If you purchase a car that is under three years old, it will probably still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Used cars bought from dealers may come with a warranty, but often have conditions attached, such as where you may take the car for service – usually specifying the dealership.
Used car warranties can be very complex, varying hugely in the extent and length of cover, and it’s always important to read the small print. Some dealers offer no warranty at all on a used car, particularly for cars at the lower price range. Certainly, if you buy a car privately or at auction, it is unlikely to come with any sort of warranty, though you will, of course, be covered by the Consumer Rights Act, which specifies that goods must be:
- of satisfactory quality
- fit for purpose
- as described
If you want to know how to buy a warranty for a used car, read on.
Considering the complexities involved, before purchasing a used car warranty, the first thing you need to do is research what is available on the market and be aware of a few very basic points
Your questions answered
Do I need to buy a warranty from the dealership?
No, though you may be lucky and buy a car that already has an extended warranty from a reputable company.
Are all warranties the same?
Not at all. There can be huge variations in what is covered and in the terms and conditions. There can also be significant differences in price, so make sure you are buying a warranty that offers good value for money. Opting for the cheapest could work out more expensive in the long term, with claims being denied because you failed to read the terms and conditions fully.
What if the manufacturer’s warranty has run out?
At Car.co.uk, that's not a problem so long as the car has fewer than 120,000 miles on the clock and is less than 12 years old.
I don’t have the full service history.
Again, that need not be a problem. Provided your car has had a full service within 12 months or within the manufacturer’s recommended timescale, you can still apply for an extended car warranty.
What about servicing my car?
Extended warranties do not cover the cost of routine maintenance, such as servicing. You are obliged to take care of the car and have the vehicle fully serviced at the recommended intervals for the warranty to remain valid. However, you will be protected against the cost of unforeseen repairs.
Do I need a full vehicle inspection?
Sometimes, the warranty provider may require an inspection or a photo of the milometer, but the general requirement is that your car must have a current MOT and have been correctly serviced at a garage with VAT registration.
I want my regular garage to repair my car, is that OK?
We deal with any garage or repair station, so long as it is VAT registered, but we also have a network of repairers we are happy to recommend.
Why not just save up the monthly warranty fee?
Certainly, you can do that, but you should bear in mind that the average repair costs three times the monthly warranty fee, leaving you out of pocket. If you need a major repair such as to the engine, clutch, or gearbox, you could be looking at a huge bill. Plus, simply putting money to one side every month is not an option for everybody.
Finally, before laying out a considerable amount of money to buy a used car, you might want a professional opinion. Car.co.uk offers a pre-purchase inspection covering the vehicle inside and out, including a road test.