Used Car Warranties: Important Information to Know Before Buying

Buying a used car is always a solid financial decision, but what about the different car warranty types? You can find a used car with a warranty that transfers over, a certified pre-owned automobile, or an older car with an extended warranty. Which one is right for you?

You can buy a used car with a leftover new car warranty

Used car warranties and what you need to know
A certified pre-owned used car is displayed on a sales lot in California | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

U.S. News says that one of the best ways to get a car warranty is to try and find a used car with the original factory warranty still. That means someone else sold the vehicle before the warranty was up, and you get to take advantage of that. You take the vehicle into the brand’s dealership, and it should be honored.

It is also worth checking if a warranty is transferrable. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties to transfer over to new owners. However, some powertrain warranties only apply to the first owner. For instance, the class-leading 10-year, 100,000-mile Kia warranty is non-transferrable. The second owner gets a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty for the powertrain. On the other end, Acura has a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty that is fully transferrable.

Before deciding on a used car, be sure to check when exactly the warranty is set to expire. You need to check the date when the vehicle was placed in service. You can usually find that on the CarFax report. A car that sat on the lot for a bit might still have a lot of warranty remaining instead of an automobile purchased as soon as it was released.

Certified pre-owned used car warranty options

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A Certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO) is another way to get a used car with a good warranty. These are newer, well-cared for, and usually have low miles. These sometimes only had one owner or were used as a loaner. The dealership will thoroughly inspect the vehicle and verify it is in good shape. Once that is done, the seller will include a warranty beyond the original one. Sometimes a CPO vehicle will consist of extras like trip interruption reimbursement and roadside assistance.

The CPO offerings vary from brand to brand. You can check out the brand’s offerings on the website or give the 1-800 number a call if you have questions. Since the certified pre-owned vehicles have added benefits, the prices can also be a bit higher. It is also worth noting that you can only buy a “real” CPO vehicle at a franchise of the dealership of that brand. So you can’t buy a CPO Mazda CX-5 at a Toyota dealership and get the Mazda-backed warranty.

Forbes says that 2022 is a good year to buy a certified pre-owned car. A significant amount of the leased vehicles behind returned in 2022 are from leases written pre-pandemic. In the future, leases written in 2023 and beyond will consider all of the changes the pandemic brought.

Older vehicles might have extended warranties or evhicle service contracts

Used cars that are significantly older or have higher mileage won’t be certified pre-owned. These vehicles might be eligible for an extended warranty or service contract. These can protect the car longer than the original factory warranty or CPO warranty.

The extended warranty details vary from vehicle to vehicle and place to place. Some companies will cover everything a standard bumper-to-bumper warranty covers. Some will only cover specific pieces or parts of the car. Check out the details before purchasing a new car with an extended warranty.

There are a lot of factors that go into finding a reliable used car, but a warranty is always an excellent option to have. It is also a good idea to set aside some cash for emergency repairs if you find the warranty doesn’t quite cover enough for peace of mind.

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