For many of us, our car is one of the most important things we own. It gets us to and from work, helps us take the kids to school, and transports us to the store for essentials. Unfortunately, cars break down, and when they do, it can get expensive to repair them. A warranty provides financial protection for repairs, but how long does a car warranty last? Take a look at some details about car warranties and how they work.
What Is a Car Warranty?
A car warranty is a contract between you and the company providing the warranty that says they will pay for certain repairs to be done to your car. Warranties cover problems that the car manufacturer considers defective, and they will pay for the repairs if a component doesn’t perform as expected or breaks under reasonable expectations.
A warranty differs from insurance in that it doesn’t cover repairs needed as a result of an accident. Warranties also do not cover the cost of repairs if a component breaks when a driver uses their car in a way that was not intended. There are several different types of warranties, and each one specifically states what it will cover.
How Long Does a Car Warranty Last?
All car warranties last for a certain period of time or for a set number of miles on the odometer. For example, the contract could state the warranty lasts for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. This means that the warranty will cover the cost of repairs for the first five years you own the car or for the first 60,000 miles you drive it. If you hit 60,000 miles before the five years, the warranty will expire.
Since many drivers will keep their cars for more than five years or drive them for over 60,000 miles, many manufacturers offer extended warranties. You’ll need to purchase an extended warranty separately, but it will cover the cost of certain repairs for many years and miles after the factory warranty runs out. Extended warranties are also available through the manufacturer as well as third-party companies. The length of these depends on the manufacturer or the company offering the warranty.
Every new car comes with a manufacturer warranty. There are several types of manufacturer warranties, and the type of warranty and the manufacturer dictates how long it will last. Some of the types include:
Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is often the highest level of coverage available. It covers almost all electrical and mechanical components in a vehicle, from the suspension to the engine, air conditioning, and technology, such as the infotainment system.
Every car manufacturer has its own time period for a bumper-to-bumper warranty. Some common timeframes include:
- Chevrolet: three years/36,000 miles
- Dodge: three years/36,000 miles
- Ford: three years/36,000 miles
- Kia: five years/ 60,000 miles
- Nissan: three years/36,000 miles
- Volvo: four years/50,000 miles
- Hyundai: five years/60,000 miles
A powertrain warranty provides coverage for the components that make the car drive. It includes the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and all the components within these systems, such as the seals, gaskets, and more. With hybrid and electric vehicles, this may often cover the electric drivetrain, and it may also cover the battery against some issues.
The length of a factory powertrain warranty depends on the manufacturer. Some popular automakers have powertrain warranties that last:
- Chevrolet: five years/60,000 miles
- Ford: five years/60,000 miles
- Kia: 10 years/100,000 miles
- Hyundai: 10 years/100,000 miles
- Infiniti: seven years/70,000 miles
- Volkswagen: four years/ 50,000 miles
- Toyota: six years/60,000 miles
An emissions warranty covers all emissions-related components to ensure that your new car will pass emissions tests. These warranties often vary from state to state.
An anti-perforation warranty or corrosion warranty will cover the cost of replacing body panels that rust through. The length and coverage vary depending on the manufacturer.
An extended warranty provides coverage after the factory warranty runs out. Some automakers offer these, calling them vehicle service contracts. If you want more options for an extended warranty, you can purchase them through a third party. When purchasing an extended warranty, it’s important to consider the cost of the extended warranty against the likelihood that you’ll need to use it. It can provide some peace of mind if you’re concerned about paying for an expensive repair, but it can also add to your monthly payment if you purchase it when you buy a new car.
Extended warranties typically last somewhere between two and 10 years, but it depends on the company you choose. Some extended warranties last for up to 10 years and over 200,000 miles, but you’ll pay more for the extra coverage. Before purchasing one, consider how long you plan to keep the car. If you will drive it for more than five years, the extension could pay for itself with just one repair, but if you tend to trade in your car every few years, the original factory warranty will keep you covered.
Extended warranties offer some flexibility, in that you can choose what you want to be covered. You can find comprehensive coverage if you want, but if you’re on a budget, you can save money by choosing to cover just certain components, such as the powertrain or drivetrain.
Some extended warranty advantages include:
- Financial protection
- Increased resale value
- Peace of mind
Some extended warranty drawbacks include:
- Coverage could overlap. Extended warranties and the manufacturer’s warranty sometimes overlap, so you’re paying for coverage you don’t need.
- Basic repairs aren’t covered. A check engine light or squeaking brakes are often not part of the warranty coverage.
- Expense is sometimes more than it’s worth. Many drivers purchase an extended warranty and never use it.
The length of a car warranty depends on the type of warranty and the auto manufacturer. Original factory warranties usually last for three years and 36,000 miles, but some are longer. You can extend coverage by purchasing an extended warranty, but it’s important to make sure the extra cost is worth it.
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.