Anyone that has ever bought a second-hand car will know how important the warranty can be. Over the years I’ve had all sorts of experiences when it came to the warranty that came with the car. If you buy from a dealer you tend to get a better one that covers more features of the car while if you buy your car from an independent dealer you are likely to get a better price on the car but the warranty covers less time and getting them to cover anything can be like getting blood out of a stone.
What is a car warranty?
No matter if you buy a new car or a second hand one a warranty is there to help protect you from repair bills should your car break down. Typically new cars are sold with a manufacturers car warranty that runs for around 3 years but can last even longer as some will offer a warranty for a certain length of milage instead of just a set number of years.
If you are lucky enough to buy a second hand car that is still quite new (pre reg cars, ex showroom cars etc.) then you will find the car is still under the existing warranty. On top of this you can also buy what are called ‘aftermarket warranties’ however these tend to come with extra conditions and exclusions which may not make them a worthy purchase.
What does a car warranty typically cover?
Warranties generally cover the costs of mechanical issues with your car so wear and tear are not typically covered.
They also tend to be sold in different ‘tiers’, especially in the second hand market. A basic one will cover problems with just your engine while more comprehensive one will cover the suspension, brakes and even the steering.
Warranties will also want you to use approved garages (at least ones from dealers do). So if you are used to taking your cars to a certain garage that may not be an option if you want to have it fixed for free.
What isn’t covered by a car warranty?
No warranty covers everything. Paintwork, general wear and tear and the interior of your car are usually off-limits. It’s also important to note that if you make any modifications or changes to the car such as fitting a new engine, spoiler or even just fitting tinted windows you can end up voiding your warranty.
You will also need to keep your car serviced each year. If you don’t take care of the car the warranty won’t cover it if something breaks.
How much does a warranty cost?
The older the car the more the warranty will cost. This is because the cost of the repairs obviously cost more on older cars to the warranty company will want to cover themselves with that risk.
You will need to decide what is more important to you. Keeping the cost down at the point of buying the car but having less cover (which as I said above if it’s a new car isn’t much of an issue as it has manufacturers warranty) or paying more to cover you should the worst happen.
In a lot of ways buying a warranty is the same as buying car insurance. You hope nothing happens and more often than not you are paying out each year and getting nothing back from it but it gives you that safety net should you need it.