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What Is a Manufacturer Warranty and How Long Does It Last?

Manufacturer warranties are offered to customers as a promise that the seller backs their product. Normally, a seller will repair, replace or reimbursement the customer if the product breaks or fails in some way. Normally, manufacturer warranties come with kitchen appliances, mattresses, and of course, vehicles.

Whether you’ve purchased a new or certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle, chances are your car manufacturer offers a basic warranty plan along with your purchase.

No matter the car brand, your car is most likely going to outlast the manufacturer warranty—and when that happens, you’ll want to consider an extended warranty, which offers continued protection for your vehicle.

CARCHEX is a leading extended warranty provider with over 20 years in the industry. Get a free quote from one of our experts to see how affordable it can be to cover your vehicle.

Types of Manufacturer Warranties

A manufacturer warranty is also called a factory warranty. It usually covers parts and systems that break down due to flaws or defects in factory-installed parts. Typically, a warranty is offered on any new or certified pre-owned vehicle and covers any defect or breakdown that occurs from the manufacturer’s design. If you buy your vehicle from a friend or from someone online, you won’t get a manufacturer warranty, unless they transfer it to your name.

The plans vary depending on the manufacturer, but here are some types of warranties you’re going to come across.

New Vehicle Limited Warranty

Limited warranties on new vehicles usually cover the majority of car systems and parts for a few years. Most last up to three years or 36,000 miles, but this really depends on your car model, make, year, etc. Some will last much longer.

Emissions Warranty Coverage

Vehicle manufacturers are required by law to provide at least two years or 24,000 miles of emissions control coverage. Some parts are required to be covered for up to eight years or 80,000 miles. Not every state requires an emissions inspection, but if your state does and your car fails, the manufacturer should cover the repairs while under warranty.

Lifetime Limited Parts Warranty

“Lifetime” always sounds good, but what exactly is covered for a lifetime? When it comes to vehicles, the lifespan is getting longer and longer. If you maintain your vehicle properly, it could last beyond 200,000 miles. A limited parts warranty means the manufacturer will cover the repair or replacement of certain parts for the duration of your car’s lifetime. Some plans include a term for some parts and lifetime for others.

Maintenance Warranty Coverage

Not all, but some manufacturers offer maintenance warranty plans. These are typically offered as additional add-on coverage. Because car repair and maintenance costs an average of $1,186 per year, it’s worth considering. One issue is these warranty plans often must be purchased when you buy your vehicle. Also, your vehicle will typically outlast them.

What’s Not Covered by Your Manufacturer Warranty?

A manufacturer warranty will cover repairs and replacements due to factory errors, but not damage outside of that.

Here’s what’s not covered by a typical car warranty:

  • Regular car maintenance—Oil changes, brake pad replacements, tire rotation, and similar tasks are not usually covered by manufacturer warranties.
  • Wear and tear items—Brakes, brake pads, clutches, windshield wiper replacements, and more are not included in most car warranties.
  • Damage caused by accidents or environmental factors—If your car is damaged from being hit by another car or by elements like hail, wind, or salt, the repairs and replacements won’t be covered by your manufacturer warranty. However, your insurance company probably will provide coverage.
  • Cosmetic parts—If you get a ding in your windshield or your paint chips, a manufacturer warranty won’t cover the repairs. There are some manufacturers who offer cosmetic plans, but these usually aren’t in your warranty.
  • Damage caused by improper car care—If you avoid regular maintenance, don’t expect the manufacturer to repair or replace a part for you.

Vehicles aren’t meant to last forever, but they can last for many, many years if taken care of properly. In addition to sticking to proper maintenance, it’s a good idea to consider an extended warranty plan, which ensures your car gets covered for mechanical breakdowns long after your car warranty ends.

Car mechanics fixing a car

Length of Manufacturer Warranties

Not all manufacturer warranties are the same. The length varies depending on the car brand, make, model, year, and more. Here is a comparison of some of the most common car warranties (by brand) and their lengths:

Car Brand Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage Powertrain Coverage
Nissan 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Hyundai 5 years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Chevrolet 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Toyota 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Ford 3 years of 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles

When your factory warranty ends, you lose coverage on your vehicle parts and systems, which is why extended warranty is so important. Buying extended auto warranty plans from a third-party provider like CARCHEX are typically more affordable than buying them from the factory.

What’s an Extended Warranty?

Extended warranties, also called vehicle service contracts, are warranties that provide coverage after your manufacturer warranty ends. Some manufacturers offer their own contracts, but there are often restrictions on when you can buy one. For example, some manufacturers require that the car is still under its original warranty.

Outside of the manufacturer, you can buy an extended warranty through a car dealer or a third-party provider such as CARCHEX. The timing of when you can purchase these plans is generally more flexible. For example, CARCHEX covers cars past 100,000 miles.

Manufacturer Warranty vs. Extended Warranty

One of the biggest differentiators between a manufacturer warranty and an extended warranty is that manufacturer warranties come with new or certified pre-owned vehicles. You pay extra for an extended warranty, since it’s a separate contract.

You can buy an extended warranty before or after your manufacturer warranty expires. You can expect to save money on your extended warranty cost if you purchase it before the manufacturer warranty expiration. This is because the car will be newer.

