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Used and extended car warranties

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

31 August 2018

Find out how a car warranty could help you cover the cost of a breakdown.

New and used car warranties and extended car warranty explained

What is a car warranty?

A car warranty covers the cost of fixing or replacing car parts if your car breaks down or something goes wrong. If you buy a used car you may still be covered by the manufacturers original warranty or be given a warranty by the dealer. 

The dealer selling you the car may offer their own extended warranty, which may be more expensive than shopping around for a car warranty quote

Do I need a car warranty?

The cost of repairing a car can be expensive. According to Green Flag, four out of 10 cars between four and nine years old break down each year, with an average repair cost of £574.

What does car warranty cover?

You can choose from different types of cover – simple mechanical breakdown or comprehensive.

It is not necessarily the case that cheaper the warranty, the less cover it provides. It’s always best to shop around for your warranty and compare quotes to get the best deal.

Most car warranties will cover the cost of repair to the following parts:

  • engine and fuel systems

  • clutch and gearbox

  • suspension

  • brakes

  • steering

Unless included as extra, car warranties don’t cover items such as tyres and batteries, which are subject to wear and tear.

Car warranty extras 

A car warranty quote, for more comprehensive cover may also include cover for damage to your car’s paintwork, and sometimes general wear and tear.

Other options may include:

  • driving abroad.

  • breakdown recovery

  • car hire

  • emergency travel 

  • overnight accommodation for worst case scenarios 

More comprehensive policies will also protect parts including: 

  • steering

  • suspension

  • brakes 

  • ignition system

If your warranty covers wear and tear it could include cover to replace the exhaust or even the air conditioning.

Keeping your warranty

Insurers will often have a list of approved garages and repair shops. You may need to have repairs and servicing done at these places in order to keep your warranty. 

How much will a car warranty cost?

The cost of you warranty will depend on the age, make and model, the engine size and how far you drive your car as well as how much cover you want to pay for. 

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Car insurance vs car warranty

Car insurance is a necessity and ensures you are covered in the event that your vehicle damages someone else, their vehicle or property.

A car warranty will guarantee your parts if they fail through no fault of your own.

However, it's not black and white. For instance, if your car breaks down through no fault of your own, and as a result, hits another vehicle in the process, your warranty won’t cover the cost of that damage – just for the parts and labour repair.

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What are the different types of car warranty?

Extended car warranty

An extended warranty, also known as an aftermarket warranty, will cover repair to your car after the original warranty expires. Many new cars may include an extended warranty

  • Before you decide whether to get one you will need to consider how old your car and how long you’ll need it for.

  • Sometimes you can extend the warranty so that it covers you for a year or two more, or so the warranty includes cover for extra problems. You’ll need to pay a bit extra if you want to upgrade your warranty 

  • Often, you’ll need to pay an amount towards getting the parts replaced and fitted. This is the excess and is normally a few hundred pounds.

Reduce your insurance costs with a multi-car insurance policy.

For example:

  • if you own more than one car

  • if you’re a family with more than one driver

  • if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle 

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Used car warranties

When buying a pre-owned vehicle, you may be offered cover on a car where the original warranty has expired, this is when you would buy a used car warranty.

A used car warranty is really the standard type of warranty that most car buyers look to purchase.

Note that some performance vehicles and classic cars will be excluded from the market.

Used car warranty – what you need to consider

  • whether there is a limit to the amount you can claim

  • is there early claims clause that means you aren’t covered immediately

  • whether repairs need to be done by a specific chain of garages

  • your liability if repairs increase the value of your car – known as betterment

  • what happens if part not covered by your warranty fails and damages another

  • what about damage that’s been caused in an accident?

  • do you need longer-term structural corrosion and paintwork warranty too – such as in older or vintage cars

Car warranty and consumer rights

Even if you don’t buy the warranty offered, you should still have some basic protection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. 

  • if a fault comes to light within 30 days that is automatically considered to have been present at the time of delivery

  • if something goes wrong within the first six months with a brand new car, the dealer should repair the car or replace it, but may make a deduction for usage

  • second-hand car buyers have no immediate consumer rights  after the 30-day cut off. You would need to prove the dealer knew the problem existed when selling the car. That make having a warranty more important.

How do I keep my car warranty valid? 

  • stop using your vehicle as soon as problem arises – for example when the dashboard warning lights start showing 

  • get your vehicle serviced at the intervals recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer

  • don’t make modifications to the vehicle, or fit non-standard or non-manufacturer approved parts.

  • don’t put the wrong fuel or fluids into your vehicle

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