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Used car warranty: all you need to know

These days, thanks to technological automotive advances, cars are built to last. They can take a fair bit of punishment from both the road and even unruly passengers, with many offering near-indestructible interiors and the ability to clock up hundreds of thousands of miles with the aid of regular maintenance. 

Despite the confidence we have in contemporary car design, whether brand new or second-hand, it still pays to have certain parameters in check. It’s important to you keep your tyres in good condition and have trusty breakdown cover regardless of a vehicle’s condition and age. 

But that’s not all. You also need to consider a car warranty. 

The majority of used vehicles now feature advanced electronics to aid with regulating everything from the engine to the brakes, but things can still go wrong. All of this technology means that, if your used car does have a problem, it’s likely to be a potentially expensive electronic issue you’ll need to fix. 

So, with the help of a used car warranty, you could save yourself money in the long run if things to go awry. Here’s everything you need to know about them. 

Types of used car warranty 

A vehicle warranty provides additional insurance cover against a number of mechanical and electrical faults, all without overriding or replacing your statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act. Below are the different types of warranty and what you need to know about them:

New car warranty

If the used car is less than three years old, it’s more than likely that it will still be covered by the original manufacturer’s car warranty. 

This type of warranty is generally the most stress-free and efficient, as it allows you to make a claim through the manufacturer or franchised car dealership. However, for the warranty to remain valid, you must have the vehicle serviced regularly and adhere to the given dates. 

A new car warranty generally runs for a three year period, though it’s best to check the details of this when purchasing, as some dealerships will offer an extended warranty. 

Approved used car warranty

You’ll find that a large dealership, which offers many of the main car brands, will ordinarily include an approved used car warranty. This warranty usual covers the vehicle for 12 months, and it will be managed by a third-party insurer on behalf of the dealership or vehicle manufacturer. 

An approved used car warranty will often require the vehicle to be serviced by a franchised dealership, or by the same dealership from which you purchased the warranty. 

Aftermarket used car warranty

The most common type of used car warranty from a dealership is an aftermarket used car warranty. While it’s common, the value and duration of this kind of warranty can differ massively from deal to deal.

Many will offer the warranty as a branded add-on to the used car transaction with a third-party insurer. The terms offered can range anywhere from one week to a whole year and may also exclude certain areas from warranty coverage. Any repairs may also have to be carried out by a garage that has been approved by the third party themselves.

With this in mind, it’s recommended that you check the ins-and-outs of any aftermarket used car warranty. Always read the fine print and check the terms and conditions presented to you, especially concerning older vehicles or cars with higher mileage.

What if a car has no warranty?

It’s perfectly legal for a used car dealership to sell a vehicle with no warranty at all. You’ll often come across this with cheaper used cars, where a deal hinges on a low price tag rather than the inclusion of a warranty. 

As much as you can bag yourself a bargain by negotiating a deal where a warranty has been waived, you should exercise a little extra caution too. While you’ve saved some money on the purchase price, with no used car warranty, you’re financially responsible for any faults or malfunctions with the car. 

Make sure you ask questions

When purchasing any used car, it’s important that you ask questions about what’s included with any manufacturer, third party, or extended vehicle warranty. 

Some dealers may try to brush off any questions and get them answered at a later date. We recommend persevering and getting proper answers, as well as a used car warranty quote, a printed copy of your warranty and its terms and conditions.

It’s especially important to ask questions in the case of a vehicle with no warranty, as although there are no laws against this, it can sometimes be a sign that the dealer is trying to hide details about the car’s condition. 

If you’re worried about the condition of a vehicle, you can always get Green Flag's Vehicle Check (a cheaper, more comprehensive HPI Check).

How to claim a warranty

Depending on the type of warranty, making a warranty claim can be a little long-winded.

As we mentioned earlier, a new car warranty or manufacturer’s warranty is the most straightforward kind of claim to deal with. It won’t cost you a penny, and the majority of dealerships will also give you a courtesy car to make sure you can get out and about in the meantime. Similarly, claiming with a franchised used car dealership should be just as hassle-free, with the majority offering a top-notch service and courtesy cars too. 

The process of dealing with a third-party warranty really depends on the quality of the policy itself. As proceedings have to go through another party separate to yourself and the garage, they can sometimes be a little time consuming given the assessments and quotes that are needed to be put in place before any repairs are approved. 

Depending on the nature of the warranty, some third parties will also require you to use a pre-approved garage of their choosing. Location is usually taken into account, but if you’re without a vehicle and the garage lies further afield, this can sometimes be a little problematic. 

Certain warranties will also require you to pay for the repair work initially before being reimbursed by the third party. You should always ensure that you have the finances in place to deal with this comfortably – and remember, always read the small print! 

You should now be fully clued up on buying a used car warranty. Don’t forget to keep on top of your tyres and update that breakdown cover, and for more essential motoring information and guides, browse our blog page.

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