How Long Does A New Car’s Warranty Last?

by | Dec 25, 2020

What is a Car Warranty?

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a warranty as a promise to stand behind the integrity of warrantied product.

This means a car warranty is a promise made by the manufacturer that if something goes wrong, the manufacturer will fix it.

Federal law requires that car warranties be available for you to read before you buy even when you are shopping by catalog or on the Internet.

Federal law also requires all warranties to be included as part of the purchase price of your car. If the warranty you want to buy is not included in the purchase price of your vehicle, it is a vehicle service contract.

A vehicle service contract is not the same as a warranty, even though both provide repair coverage for your car.

The 3 Different Types Of Car Warranties You Need To Be Aware Of

Using the legal definition above, there are 3 types of car warranties you need to be aware of. 

1: Manufacturer (Factory) Warranty

All new vehicles come with a manufacturer warranty. There are multiple types of manufacturer warranties including:

Bumper-To-Bumper / Limited Warranty:

The bumper-to-bumper warranty provides repair coverage for all the mechanical parts of your car, hence the name. This warranty can also be called the basic warranty or limited warranty.

The industry standard bumper-to-bumper warranty covers your new car for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, companies like Hyundai offer bumper-to-bumper coverage for 5 years  or 60,000 miles.

This is almost always what people mean when they talk about the manufacturer warranty.

It covers:

  • Mechanical breakdowns from non-wear-and-tear parts, as well as any other manufacturing defects. Generally speaking, any breakdown from normal use is covered during this warranty.

It does NOT cover:

  • Wear and tear parts (think brakes, windshield wipers, tires, batteries, etc)
  • Damage caused by misuse, including negligence, dangerous driving, etc.
  • Damage covered by insurance (accidents, acts of nature)
  • Routine services like oil changes
  • Safety inspections

Powertrain Warranty:

The powertrain warranty provides repair coverage for the parts of your car that move it forward, including your engine, transmission, and transfer case.

Some companies do not offer a separate powertrain warranty, which means your manufacturer warranty coverage will run out when the bumper to bumper coverage period is over.

If you do have powertrain coverage you can expect to be covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles, all the way up to 10 years or 100,000 miles in some cases.

It covers:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Transaxle parts

It does NOT cover:

  • Anything other than what is listed above.
  • Wear and tear parts, including spark plugs, clutch packs, etc.
  • Damage caused by misuse, including negligence, dangerous driving, etc.
  • Damage covered by insurance (accidents, acts of nature)
  • Routine services like transmission fluid changes

Anti-Perforation Warranty:

Exact as the name implies, the anti-perforation warranty protects you from corrosion, typically on the body from the lower window line down on your car.

Manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia both include anti-perforation coverage as part of their warranty. Coverage typically lasts for a fixed period of time, which in Hyundai’s case is 7 years with unlimited miles.

It covers:

  • Rust to body panels, typically from the lower window line down.

Emissions Warranty:

The emissions warranty covers parts related to emission control, including your catalytic converter and ECU (engine control unit). The length of coverage varies depending on which manufacturer you go with, so check the warranty handbook included with your vehicle.

 The manufacturer warranty average coverage period is around 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

It covers:

  • Emissions repairs like your catalytic converter, engine control unit, and onboard emissions diagnostic device.

2: Dealership Warranty

When you buy a car from the dealership, you often receive coverage for the first 90 days or so after you take delivery of the vehicle, although this can vary from dealership to dealership.

The terms and conditions of this warranty must be disclosed to you ahead of time and are available in the contract between you and the dealership.

Depending on the coverage, you can expect it to cover:

  • Minor adjustments and alignments
  • Leaks, squeaks, and rattles
  • Pre-existing issues that the dealership “fixed” prior to purchase
  • Other major hinderances

3: “Lemon Law” Warranty

If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico or New York, when you buy a used car, you may be covered by a “lemon law” warranty.

A “lemon” is a used car that experiences frequent problems that make it unsafe to drive. Although all 50 states do have consumer protection laws, only the states mentioned above have specific lemon laws on the books.

The laws provide a used-car warranty, often based upon the age or mileage of the vehicle.

If the vehicle exhibits problems during the warranty period, the dealer gets a chance to repair them. If those fixes do not work after several tries, the dealer must either replace the car or refund the buyer’s money.

How To Know If Your Car Is Still Under Warranty

If your car is less than 3 years old and has fewer than 36,000 miles, it may still be covered by your manufacturer’s warranty.

If you are still covered by your manufacturer warranty, you do not need a vehicle service contract yet!

To make this easier on you, check the table below to see when your bumper to bumper coverage expires.

How Long Your Bumper To Bumper Warranty Lasts

ManufacturerWarranty Period
Acura4 years / 50,000 miles
Audi4 years / 50,000 miles
BMW4 years / 50,000 miles
Buick3 years / 36,000 miles
Cadillac4 years / 50,000 miles
Chevrolet3 years / 36,000 miles
Chrysler3 years / 36,000 miles
Dodge3 years / 36,000 miles
Ford3 years / 36,000 miles
GMC3 years / 36,000 miles
Honda3 years / 36,000 miles
Hyundai5 years / 60,000 miles
Infiniti4 years / 60,000 miles
Jaguar5 years / 60,000 miles
Jeep3 years / 36,000 miles
Kia5 years / 60,000 miles
Lexus4 years / 50,000 miles
Mazda3 years / 36,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz4 years / 50,000 miles
Mitsubishi5 years / 60,000 miles
Nissan3 years / 36,000 miles
Ram3 years / 36,000 miles
Subaru3 years / 36,000 miles
Suzuki3 years / 36,000 miles
Tesla4 years / 50,000 miles
Toyota3 years / 36,000 miles
Volkswagen4 years / 50,000 miles
Volvo4 years / 50,000 miles

Typically, powertrain coverage lasts quite a bit longer for the manufacturers that do offer it. All makes marked with a * only carry the bumper to bumper coverage as described above.

How Long Your Powertrain Warranty Lasts

ManufacturerWarranty Period
Acura6 years / 70,000 miles
Audi*4 years / 50,000 miles
BMW*4 years / 50,000 miles
Buick6 years / 70,000 miles
Cadillac6 years / 70,000 miles
Chevrolet5 years / 60,000 miles
Chrysler5 years / 60,000 miles
Dodge4 years / 60,000 miles
Ford5 years / 60,000 miles
GMC5 years / 60,000 miles
Honda5 years / 60,000 miles
Hyundai10 years / 100,000 miles
Infiniti7 years / 70,000 miles
Jaguar*5 years / 60,000 miles
Jeep5 years / 60,000 miles
Kia10 years / 100,000 miles
Lexus6 years / 70,000 miles
Mazda5 years / 60,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz*4 years / 50,000 miles
Mitsubishi10 years / 100,000 miles
Nissan5 years / 60,000 miles
Ram5 years / 60,000 miles (gas) 5 years / 100,000 miles (diesel)
Subaru5 years / 60,000 miles
Suzuki7 years / 100,000 miles
Tesla8 years / 125,000 miles
Toyota6 years / 60,000 miles
Volkswagen*4 years / 50,000 miles
Volvo*4 years / 50,000 miles

If My Car Is Under Warranty Do I Still Need To Pay For Service?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes. A manufacturer warranty is meant to ensure your car is working correctly, not to provide services like oil changes, new tires, etc.

These items are considered “wear and tear” items that will need to be replaced during normal driving. They are not normally covered under most new car warranty plans.

While some manufacturers such as BMW do have free service included when you buy the car, this is separate from the warranty, and does not last as long as the warranty period.

You can check what the free service interval is, but typically it’s between 3-6 months or up to around 10,000 miles or so.

Has Your Manufacturer Warranty Expired? Extend Your Protection With A Vehicle Service Contract

A vehicle service contract provides the same great benefits as your car’s manufacturer warranty after it expires. You can get total car coverage plus 24/7 roadside assistance plus free oil changes and tire rotations.

That’s not to mention a vehicle service contract from Protect My Car also pays for your rental car, hotels/meals, AND gives you up to $150 a month in rewards at your favorite stores and resteraunts.

If you are interested to see how easy it can be to protect your car, just fill out the form below to get started.

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