Unveiling the Mystery: A Guide to Navigating Used and New Car Warranties

When considering the purchase of a vehicle, the debate between buying new or used is often front and centre, but an equally important aspect that frequently gets overlooked is the warranty coverage. New car warranties, typically more comprehensive and longer-lasting, offer a sense of security and peace of mind to buyers, assuring them that most manufacturing defects will be rectified at no extra cost.

On the other hand, used car warranties, although usually more limited in scope and duration, can still provide valuable protection against unexpected repairs, albeit with more conditions and potential out-of-pocket costs. This guide delves into the intricate details of new versus used car warranties, helping buyers understand what they’re signing up for and how to get the most value from their vehicle’s warranty.

What Is a New Car Warranty?

A new car warranty is essentially a promise from the manufacturer to the buyer that the vehicle will be free from defects for a certain period after purchase. Here are some key aspects of new car warranties:

  1. Duration: Typically, new car warranties last for three years, although some manufacturers offer warranties that extend up to five, seven, or even ten years.
    Mileage Limit: Along with the time limit, there’s often a mileage cap, after which the warranty expires. This limit varies by manufacturer.
  2. Coverage: The warranty usually covers manufacturing defects. This means if something goes wrong with the car due to a manufacturing error, the cost of repairs or replacements will be covered. However, it does not cover wear and tear or damage caused by accidents or misuse.
  3. Servicing Requirements: To keep the warranty valid, the car often needs to be serviced at regular intervals according to the manufacturer’s schedule. This service must typically be done at an authorised service centre.
  4. Transferability: If the car is sold, the warranty is usually transferable to the new owner, as long as it’s still within the warranty period and conditions.
  5. Extended Warranties: Some manufacturers or dealers offer the option to purchase extended warranties, which can prolong the duration of coverage beyond the standard period.

It’s important for buyers to read the warranty documentation carefully to understand what is covered, any exclusions, and the terms of maintaining the warranty’s validity.


Related Reading: Do I Need Extended Car Warranty For A Used Car


What Does a New Car Warranty Typically Cover?

A new car warranty typically covers the following aspects:

  1. Manufacturing Defects: The primary purpose of a new car warranty is to cover any defects in parts and workmanship that originated during the manufacturing process. If something goes wrong with the car that’s traced back to a manufacturing error, the cost of repairs or replacements is usually covered.
  2. Mechanical and Electrical Systems: This includes the engine, transmission, electrical systems, air conditioning and cooling systems, and sometimes infotainment systems. However, the level of coverage can vary between manufacturers.
  3. Paintwork and Corrosion: Many new car warranties include coverage for paint defects and bodywork. They also often cover rust and corrosion, although there are usually specific conditions for this coverage.
  4. Battery and Exhaust: Some warranties may cover the battery and exhaust system, but these items can sometimes be excluded or have shorter warranty periods due to their nature of wear and tear.
  5. Roadside Assistance: Many manufacturers include a form of roadside assistance with their new car warranties, providing help in case of breakdowns.
  6. MOT Test Cover: Some warranties include cover for certain items that might cause a car to fail its MOT test, which is the annual safety check required for vehicles over three years old in the UK.

It’s important to note that new car warranties do not cover everything. Common exclusions include:

  • Normal wear and tear items like tyres, brake pads, and windscreen wipers.
  • Damage due to accidents, environmental factors, or improper use.
  • Modifications or repairs using non-approved parts or methods.
  • Maintenance services like oil changes and tyre rotations.

Each manufacturer has its own specific warranty terms, so it’s vital to read the warranty documentation carefully to understand exactly what is covered and for how long.


Related Reading: Why Manufacturer Warranties Aren’t Always The Best Option


What Is a Used Car Warranty?

A used car warranty provides coverage for certain repairs and maintenance after the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle. These warranties are particularly important for used cars, as they are more likely to encounter mechanical issues than new cars. Key features of used car warranties include:

  1. Duration: The length of a used car warranty can vary greatly. It’s typically shorter than a new car warranty, ranging from a few months to a few years, depending on the provider and the package purchased.
  2. Coverage: Unlike the more comprehensive new car warranties, used car warranties might have more limitations and exclusions. They generally cover major mechanical breakdowns and electrical faults but might not cover wear and tear items like brake pads or tyres.
  3. Mileage Limit: Similar to new car warranties, used car warranties often have a mileage limit. Once the car exceeds this limit, the warranty may no longer be valid.
  4. Claims Limit: Many used car warranties have a maximum amount that can be claimed for repairs. This limit can be per claim, per year, or over the lifetime of the warranty.
  5. Service Requirements: Maintaining the car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations is usually a condition of the warranty. This might include regular servicing at approved centres.
  6. Transferability: Some used car warranties are transferable to new owners, which can be a selling point, but this is not always the case.
  7. Third-Party Warranties: Used car warranties can be offered by the dealership selling the car or by independent third-party companies. The terms and conditions can vary significantly between providers.
  8. Cost: The cost of a used car warranty depends on the car, its age, mileage, and the level of cover chosen.

It’s crucial for buyers to thoroughly read and understand the terms and conditions of a used car warranty to know what is covered and any associated costs or requirements. This helps in making an informed decision and avoiding unexpected expenses.


Related Reading: Repair Insurance For Cars


What Does a Used Car Warranty Typically Cover?

A used car warranty typically covers certain aspects of the vehicle to protect against mechanical and electrical failures. The exact coverage can vary depending on the provider and the specific warranty plan, but generally, it includes:

  1. Engine Components: This often covers major engine parts like the cylinder block, pistons, crankshaft, and cylinder heads. It may also include gaskets and seals if they fail leading to oil leaks.
  2. Transmission System: Coverage usually extends to both manual and automatic transmission systems, including gears and internal components.
  3. Electrical Systems: Electrical components like the alternator, starter motor, and electronic control units (ECUs) are often covered under used car warranties.
    Suspension and Steering: Key components of the suspension and steering systems, such as power steering pumps and suspension arms, might be included.
  4. Cooling System: Components like the radiator, water pump, and thermostat can be covered.
  5. Fuel System: This can include parts like the fuel pump, injectors, and fuel lines.
  6. Brake System: Parts of the brake system, including the master cylinder and brake callipers, are often covered, but consumables like brake pads and discs usually are not.
  7. Drive Axles and Clutch: Drive axles and components of the clutch system (excluding general wear and tear on the clutch plate) might be covered.
  8. Exhaust: Some warranties may cover the exhaust system, although this can vary.

As with any warranty, the key is in the details. Buyers should read the terms and conditions carefully to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered, any deductibles that may apply, and the procedures for making a claim.


Related Reading: Car Maintenance Q & A: Frequently Asked Questions


What are your options for extended UK car warranty cover?

We don’t want to complicate this, so we’ve kept it nice and simple. Here’s three great options for mechanical breakdown or electrical failure car warranty cover, that’ll give you all you need, including cover for wear & tear.

3-Star Car Warranty

Select this option if you want affordable cover for a long list of covered components. Gives you up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts.

4-Star Car Warranty

Select this option to cover a wide range of components on your vehicle, and get up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT in the event of mechanical breakdown or electrical failure, or imminent failure identified during an MOT or service.

5-Star Car Warranty

Looking for comprehensive warranty protection? Our 5-Star warranty covers an extensive range of parts and offers up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts on your vehicle.


Related Reading: The Consequences of NOT Having Click4Warranty Car Warranty Cover