Financial Benefits of Extended Warranty Plans

Repairs and replacements can be costly and stressful when you don’t expect them. A car transmission, for example, costs an average of $1,800 to $3,400 to replace. A fuel pump costs an average of $425 to replace, and a coolant change can cost anywhere from $115 to $140. The average cost of replacing a power steering pump is anywhere from $487 to $716.

Vehicle service protection plans can save you hundreds, if not thousands, on unexpected repairs and replacements. This is extremely beneficial, especially if you have a high-mileage vehicle that’s more likely to need repairs. Mechanical breakdowns and everyday wear and tear on car parts are inevitable, no matter how well you take care of your vehicle, so get the peace of mind you need with extended coverage on your vehicle.

Young women singing and having fun on road trip with convertible car.

Extended Coverage from CARCHEX

With five different protection plan levels, CARCHEX offers customizable care. Get a basic powertrain warranty or a bumper-to-bumper, comprehensive warranty and enjoy all of the benefits of choosing CARCHEX, including:

  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee—If you’re not satisfied with your plan, or if you change your mind after purchasing, you can get a full reimbursement for up to 30 days.
  • Flexible repair facility options—With an extended warranty from CARCHEX, as opposed to a manufacturer warranty, you get to choose your own repair shop, mechanics, and parts.
  • 24/7 emergency roadside assistance—You can’t predict when your car will breakdown. Roadside assistance, rental car coverage, and towing reimbursement are also included in all CARCHEX plans.
  • Direct payments—Rather than waiting for reimbursement, CARCHEX pays the repair shop directly. This is ideal for any customer wanting to avoid out-of-pocket fees.
  • Affordable payment plans—With extended warranties from CARCHEX, you can pay up front or choose a monthly payment option. Deductibles can be as low as $0.
  • Free quote available—You don’t have to wait to determine the cost of a protection plan. Simply fill out our online form and get a quote on your vehicle today.

With CARCHEX, you get peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered should anything happen after your manufacturer warranty ends. Our customer Horacio S. left us this review on Better Business Bureau in 2019:

Great prices and great customer service! Would recommend it to anyone looking for an extended warranty for their vehicle.”

Car parts

Get a Free Quote from CARCHEX

When your manufacturer warranty expires, don’t forget to get coverage. You don’t want to end up paying a high repair cost, especially if you’ve only had your vehicle for a few years. Save yourself the hassle and call to speak with a CARCHEX expert today.


FAQ: Manufacturer Warranties

What is manufacturer defect warranty?

A manufacturer defect warranty is typically meant to cover any repairs, replacement, or reimbursements needed should the product fail or break due to manufacturer defects. This extends to various consumer items.

How do you check your car warranty?

You should be able to check the warranty terms and conditions online. Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) on hand.

Can you get a factory warranty on a used car?

You can only get a factory warranty on a certified pre-owned vehicle. You can also get a factory warranty on a leased vehicle, but you can’t get one on a non-certified pre-owned vehicle. So, if you’re considering a Craigslist car, you’ll want an extended warranty right away.

Can you transfer a manufacturer warranty?

It depends on the manufacturer and the vehicle. Sometimes, just part of the warranty will transfer, or the second owner will get a shortened version of the warranty. Check your warranty agreement to know for sure.

What is the Manufacturer Warranty Law?

An implied warranty of merchantability is a guarantee by a seller that any product being sold is free of defects and is functional. Essentially, this law ensures that consumers are able to repair, replace, or return a product that is damaged or defective. When the product costs more than $10, the seller must include “full” or “limited” to define their warranty plan

What happens when your manufacturer warranty expires?

When your factory warranty expires, you lose coverage. That’s why having an extended warranty is so important.


EPA: https://www.epa.gov/transportation-air-pollution-and-climate-change/frequent-questions-related-transportation-air

AAA: https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/emissions-inspection/

AARP: https://www.aarp.org/auto/trends-lifestyle/info-2018/how-long-do-cars-last.html

Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/car-repair-maintenance/make-your-car-last-200-000-miles/

AAA: https://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/cost-to-own-a-vehicle/

Transmission Repair Guide: https://www.transmissionrepaircostguide.com/

Auto Service Costs: https://autoservicecosts.com/fuel-pump-replacement-cost/

RepairPal: https://repairpal.com/estimator/coolant-change-cost

RepairPal: https://repairpal.com/estimator/power-steering-pump-replacement-cost

Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/us/md/hunt-valley/profile/extended-warranty-contract-service-companies/carchex-0011-23015869/customer-reviews

Cornell: https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-314

UpCounsel: https://www.upcounsel.com/warranty-laws-by-state 

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We proudly offer the CARCHEX No-Haggle, Lowest Price Everyday Guarantee™ for all of our auto warranty and car inspection programs.
Consistent with consumers’ understandings and expectations of the market in which CARCHEX operates, CARCHEX uses the terms “warranty”; “extended warranty”, “extended auto warranty”, “extended service protection plan” and similar terms to describe the more technical term “vehicle service contracts”. For more information, see this FTC link or learn more here or by reviewing CARCHEX’s website.
CARCHEX markets and sells extended warranties on behalf of third party extended warranty providers, and your extended warranty will be between you and the provider. This website site is intended solely for the purpose of providing general information regarding the purchase of extended warranties. Specific contract terms, rates, taxes, fees and other charges are determined upon validation of vehicle information and acceptance by the extended warranty provider, for which CARCHEX is not responsible. Extended warranties may not be sold where prohibited by law.
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