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Used car warranties: are they worth it?

Latest car guides

August 23rd 2022 info

Car warranties will always be a touchy subject. Some argue that these long-term sales agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, while others wouldn’t be caught dead without paying for a car with the added peace of mind that comes with an extended warranty.

Of course, this effect isn’t bound to just cars, nearly every single item purchased nowadays comes with some form of post-purchase protection. A quick search online shows appliances, entertainment devices, and even clothing, available with extended warranties should you feel concerned about longevity.

So, the question remains: do you fork out a little extra in the hopes that you’ll never need it? Or do you close your eyes and hope for the best? Whatever side of the argument you’re on, join us as we take a deep dive into the world of car warranties, evaluating their worthiness to your next used car purchase.

What is a warranty?

First, let’s go back to basics. A warranty is a guarantee provided to buyers of various items wherein the manufacturer (or seller) promises to conduct necessary repairs or carry out replacements within a certain time frame after an item is purchased if it breaks or faults (but not if you crash the vehicle).

There is no legal obligation for manufacturers to provide warranties; they are free to do so as they please. Some buyers find warranties act as a seal of approval, ensuring that a product will last for at least as long as the warranty is valid.

Naturally, warranties are also available for larger purchases, such as cars. While the exact terms of the warranty may get more complex, the mantra is still the same; if it breaks, you don’t need to worry.

How much does a used car warranty cost?

Due to there being so many variables at stake when buying a used car, it’s difficult to find a definitive cost for all car warranties. However, we can list things that help determine the cost, such as:

  •  Value
  • Age
  • Mileage
  • Extent of cover

You’ll notice that these aspects are also found on car insurance quotes. The reason for this is simple: managing expectations. These agreements are so specific because they need to set solid conditions that all parties can agree to. 

Read more: What cars are the cheapest to insure?

What do used car warranties cover?

Although warranties are traditionally only available on brand new items, used cars are also able to have warranties applied when sold through an appropriate garage. When purchasing, the garage is likely to talk you through the terms of any warranty agreements they have available at the time of purchase.

Exact conditions fluctuate depending on where you shop, but for the most part, car warranties typically cover the costs of repairs to major elements of the vehicle. Generally, the best used car warranties available tend to include the engine, fuel system, air conditioning, gear box, suspension, parts of the clutch, and electrics.

Do car warranties cover everything?

With this said, you’ll have noticed that this doesn’t include many other parts of your vehicle such as paintwork, windows, brake pads, or batteries. That’s because, repairs like this are determined under something called “normal wear and tear”.

As vague as it is, normal wear and tear is a clause that prevents car manufacturers being liable for rudimentary repairs to vehicles, the likes of which should be kept up by drivers over the course of ownership. Without clauses like this, owners would expect manufacturers to maintain every single part of the car, even after it has changed possession.

How do used car warranties work?

So, if this has got you thinking about the warranty on your car, let us explain the whole procedure to make everything clear.

When buying a used car, you opt to add on an additional 12-month warranty that covers all the usual aspects mentioned above. If, after a few months, problems start to develop, your first port of call would be to consult the terms of your warranty policy.

While some policies are more generous than others with what they cover, they can be restricted in other areas. Restrictions like ensuring that cars don’t drive an unexpected amount of miles or making sure all repairs are conducted at approved garages, while limiting, are in place to ensure that everyone is on the same page around where the car has been serviced, and exactly how much it’s being used.

Once your repair has taken place, you would then contact your warranty provider and confirm proof of purchase. After reviewing your claim, you should receive the cost of repairs back within a few days. This process has received criticism for being slow in the past, with a lot of drivers preferring to just absorb the financial burden to get back on the road quicker.

Are used car warranties worth it?

When it comes down to it, the question of whether a used car warranty is worth it ultimately comes down to your circumstances. If you’re a gifted mechanic, you may not need someone to repair your car at all, making a warranty totally useless. For some people, however, may feel a warranty is an absolute necessity.

Take a look at our used cars listed up and down the country from reliable dealers, near your. .

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