Do car dealers have to offer a warranty on a car?

A car dealer does not have to offer a used car warranty in the Uk as it’s not a legal requirement. But you do still have rights under the consumer rights act.

However most used car dealers will offer a warranty on cars older that 3 years, with typically cover periods ranging between one and twelve months. These warranties usually cover mechanical moving parts and electric, but exclude ware and tear items such as clutches and brakes.

If a used car you are buying doesn’t come with a warranty you may be able to purchase an aftermarket warranty to cover your needs. But there are a number of factors to consider and we have covered most of the commonly asked questions bellow.

What is a car warranty?

A warranty is a legally binding commitment forming part of the sales contract which assures the buyer that the product is free from defects. A warranty often provides for a specific remedy such as repair or replacement in the event the car fails to meet the warranty. In business and legal transactions, a warranty is an assurance by one party to the other party that certain facts or conditions are true or will happen.

The party who purchases the product is permitted to rely on the warranty and seek legal remedy if the warranty is breached. In the case of a car sale the seller usually includes a warranty covering the condition and roadworthiness of the vehicle, and will cover the costs of repair if a car becomes faulty.

A car warranty usually covers the cost of parts and labour over an agreed timeframe if your vehicle needs repairing due to mechanical or electrical failure.


Do I need an extended warranty if I’m planning to keep a vehicle for a time?

If you’re one of those people that changes their vehicle every three years or so and don’t drive that often, then you probably do not need to purchase an extended warranty.

If you’re leasing a vehicle for 36 months or less you definitely won’t need an extended warranty. Almost every manufacturer’s warranties will cover any major mechanical breakdowns for three years and 60,000 miles and buying an extended warranty past that point is usually a waste of money.

But if you’re one of those people that puts a lot of miles on a vehicle quickly or drive a car until it falls apart. You may want to consider purchasing one for the added coverage and breakdown cover.

When should I buy a warranty?

You can wait until your factory warranty has expired and shop around for aftermarket cover at that point. But if you are intending on taking extended manufactures cover you should negotiate the warranty before you exciting cover expires. As the longer you wait, the more expensive it will typically.

Can I buy a warranty if my factory warranty is expired?

In most cases you can. Many people don’t realise their vehicle may still be eligible for extended coverage after their manufacturer’s warranty has expired. Eligibility will depend on the mileage and you should keep in mind that the more miles you cover the more expensive the warranty will become.

Do I have to buy an extended warranty from the dealership?

The short answer is no you don’t. Many dealers and their sales staff will try and convince you that you must buy a warranty at the same time as buying a car. But you can purchase coverage from any company you choose at anytime you want.

But extended coverage is not for everyone and policies differ in price and coverage. So you will need to decide if a car warranty is for you. This often depends on the age, mileage and type of the vehicle in question.

How to compare a car warranty

You can compare available warranties by looking at different providers and analysing what they offer. Look at how much they charge for different levels of service to see which one is offering the cover that suits you best. You can also find various companies offering a comparison service online.

How long does a car warranty last?

Warranty term lengths vary on new vehicles but a typical example would be three years or 60,000 miles or whichever you arrive at first.

Used car warranties are normally offered in one month, three month, six month and 12 month increments – with varying mileage options.

Where can I get a car warranty?

If the car you are buying is brand new, it will almost certainly come with a free warranty thrown in from the manufacturer. Often these last for three years – or up to a given mileage limit – and come with the option to extend when it runs out.

At this point it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal – more on this below.

If you are buying a nearly new car, it might still fall under the original manufacturer’s warranty. This is linked to the vehicle itself and will be transferred over to your name as the new registered owner.

Can I get a warranty for a used car?

Major car dealerships generally offer their own ‘approved used car’ warranties – often for a period of up to 12 months, with various mileage clauses.

It’s with noting that in most cases, unlike a new car manufacturer’s warranty, you will need to have the car serviced at the dealership/franchise you bought the used car warranty from for it to remain valid.

Can I buy my own car warranty?

Yes it’s possible to buy a car warranty yourself from a range of independent warranty providers. These are often referred to as aftermarket warranties.

These are great if you have a vehicle you already own and your existing warranty is about to expire. You may also find you can get a better deal from an independent warranty provider rather than by extending with your current manufacturer or dealership warranty.

Terms and conditions of aftermarket warranties can vary significantly as do dealership/franchise offerings. So its’s always worth to the cap on the cost of repairs, the types of repairs that are covered as well as checking the duration. Many will have their own specific claims procedure, which could involve paying upfront and recouping the cost from the provider.

So always be sure to shop around and check the small print of each warranty before making your choice.

How much does a car warranty cost?

The cost of a car warranty depends on a range of factors, ranging from the type vehicle, to its value, age, mileage and of course the level of cover required. Warranty costs can be kept down by opting for a more basic cover or a shorter warranty period.

But ultimately you will get what you pay for and buying the cheapest warranty isn’t always the best option

What’s usually covered by a car warranty?

Car warranties generally cover everything apart from ware and tear. So typically the large ticket items such as the engine, transmission, fuel systems, air conditioning, cooling systems, steering, suspension, and electrics.

But covered varies massively between policies. So be sure to check the small print.

What’s usually not covered by a car warranty?

Wear and tear items and repairs will not be covered by most warranties, think brake discs and pads, cosmetic repairs to the exterior or Interior car’s interior, replaceable parts such as batteries, exhausts, catalytic converters, worn out clutches, bulbs, wiper blades, tyres and damage caused by frost, blockages, contamination or sludge. Accidental damage and vandalism would also not fall under the warranty in most cases.

However alloy wheel repair and other options can often be added onto your policy for extra cost.

Do I need a full service history to get a car warranty?

In most cases but not all insurers require this so check. You may also need to provide proof of MOT if you claim.

Could my car warranty claim be rejected?

Not every warranty claim will be successful and warranties can be void for a number of reasons. The most common being:

  1. Continual use of the vehicle when a warning light has appeared on the dashboard
  2. Fill up with the wrong fuel or fluids
  3. Continual use of the vehicle whit noticeable or obvious fault
  4. Modifying, or fitting non-standard or non original manufacturer approved parts
  5. Failing to follow the warranty claim procedure correctly
  6. Fail to have your vehicle serviced at the intervals agreed in the terms and conditions of the policy
  7. Having the vehicle serviced by a third party or unapproved garage or service centre

Can I get my car repaired at any garage?

Not always, some warranties only cover repairs at authorised garages. So it’s important that you read the terms and conditions to avoid voiding your warranty.

Conclusion

There are lots of options available when looking for a used cars warranty and there is cover available to suit almost every requirement. But not every situation or vehicle will require a warranty, you need to carefully consider both the potential costs of repairs and the likelihood of the car going wrong, before taking out cover.

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