New cars on sale in the UK come with a warranty provided by the manufacturer, often lasting for the first three years or until the car has been driven for 60,000 miles - although an increasing number of manufacturers offer longer warranties. This is covered by the New Car Code from the Motor Industry Code of Practice.
Kia, for example, makes its seven-year warranty a major selling point. Many dealers also offer additional enhanced or extended warranties to provide even more comprehensive cover.
The basics of the law
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 protects the purchaser in several ways. Firstly, whatever you buy - whether it's a phone, a sofa or a car - it must be 'of satisfactory quality'. Secondly, the item must be 'fit for purpose', or in other words it must function as you would expect. Finally, your purchased item must be 'as described'. For example, if you ordered leather seats or a sunroof, these features must be present.
So, what does a new car warranty cover?
New cars come with a basic or limited warranty, which is primarily designed to protect the purchaser against factory defects or problems resulting from a manufacturing error. These 'bumper to bumper' warranties usually cover everything except body panels and parts regarded as wear-and-tear items, such as brake pads, wiper blades and oil filters.
You should be covered for pretty much all mechanical and electrical faults. Drivetrain components (the parts that make the car move, like the engine, transmission and driveshaft) are covered too, although you do need to look carefully at the small print as there can be some variations in terms of specific manufacturers. You will also be covered if your car develops rust. Protection against rust tends to be for the first three years, although BMW offers an impressive extended 10-year rust cover.
Some manufacturers now offer roadside assistance as part of their new car warranties and others include free maintenance and servicing for a limited period. Both of these features can be particularly cost effective and reassuring elements of a new car warranty.
Is there anything not covered by a standard new car warranty?
Many things are not covered by new car warranties. For example, car tyres are not a protected item. Some manufacturers do offer a separate tyre warranty, provided not by the maker of the car, but by the manufacturer of the tyres. Otherwise, tyres are regarded as 'wear and tear' items and so come under the same category as wiper blades and brake pads.
Other possible exemption include:
- Although the clutch unit parts are covered, the clutch plate itself normally isn’t.
- Your braking system will be covered, but brake pads tend not to be as, again, they fall into the 'wear and tear category'.
- Damage to glass and bodywork, as well as accidental damage to interior features such as upholstery, are often not covered by the manufacturer's warranty, although dealers may offer 'top up' extensions which offer you broader protection for issues like scratches, scrapes and incidental bodywork damage.
Check the details for peace of mind
There is no doubt that a new car warranty will provide you with reassuring and reliable cover, and it is one of the major benefits of buying a brand new car. At Car.co.uk we encourage you to check the specific details of your manufacturer's warranty for what is and isn't covered, and for any potential exclusions or additional costs. Knowing exactly where you stand will make for a happier and more relaxing driving experience.
When the manufacturer’s warranty runs on, you may wish to purchase an extended warranty so that you are still protected from a range of faults and repairs