If you’re ready to extend your vehicle’s warranty, it’s important to figure out which type of protection best suits your needs. An extended warranty, also called a vehicle service contract or vehicle protection plan, covers mechanical breakdown repairs caused by a manufacturing defect or poor workmanship. But does a car warranty cover regular service costs?
While car warranties usually don’t cover regular service costs, many of the best extended car warranty companies offer coverage levels that include routine maintenance. We’ve ranked those options in terms of reputation, coverage, and service standards.
In this article:
- Are Regular Service Costs Covered Under Warranty?
- What’s Covered By An Extended Car Warranty?
- How Can I Use My Car Warranty?
- What’s The Best Type Of Extended Car Warranty?
- Our Recommendations For Third-Party Extended Warranties
- FAQ: Does A Car Warranty Cover Regular Service Costs?
Are Regular Service Costs Covered Under Warranty?
Both factory and extended warranty plans typically cover vehicle parts that break down due to workmanship flaws or manufacturer defects. Every coverage plan is different, but warranties usually don’t cover regular service costs for the following:
- Oil changes
- Tire replacements and repairs
- Headlight and tail light bulbs
- Brake pads and brake components
- Normal wear and tear items such as windshield wiper replacements
- Emissions and corrosion damage
- Scratches, dings, or damaged seats
- Glass repair and replacement
A vehicle protection plan protects the majority of parts, but it doesn’t cover all regular service costs. It may help to look for a third-party provider that offers maintenance coverage or a low-deductible plan that will help you set funds for regular car service aside.
Most extended car warranty companies require your used or new vehicle to be serviced and maintained regularly to keep the plan valid. Read the fine print of your warranty contract to know whether you need to cover regular service costs.
What’s Covered By An Extended Car Warranty?
Extended warranty coverage takes care of repair and labor costs for mechanical breakdowns rather than issues caused by accidents. You’ll find that warranties often cover the most vital parts of your vehicle, such as these:
- Electrical components
- Some safety features
- Heating and air conditioning
Basic vehicle service contracts only cover issues with mechanical components, but you’ll be able to choose a plan that’s more comprehensive if you’d prefer one. Both third-party and manufacturer’s extended warranty plans tend to have several tiers of coverage.
How Can I Use My Car Warranty?
You can take advantage of a car’s extended warranty by taking it to a repair facility or dealership for needed repairs. Then, you’ll file a claim with your warranty company. Depending on the provider, the company will either pay the repair facility directly or reimburse you for the repair costs. An extended warranty only covers costs for a specified mileage or length of time, so don’t let your warranty expire before you get repairs.
Many factory warranty plans and extended warranties come with added benefits such as roadside assistance, towing services, and rental car reimbursement. You’ll lose these perks once your original manufacturer’s warranty ends, but purchasing an extended warranty will provide continued protection.
A new vehicle limited warranty from a car dealership typically lasts 3 years/36,000 miles, so you’ll want to look into an extended warranty as your car starts to age. While new car warranties from automakers do not cover regular service costs, they provide protection for more expensive car components and cover costly auto repairs that could occur without a warranty.
Should My Car Be Serviced At A Dealership To Keep The Warranty?
By law, your car can be serviced under warranty at any repair shop as long as you keep receipts and records of the services performed. However, your warranty will be at least partially voided if you don’t cover regular service costs yourself.
Many third-party extended warranty providers–like Olive–let drivers choose where to have their cars repaired. An Olive warranty can be used at nearly any repair shop or dealership and covers the costs of both parts and labor. Read our Olive car warranty review to find out more about the coverage options available through the extended warranty provider.
What’s The Best Type Of Extended Car Warranty?
When searching for the best aftermarket car warranty, compare rates from the market’s most highly rated providers. Also look for providers with flexible plans and extended warranty benefits such as roadside assistance. Whether you’re looking for a basic powertrain warranty or a full-coverage plan, you’ll want a company that covers your needs.
The two main levels of coverage are powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties, though drivetrain coverage can sometimes be found as well. Powertrain warranty plans typically include the engine, transmission, and most other parts that make your vehicle move. Bumper-to-bumper coverage expands this to include nearly every part of your car, regardless of its function.
Powertrain warranty plans are typically inclusionary, while bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage is usually exclusionary. Here’s the difference between each type of warranty:
- Inclusionary warranty: The contract lists the specific items included in your warranty coverage. Any parts that aren't mentioned in the contract won’t be covered under warranty.
- Exclusionary warranty: The contract lists the specific items excluded from your warranty plan. Nearly everything not mentioned in the contract will be protected under warranty.
Most extended warranty options are exclusionary, which means they cover more car parts. While a car warranty doesn’t cover regular service costs in most situations, an exclusionary extended warranty contract from a provider like Olive will provide peace of mind on the road and guard against out-of-pocket expenses.
Our Recommendations For Third-Party Extended Warranties
Because regular maintenance is considered additional coverage, it’s usually excluded from warranty plans. Our team reviewed the best extended auto warranty companies that cover regular service costs, and our recommendations are below.
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance is one of the most reputable extended car warranty companies. The third-party provider offers six levels of coverage that come with roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and one free year of Endurance Elite Benefits.
The EnduranceAdvantage™ plan is a car warranty that covers regular service costs. It comes with three levels of coverage and includes maintenance services such as oil and filter changes and tire rotations.
Learn more about this provider by heading to our Endurance warranty review.
Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Protect My Car is a popular choice among car owners who want extensive coverage and perks with affordable pricing. The company is one of the best options if you want to cover your warranty cost with monthly payments instead of up-front charges.
Protect My Car offers Supreme, Select, and Driveline coverage, along with Ambassador Maintenance Plans. Offering free oil changes and tire rotations, Ambassador Maintenance Plans were designed for those who want their car warranties to cover regular service costs.
For more information about this extended car warranty provider, check out our Protect My Car review.
Olive: Best Online Warranty
Olive is a digital-first company that provides extended car warranty coverage for vehicles with up to 185,000 miles on them. The provider lets drivers choose the Powertrain, Powertrain Plus, or Complete Care level of coverage.
With Olive, extended breakdown coverage is managed entirely online, making it a top choice for drivers who want flexible service. While Olive car warranty plans don’t cover regular service costs, they protect enough vehicle parts to make that a nonissue for most drivers.
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.