As your car ages and starts having problems, you may be wondering if it’s about time to replace your car, but if your vehicle is still covered by the factory warranty, these issues can all be taken care of at no cost. The question then becomes “is my car still under warranty,” and that’s pretty easy to figure out.
Warranty guidelines can be complicated, but understanding them helps you protect yourself from financial stress and ensure your car gets the service it needs. Read on to learn how to find out if your car is still under warranty.
What Is a Warranty?
A warranty is a statement from your car’s manufacturer guaranteeing its quality and reliability. If your car breaks or accrues damage while it’s under warranty, there’s a good chance the manufacturer will pay for the repair. New cars all come with a factory warranty, and many vehicles have multiple warranties that cover different parts and features of the car, each with different terms. Most buyers expect new cars to function reliably for the first few years of their life, especially if they’re careful with them. Warranties help protect buyers from unexpected costs and hold manufacturers accountable for their quality standards.
Many popular vehicle brands come with factory warranties on new cars that last about three years or 36,000 miles and expire at whichever milestone comes first. Other warranties might last much longer. Exact warranty terms vary, so review your warranty’s conditions carefully to understand how long it lasts and what it covers.
How To Check if Your Car Is Still Under Warranty
Here are three simple steps to follow to learn if your warranty is still active:
1. Write Down Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
You need your VIN to look up your car’s warranty information, so locating this number is the first step. Your VIN is likely included on your purchase paperwork, registration, and insurance card. It’s also printed somewhere on your car. Different manufacturers place it in different areas, but you might check:
- The driver’s side door
- On the windshield
- Below the hood
- On the interior dashboard
2. Check Your Car’s Mileage
Most warranties expire after about 30,000 miles, so it’s important to note your car’s mileage. Check your odometer located behind the steering wheel. If it’s past 30,000 miles, you might still have some warranty coverage left. Write down the exact mileage listed.
3. Contact the Dealership
Call or visit a dealership specializing in your make and tell them you want to find out if your car’s warranty is still valid. If you contact the dealership where you purchased the car, they may have more comprehensive records about your specific vehicle. However, any reputable dealership that understands your car’s manufacturer should be able to help.
How To Check if a Used Car Is Under Warranty
Maybe you bought your car secondhand, and the previous owner didn’t share warranty details with you. While some used cars still have some remaining coverages, others come without a warranty at all. Understanding how much coverage you have on your used car can help you plan accordingly for any essential repairs. Here are fours ways you could learn if your used car still has warranty protection:
- Check your purchase paperwork. The paperwork you received when you bought your car may contain warranty information, especially if you bought it through a dealership.
- Contact the seller. If you have the seller’s contact information, reach out to them to ask about the car’s warranty.
- Call a local dealership. If you can provide the make, model, VIN, and mileage to a trustworthy dealership, they may be able to find out if the warranty has expired.
- Run a vehicle history report. It’s pretty simple to request a vehicle history report from an organization like CARFAX. You can input your VIN or license plate number to learn if your car has warranty coverage, how much longer it lasts, and when it last received important maintenance services.
Types of Warranties
Here are the two most common types of warranties your car may come with, along with some additional options to consider:
A bumper-to-bumper warranty, also sometimes called a basic warranty, covers almost all mechanical parts of your car besides oil, tires, and brakes. A bumper-to-bumper warranty usually comes standard with a new car and lasts for about three to six years, depending on your driving habits. In addition, it typically covers mechanical issues that aren’t caused by damage, neglect, or wear and tear and aren’t already paid for by your insurance provider.
A powertrain warranty covers the engine and transmission and helps ensure that your car still runs. These warranties usually last a little longer than bumper-to-bumper warranties. Many powertrain warranties last about five years or 60,000 miles. Kia even offers an option for a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Duration varies between manufacturers, so research your make and model’s duration. Like bumper-to-bumper coverage, your powertrain warranty applies to repairs as long as you’re not at fault for the damage and your insurance doesn’t already cover it.
Other Types of Factory Warranties
Some manufacturers or dealerships may offer additional warranties like:
- Tire warranties
- Rust and corrosion warranties
- Roadside assistance
- Emissions warranties
Consider an Extended Warranty
When your factory warranty expires, you can purchase an extended warranty for your car to continue your protection. Also known as vehicle service contracts, these agreements guarantee financial assistance if you need a covered repair. Extended warranties usually cover parts like the vehicle’s drivetrain and engine, but some providers offer different levels of protection at different price points.
Review the terms of an extended warranty carefully before you purchase it to make sure you’re comfortable with the coverage it provides. You can typically buy extended warranties from the manufacturer, a third-party company, or a dealership. Ensure you’re purchasing your coverage from a retailer you trust.
Tips for Keeping Your Warranty Valid
Follow these tips to enure your warranty lasts as long as possible:
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Most manufacturer warranties require you to schedule regular maintenance for your vehicle to keep it operating in optimal condition. Some warranties may also have restrictions on where you can go for services. For example, you may have to visit a dealership to have your services performed by a manufacturer-certified technician. However, performing routine maintenance on your car according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for your make and model can help you meet your obligations as the car owner, keeping your warranty valid for its full duration.
Many people choose to personalize their vehicles, but some modifications could negate factory warranty coverage. Changes to the suspension components, drivetrain, and wheels are often the ones that will affect warranties the most. If you’re worried about voiding your car’s warranty, check with your local dealership to get their input.
Don’t Abuse Vehicle
If your vehicle is used for racing, off-roading, or any other activities that are above and beyond the normal use of the vehicle, the factory may not cover some parts if they get damaged.
Whether you bought your car new or used, understanding how much warranty protection you have can help you budget for repairs and take advantage of existing agreements. Remember to research your warranty thoroughly to ensure you service your vehicle accordingly. For more information about your car’s warranty, contact a credible local dealership.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.