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Used Car Warranty Guide: Learn More About Warranties for Used Cars

Used Car Warranty Guide: Learn More About Warranties for Used Cars

Whether you're on the buying or selling end of a used car transaction, the vehicle's warranty (or lack thereof) plays an important role for both the buyer and seller. A used car warranty provides the buyer with peace-of-mind and takes much of the stress out of going the used car route. For sellers, a comprehensive warranty can help them get more money for their vehicle, and make it easier to sell, as well. Here's a quick primer on the ins-and-outs of used car warranties:


What Do Used Car Warranties Typically Cover?

Typically, used car warranties cover what's known as your vehicle's powertrain. The powertrain refers to the car's engine and transmission. Repairs to a car's transmission, as well as the engine, can run into big bucks. So, most car buyers, at the very least, want the powertrain covered by their warranty. Depending on the car's age, mileage, and condition, some warranties may also extend coverage to other parts such as the vehicle's electrical, suspension, and air conditioning.




Types of Used Car Warranties


Warranties for used cars come in many shapes and sizes. The most common are:



Service Warranties - While usually reserved for new vehicles, some manufacturers offer them
through their Certified Pre-Owned (or CPO) programs. Service warranties may cover everything
from oil changes to brake pads.


Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) - Most automakers offer some type of Certified Pre-Owned
warranty through their dealers. For a vehicle to earn Certified Pre-Owned status, it must have
low mileage, be in excellent condition, and be mechanically and cosmetically sound. After a
thorough inspection by a factory-certified mechanic, if the car meets the manufacturer's CPO
qualifications, it is then offered for sale as a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle.


Extended or Aftermarket Warranties - An Extended Warranty picks up where the new car or certified pre-owned warranties end. Depending on the particular coverage, as well as who offers it, an extended warranty can go anywhere from three to five years beyond the basic warranty. Most extended warranties mainly cover the powertrain but, for the right price, you may be able to find coverage for service, as well.



Read the Fine Print

Most warranties stay with the vehicle when it changes hands. Some vendors, however, may require specific documentation of the sale to transfer the coverage to the vehicle's new owner.

Also, make sure that any changes you make to the vehicle, such as installing an aftermarket security system or custom suspension, won't impact the warranty. Some coverage may require that certain maintenance - like oil changes - for example, be performed at regular intervals and only by certified mechanics. Also, if you are buying from a private seller who advertises an extended warranty to sweeten the deal, be sure to get the car's complete maintenance history. The warranty company may demand this information before authorizing any covered repairs.

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