Used Car Warranties, Explained
If you’re buying a used car and you’re offered a used car warranty, be sure to find out what it covers, how much it costs, and whether it’s backed by the manufacturer or the dealer.
Before you sign on the dotted line for your used car, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about getting a used vehicle warranty.
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- Buyer’s guide
- Does it still apply?
- Warranty details
- Are they worth the cost?
- Worth it to you?
- Save with Jerry
The buyer’s guide and warranty details
If the used car you’re looking at is being sold with a warranty, head straight to the buyer’s guide, attached to the vehicle’s windshield to learn all you need to know about what’s covered and what isn’t.
Per Federal Trade Commission rules, the dealer must attach a buyer’s guide to any car being sold. The buyer’s guide is gospel. If there is any discrepancy between what’s in the buyer’s guide as opposed to what’s in the sales contract, the buyer’s guide should be honored.
If you’re buying a used car through a private sale, the seller is not obligated to post a buyer’s guide. All details pertaining to the sale of the car will be spelled out in the sales agreement.
Key Takeaway A dealer selling a used car must post a buyer’s guide in the front windshield, while a private seller is not required to do so.
Does the car come with a warranty or is it being sold as is?
When you check the buyer’s guide, you’ll find out if the car has a warranty. This will spell out which repairs or services are covered—and which ones aren’t. The buyer’s guide will also tell you if the car is being sold as is.
An as-is sale means that any repairs needed during your time driving the car are your responsibility. They won’t be covered by the car’s manufacturer or the dealer you bought the car from.
Every state has different rules around as-is sales. Check with the Attorney General’s office in your state for everything you need to know about buying a car as is, whether through a dealer or a private seller.
Key Takeaway A used car sold with a warranty will cover various repairs and services for your car, but any repairs needed on a car sold “as is” are the buyer’s responsibility.
Does a manufacturer’s warranty still apply?
Check the systems covered/duration section of the buyer’s guide to find out if the used car you’re considering is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Look to see what is covered under the warranty. Be sure to ask the dealer to see the warranty documents and confirm whether the warranty is transferable.
Once you’ve gone over what the warranty covers and what it doesn’t, feel free to contact the manufacturer directly to confirm the warranty’s accuracy.
Examine the warranty details
Most warranties that come with used cars are limited.
You’ll be able to examine the warranty details in the vehicle service contract, as well as who is legally responsible for the repairs and services covered under the warranty. If you have questions, don’t be shy about asking the dealer.
Be sure to check which entity is actually selling the warranty. Sometimes dealers sell a warranty from a third party. If this is the case, do a quick search at the Better Business Bureau to ensure the third-party warranty entity is legitimate.
Key Takeaway Sometimes dealers will sell a used car with a warranty backed by a third party. Be sure to do your due diligence on that entity to ensure its legitimacy.
Are extended warranties worth the cost?
A used car warranty or extended warranty will cover certain repairs on the car, if needed. Ultimately, you should judge whether an extended warranty is worth it by weighing a few key factors.
Factors determining if an extended warranty is worth it
- Transferability: Will the original warranty and powertrain warranty be honored if you buy the car—and if so, how many miles and how much time are still on those warranties?
- Who performs repairs: Does the warranty demand that repairs and maintenance work be done by the dealer?
- Cost: The extended warranty will require an upfront payment of anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Once you get a quote, figure out how much normal repairs on the car will cost to determine whether the extended warranty for used cars is truly worth it.
- Dependability: How dependable is the car, and how likely is it to need repairs down the road?
Alternatives to extended warranties
If you don’t think an extended warranty is worth it for you, be sure to set some money aside to cover any repairs you anticipate needing down the road.
Of course, if you aren’t excited about any of the used cars you’re looking at, you can always lease a new car instead—if that’s within your budget. A new, leased car may carry a warranty, which will cover some repair and maintenance costs on the vehicle.
Is a used car warranty worth it for you?
This will depend on whether a warranty is being offered and the costs associated with it. If no warranty is on offer, you’ll have to consider whether buying an extended warranty is a good choice for you.
If you think you’re better off paying for any repairs out-of-pocket, make sure you can afford to do so.
Saving with Jerry
Your used car may not come with a warranty, but you need to make sure it is covered by car insurance. Jerry can make sure you get the right coverage and the best price for your insurance.
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Frequently asked questions
How much is a warranty on a used car?
It depends, but purchasing an extended warranty on a used car can run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
What is covered under a used car warranty?
A basic used car warranty covers the repairs on the car’s main power components in case of damage, but you’ll need a more extensive warranty to cover the rest of the car’s systems and parts.
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