When it comes to car shopping, warranties can be easily overlooked in the process of selecting the right car at the right price. But car warranties offered by the dealer should always factor in to the value of the car.
If you’re in the market for a new car, don’t get stuck thinking that all car warranties are the same and you won’t get a better deal if you look around more.
Most automotive companies offer basic coverage, otherwise known as a manufacturer’s warranty. These warranties tend to include coverage for the cost of repairs to defects on factory-installed parts for up to three years or a total of 36,000 miles. Most car companies specify whichever comes first. However, a select few companies offer warranties that extend beyond these standard terms. If you want to be smart about your next car purchase, you can take advantage and lower the overall cost of ownership on your new vehicle.
Types of Warranties
Car dealers and manufacturers offer many different types of warranties. The following are some of the most common:
- Basic. Commonly referred to as a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, this warranty covers defects in parts that were installed in the factory. Most of the time, it excludes tires, which are covered by a warranty from the tire manufacturer.
- Powertrain. A powertrain or drivetrain warranty covers the car’s most important parts, including the transmission, engine, transfer case, and axle assemblies. Most last approximately five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.
- Corrosion. This warranty covers any holes that appear in parts including the door or side panels of the car caused by corrosion.
- Roadside assistance. Unlike other warranties, roadside assistance is used in the case of an emergency. It typically includes services such as help changing a tire or towing if the car breaks down while in use.
Of course, not all the warranties that fall under the categories above are the same, so it’s important to check with your dealer and always read the fine print to find out what the conditions are. Some of the car companies that offer the best all-around manufacturer’s warranties include Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Kia, Volvo, Buick, Infiniti, and GMC.
Extended Car Warranties
Extended car warranties are purchased to provide coverage beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. If your car ends up breaking down after your manufacturer coverage ends, an extended warranty can save you thousands of dollars in parts and labor. Though car insurance may offer coverage in the event of an accident, natural disaster, or theft, other more routine repairs are the owner’s responsibility and will need to be paid out of pocket. For example, if your transmission fails, you can turn to the manufacturer warranty, but only within the stated timeframe. Once your manufacturer warranty expires, you’ll have to shoulder the costs yourself. This is where extended car warranties provide useful.
Most extended car warranty companies offer different coverage for different vehicles, including those that were bought new and those that were bought used. You’ll have more options when it comes to the policies available. You should choose the plan that makes the most sense according to you, your vehicle, and your budget.