transfers to the new owner. Ford’s optional extended warranties are also transferable to future buyers, which can help make your car more attractive when you sell or trade in.
Corrosion Protection: Limited In Scope
You may be old enough to remember when a car might start to show some rust after a few years. That’s pretty much ancient history, as corrosion protection on modern cars is vastly superior to what it was “in the good old days.”
That doesn’t mean corrosion is never a problem, especially in areas where road departments spread salt in winter weather. Ford’s corrosion warranty lasts for 5 years/unlimited miles, and it specifically covers perforation of a body sheet metal panel due to a defect in the materials or manufacturing. (That means it basically rusts through.)
The corrosion warranty does not, however, cover problems that result from misusing the car or from accident damage. Interestingly, for the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, Ford will repair paint damage caused by “environmental fallout.” That essentially means pollution like acid rain, but not weather. If hail falls from the sky and damages your car’s finish, call your insurance company.
Safety And Emissions Come With Mandatory Warranty Coverage
Federal regulations dictate a huge array of safety and emissions standards, and carmakers must cover many such features under warranty. Ford’s safety restraint warranty covers the seatbelts and all airbag systems for 5 years/60,000 miles.
A vehicle’s emissions warranty can be a little confusing. Basically, catalytic converters, electronic emissions control unit, and onboard emissions diagnostic devices are covered for 8 years/80,000 miles.
Those can be big-ticket repair items, but a much longer list of parts, including the fuel injection system, intake manifold, exhaust manifolds, and turbocharger assembly (if the vehicle has a turbo), are covered under the basic 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty.
On top of the federal emissions warranty, California car buyers get additional coverage. You can see the details in the 2020 Model Year Ford Warranty Guide.
Ford Factory Warranty Tire Coverage
With even regular family sedans sporting 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels these days, it’s no wonder replacing tires can be so costly. For tire defects, Ford offers will reimburse 100 percent of replacement cost up to the first 12,000 miles, 60 percent up to 24,000 miles, and 30 percent up to 36,000 miles. Ford vehicles use tires from different manufacturers, and each provides a warranty that may extend beyond Ford’s own coverage.
What The Ford Warranty Doesn’t Cover
Any new vehicle warranty will provide a list of things that it specifically excludes.
Some of these things may not be obvious to everyone. In addition to not covering maintenance items already mentioned, the Ford factory warranty does not cover damage from collisions, vandalism, or theft.
Be careful about what kind of paint care products you use, because the Ford warranty will not cover damage caused by customer-applied chemicals or accidental spills. Also, using contaminated or incorrect fluids or fuel can cause damage that will not be covered. People have been known to accidentally put gasoline in a diesel-powered vehicle, and vice versa. That could ruin an engine.
Driving through water deep enough to enter the vehicle’s engine is not only unsafe, but it can cause major damage to the engine and many other parts, which will not be covered.
It’s popular to modify and customize the Mustang and Ford pickups, but keep in mind that anything you do to your car’s body, chassis, or electronics that damages the car becomes your responsibility, not Ford’s. Tampering with anything that affects the emissions system may not only be illegal, but any resulting damage won’t be covered by the warranty, and neither will damage caused by any kind of racing.
If you do wish to modify your Ford for performance or appearance reasons, chat with a Ford dealer about warranty coverage before you start fiddling around.
Of special note, if you use a new car for ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft, that’s considered “commercial use” and is not covered by the warranty. This is also usually the case with other carmakers’ warranties as well as third-party warranties.
Ford Hybrids Get Special Warranty Coverage
Buying a Ford hybrid not only can reduce fuel usage, but you get added warranty protection, too. For 2020, the lineup includes the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, Escape SE Sport Hybrid, and the Explorer Limited Hybrid. On all these models, Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Unique Component coverage lasts 8 years/100,000 miles.
Some covered items would be very expensive to repair or replace on your own, including the hybrid battery pack, the continuously variable transmission, various sensors and switches, and much more.
