You have just purchased your shiny prestige used car, driven it home and parked it on the drive. On the test drive and when you drove the car home you didn’t notice anything untoward.
During the buying process you took out a dealer warranty for added peace of mind. So, you have nothing to worry about. Sit back and enjoy many miles of trouble-free motoring.
There is just one niggling thought – just exactly what is covered by my used car warranty? Here is a list of some of the items that may be covered by a typical used car warranty:
- Is it important?
- Electrical and mechanical faults
- Terms and conditions
- Extended cover
- Other issues
Is it important to take out a warranty on a used car?
Yes, especially when buying a used car that may have exceeded its manufacturer’s warranty. It’s a recommended extra that will give you peace of mind and help you save on future repair costs.
An extended warranty is worth considering if you think expensive vehicle repairs could be difficult to pay for further down the road.
So, what is covered by a typical used car warranty?
A standard warranty covers parts and labour for dealing with faults. These warranties will have a cap on how much you can claim, usually £500.
However, dealers offer upgraded cover to provide electrical and mechanical fault to protect components of these systems should they fail.
Items covered may include some or all of these:
- Engine: All components contained within the cylinder block and head including pistons, rings, crankshaft, big end bearings, manifolds, rocker assembly, timing chains, timing gears, distributor drive.
- Turbo Unit: All components including inlet and exhaust turbine shafts, bearings, bushes, wastegate devices.
- Gearbox: All components contained within either manual or automatic transmissions including gears, bearings, clutches.
- Clutch: All components including clutch plate, clutch cover, thrust bearing and or release bearing.
- Differential: All components including gears, pinions, bearings, shafts.
- Drive Shafts: All components including prop shaft, drive shafts, C.V joints, couplings.
- Brakes All components including servo units, cylinders, valves.
- Suspension: All components including control arms, bushings, ball joints, pins.
- Steering: All components on steering systems including power steering units, rams, pumps, reservoirs, steering box.
- Bearings: All components including wheel bearings, seals, hubs, flanges.
- Cooling System: All components including radiator, matrix, water pump, head gasket, thermostat.
- Ventilation: All components including heater assembly vents, tubes, controls.
- E.C.U: All components including solid state control units, triggering units, distributor, coil.
- Electrics: All components including motors, solenoids, relays, alternator, starter motor, switches, computers.
- Air Conditioning: All components including compressors, pumps, reservoirs.
- Fuel System: All components including fuel pump, carburettor, sender units, gauges, air flow meters, accumulator, fuel distributor, regulator.
- Locks: All components including regulators, handles, locks, catches.
- Seals: All major oil seals and gaskets.
- Casings: Casings are covered if damage by any of the above listed components
Typically, the number of parts and faults covered will depend on the level of cover you’re paying for.
Knowing what is not covered by a warranty is as important as knowing what is. Here are some typical T&Cs that you may find when you read the small print:
- Betterment: If a repair or new part makes your car more valuable than it was before the repair you may be expected to contribute to the cost.
- Claim limit: The maximum amount of money you can get per claim – ideally up to the value of the car, but not always.
- Consequential loss: Where the failure of one car part damages another; an added expense not all policies cover.
- Excess: The percentage of each warranty claim you will have to pay. Some policies increase the excess as your mileage goes up.
- Garage choice: Some providers have ‘approved’ garages. Using your preferred alternative could leave you paying some of the labour rate.
- Pre-existing faults: Any issues your car had before the warranty started may not be covered.
- Servicing schedule: You must keep your car serviced to the manufacturer’s schedule and keep any paperwork. Failure to do so can invalidate the warranty, as can fitting non-standard parts.
- Warning lights: Don’t ignore warning lights on your car’s dashboard. If you do the provider may refuse to pay out.
- Wear and tear: Car parts that fail due to wear and tear are not normally covered. Even when they are, 'consumables’ like tyres and brake pads won’t be included.
Keep an eye on how much you drive your car. Quite often, the cover of a used car warranty is limited by the amount of mileage that you do in the car.
For instance, a standard warranty may cover a car for around 6,000 miles, which is an average for about six months-worth of motoring.
It’s true that many dealers will offer extensions to this for an additional cost based on the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals. You can usually find these intervals noted in the owner’s manual or service history, if you were fortunate to get this along with the car.
If you buy from a reputable dealer this will normally be the case. If you buy privately or from an auction, the car’s history and documentation may be limited.
Reputable dealers may offer extended and upgraded warranties with unlimited mileage but limited by the period of cover on offer. Typically, these will be over 18, 24 or 36 month periods.
Extended cover will typically protect for longer over higher mileages; useful if you use your car a lot. Extended cover will also cover more of the vehicles systems and components than cheaper, more basic warranties.
It’s worth remembering that the majority of manufacturers have their own warranty schemes (usually at least 3 years) that cover the cost for some repairs if the unforeseen happens. However, the terms and conditions of what is covered under warranty varies with manufacturer. It’s important to check these before you buy a warranty.
Generally, wear and tear including consumables – which includes batteries, tyres, exhaust and brakes – are not included under warranty.
Used car dealerships often offer their own warranty protection as standard. If you’re buying a used car which had a manufacturer’s warranty that’s run out, the dealer may supply an alternative offer, typically for three to six months after purchase.
Always check with the dealer exactly what is covered in your warranty and over what period. Make sure you are aware of any mileage restrictions and read the small print for exclusions before you part with your cash. It may be more prudent to shop around for an independent provider.