When purchasing a used vehicle, you need to know if it comes with some of the original manufacturer’s warranty. If you bought your vehicle brand new, keeping track of warranty expirations isn’t always easy. What’s covered and for how long will differ from brand to brand. So, how do you check if a vehicle is still under warranty and what parts are covered?
First, it’s important to know what limited warranties the manufacturer provides on a new vehicle.
There are two primary types of warranty coverage that come with a new vehicle: comprehensive and powertrain. What’s the difference between comprehensive and powertrain?
A comprehensive warranty provides protection against defects in materials and workmanship on most working parts of the vehicle. This includes your suspension, electrical, safety, and hi-tech systems. Most comprehensive manufacturer warranties are 3 years/60,000 km or 4 years/80,000 km.
A powertrain warranty only covers the vehicle parts that provide power and make it move. This is the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. The powertrain coverage is usually longer than the comprehensive coverage.
The vehicle manufacturer may include separate coverage for other parts to be repaired or replaced. These are generally the emissions systems, radio systems, batteries, and other wearable parts. A rust-perforation warranty is also included on new vehicles. Hybrid and electric vehicles come with separate battery and powertrain coverage (most are around 8 years/160,000 km).
It’s important to read the fine print of any warranty and understand what is and isn’t covered on your vehicle.
How Do You Know if Any of These Warranties Are Still Active?
The simplest way to find out is to call a local dealership that sells your brand of vehicle. Before contacting the dealership, you will need to have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and mileage handy. Your VIN is a 17-character series of letters and numbers that are unique to your vehicle. The VIN contains information about the vehicle type and the manufacturer. You can usually find it listed on a small tag located on the driver’s side of the dashboard. It’s visible when looking through the windshield from outside. Your vehicle registration, insurance card, and bill of sale should have your VIN number printed on them as well.
Once you have located your VIN, the next step is checking how many kilometres your car has on the odometer. This information is essential because most warranties have a mileage limitation. With your VIN number and mileage, you have all the information you need. Now, all you need to do is call a dealership to determine if your vehicle’s warranty is still active.
You can also find information about your vehicle’s warranty in the owner’s manual. However, it will not confirm for you if there is or isn’t any warranty left on the vehicle. Warranties start on the date the vehicle was first sold new.
You should also check a Carfax report, a paid service that finds and details your vehicle’s history. It searches through dealer records, insurance records, and provincial registration databases. Most used vehicles bought from a dealership will come with a Carfax report. It will tell you when the vehicle was first registered. This will provide a good approximation of when the vehicle’s warranties began.
A Carfax report can also tell you about any accidents, major repairs, or services done at the dealership. Having background information on your vehicle is essential. It can help protect you from hidden problems and give you confidence in your vehicle choice.
Follow The Manufacturers Maintenance Schedule
Vehicle warranties are not unconditional. If you want your manufacturer to honour their warranty, you need to maintain your vehicle. Be sure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule. You can find it in your owner’s manual. The service shop where you get your maintenance done can also often provide it.
Get your oil changes, wheel alignments, and fluid changes done at the right intervals. This is crucial for maintaining warranty coverage. It will also help ensure your car stays in the best possible condition.
Extended Car Warranties
If the manufacturer’s warranty expires you will have different options to extend it. You can often extend the comprehensive and powertrain or the powertrain only. If you have a newer vehicle you definitely want to have a comprehensive extension. Powertrain-only coverage is limited. Be sure to shop around and understand what you are getting.
When buying an extension with a multi-year lifespan, you’re better off with an insurance policy than a service contract. The financial stability and claims coverage are better with an insurance policy. It will also offer you greater flexibility if you need to cancel.
If you are unsure about your warranty coverage don’t worry, because you can check if your vehicle is still under warranty. Find your VIN number, get your mileage, and call a dealership to see if your car is still covered. Do you have an extended warranty plan for your vehicle? If you do, you’ll need to reach out to the warranty provider for information about your specific terms. If not, you can get a policy online and shop around to get coverage.