Certified Pre-Owned: A Good Deal, A Shorter Warranty
Buying a vehicle from Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program can be a good deal, but the warranty coverage is much shorter than with a new Ford. The bumper-to-bumper portion of the CPO coverage is 12 months/12,000 miles.
While the powertrain warranty for CPO seems very generous at 7 years/100,000 miles, that is counted from when the vehicle was first placed in service by the previous owner. Let’s say you buy a Ford CPO vehicle that’s three years old and has 30,000 miles on it. The actual powertrain coverage that you get will last another 4 years or 40,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Cost of Common Ford Repairs
As you could probably tell from some of the lists included in this guide, a new car has lots of things that, if they fail after the new vehicle warranty expires, could take a lot of money out of your pocket.
Ford’s extended warranty, called Ford Protect, offers estimates for some repairs. The $4,000–$6,000 range for engine repairs seems alarming, but it takes just a few problems to add up to such figures.
As another resource, the RepairPal website provides estimates for many vehicle repairs. Just enter your zip code, the Ford vehicle, and the repair. For example, replacing a blown cylinder head gasket for a 2015 Ford F-150 pickup can cost anywhere from $1,502 to $4,471. Replacing the water pump on a 2016 Ford Focus can cost up to an estimated $875. In both examples, the price will depend on the vehicle’s standard or optional engine, and also on your location.
Does Your Ford Need An Extended Warranty?
One way to protect yourself from the financial shock of a costly vehicle repair is to purchase an extended warranty, also known as a service contract. Ford offers its own, and you can also purchase from a third-party, such as Endurance.
When buying a 2020 Ford, you can choose to add a Ford Protect Extended Service Plan at the time of purchase, or any time before the original warranty expires. Remember, if you drive more than 12,000 miles a year, that coverage period will end before you’ve had the car for 3 years.
Some third-party extended warranties, including Endurance, let you buy a service plan (which is the same as an extended warranty) even after your vehicle’s original Ford factory warranty expires. By paying for such a contract in monthly installments, along with a possible deductible on covered repairs, you could avoid paying out of pocket for a large breakdown.
How do you decide if you need an extended warranty before you buy a new car? One information source to consider is the annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. In the 2019 edition, Ford tied with Honda and Chrysler, all ranking a bit below the industry average for reliability.
How Good Is Ford’s Optional Extended Warranty?
Ford calls its extended warranty Ford Protect and offers four coverage options: PremiumCARE, ExtraCARE, BaseCARE, and PowertrainCARE. The top offering can extend out to 8 years/150,000 miles. Ford offers interest-free financing for up to 24 months on most plans, but remember that all warranty work must be done at a Ford or Lincoln dealership.
Third-party extended warranty companies offer some compelling options, and some even allow you to buy the coverage after your new vehicle warranty expires, and for high-mileage vehicles as well. Also, a third-party company can generally offer more plan customization and pricing levels for warranty plans, so you can purchase only the coverage you feel you really need.
As an added convenience, third-party plans pay for repair at thousands of certified facilities, not just at Ford dealers.
Choosing A Third-Party Warranty Provider
There are many third-party warranty providers to choose from – we looked at the top providers and selected Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield as the best options. This was based on coverage available, plans backed by insurance, value, customer service, convenience, and additional features, like roadside assistance. Ultimately, it's best to get at least two quotes since pricing will vary.
If you’re considering an extended warranty, it’s probably because you plan to keep your vehicle for at least several years after the original Ford factory warranty expires.
It’s great to be free of a car payment, but not so great to keep paying for repairs. One reason we chose Endurance as our top provider was that, among five levels of coverage, you can tailor a specific plan that works best for your needs. The higher levels offer up to 200,000 miles of coverage. You can go onto the company’s website and read a sample contract before talking to one of their experts on the phone.
Read our guides to other warranty providers: