When you buy a new car, one of the key advantages is that you get the added protection of a full warranty that will cover any auto repairs that are required from defective parts. If you buy a used car, however, you can still reap the benefits of a warranty depending on the age and condition of the car.
If the pre-owned car is new enough and has low mileage, chances are it is still covered by the original factory warranty, which is usually fully transferable to any subsequent owners. Once the factory warranty has expired, there are still several options for warranty coverage: you can either buy an aftermarket warranty or, on some used vehicles bought at dealerships, most Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) cars come with great warranties at no charge.
What Is a Used-Car Warranty?
As the name suggests, a used-car warranty is a warranty that people buy to cover the repairs in case of a mishap with their used car. It is an extended warranty that reduces the burden of heavy expenses on major used-car mechanical components, such as the steering system, transmission system, engine, front and rear axle, wheels, tires, suspension system, and brakes.
Do Used Cars Come With a Warranty?
With the exception of certified pre-owned cars — used cars that have undergone a pre-purchase inspection and been refurbished to near perfection — and cars still covered by the factory warranty, most used cars generally don’t come with a warranty. If you are buying a car “as is,” it signifies that car definitely doesn’t come with a warranty.
Alternatively, if you’re buying a car from a private party and the previous owner had purchased an extended warranty, that may be transferable to you. In this scenario, always check with the warranty company to see if the policy is transferable. If it isn’t, the warranty company (or the dealership) will not cover any cost related to your vehicle. You’ll have to pay for those costs out of pocket. Make sure to identify if a used car comes with a warranty or not when you are planning to buy one.
How Can You Check if a Car Is Still Under Warranty?
The easiest and the best thing you can do is ask your dealer, take a thorough look at the buyer’s guide, and gather as much information as you can about the used-car warranty. In addition, you can check the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car and call your dealership to get more details using the VIN. Your dealership will provide you with all the information you may need about the warranty.
Play by the Used Car Lemon Law
Seven states in the U.S. have the Used Car Lemon Law: New Jersey, Minnesota, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New York, California, and Connecticut. This law binds the seller to provide a used-car warranty depending on the current condition of the car. Dealers are required to give the buyers a written warranty and must repair any defect in covered parts without charging a single penny. If you see no improvement even after the dealer tries to fix the problems, they will have to give you a new car or refund for the same.
What if You Live in a State That Has No Used Car Lemon Law?
Don’t worry if you live in a state other than the seven where the Used Car Lemon Law is applicable. Some federal laws are still there to help you. Take a look at these three nationwide laws with provisions for buying a used car:
- The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): The UCC describes a comprehensive set of business laws meant to regulate financial contracts and transactions employed in the U.S.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule: This is formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule and has been in effect since 1985. As per this used-car rule, dealers need to display a window sticker on the used cars they are selling. This window sticker acts as a buyer’s guide for the ones making the purchase.
- The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act: This federal law, passed in 1975 by Congress, governs consumer product warranties.
Can You Get a Warranty on a Used Car?
Some used cars might come with a warranty. It can be the factory warranty that still hasn’t ended, or it can be an extended warranty purchased by the previous owner that will be transferred to you. If your used car does not come with a warranty and you decide to buy an extended warranty for it, knowing what kind of coverage you’re looking for can help a lot. A majority of dealerships and warranty providers don’t include routine maintenance, such as tire rotations, oil changes, and windshield wipers.
Here are some of the most common used-car warranties to help you make an informed decision:
- Used car bumper-to-bumper warranty, which covers almost every vehicle component with some exceptions
- Used car powertrain warranty, which covers the most essential parts of a vehicle, such as the engine, brakes, axles, and pistons
- Used car drivetrain warranty, which includes the same components as covered by a powertrain warranty, minus the engine
- Corrosion coverage, which is meant to pay the repair costs that are associated with rust
How Much Does a Used-Car Warranty Cost?
On average, about 50% of people pay between $1,615 and $3,208 for an extended car warranty. The price may vary based on various factors, such as location, coverage level, contract length, deductible, vehicle make, and mileage. Moreover, it can also depend on the model and brand of the used car you are buying.
The short answer to “Can you get a warranty on a used car?” is yes. The long answer involves analyzing various factors, like what type of warranty you want and what state you’re in. Understanding whether the used car you’re considering is under warranty, and how to get a warranty if it’s not, may help you make an informed decision about whether the vehicle is right for you.
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.