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Tips for Car Warranty Comparisons

by Autobytel Staff
May 20, 2011

Car Warranty Comparison

When doing a car warranty comparison you will want to examine the different types of warranties that are available.  There are basic warranties often included in the purchase of a new vehicle; however there are additional warranties that dealerships offer that are often beneficial.  A car warranty comparison will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a warranty beyond your basic manufacturer warranty.

In your research, compare car warranties by asking the dealer how many years and miles are covered.  Also ask what types of repairs and maintenance are included with that warranty.  In a car warranty comparison you can see these specifics and determine which fits best for the type of car you intend to purchase and how long you plan on keeping the vehicle.  Most dealerships will offer the same types of warranties.  However keep in mind that the specifics of the warranties will vary per manufacturer.  Here is an example of warranties you will find. 

Manufacturer Car Warranty Comparison Example:

Model             Basic               Powertrain     Corrosion                 Roadside Assistance

Cadillac           4/50,000        5/100,000      6/100,000                 5/100,000

Honda             3/36,000        5/60,000        5/Unlimited               Not Offered

Lexus              4/50,000        6/70,000        6/Unlimited               4/Unlimited

Mazda             3/36,000        5/60,000        5/Unlimited               3/36,000

Toyota             3/36,000        5/60,000        5/Unlimited               Not Offered

Volvo              4/50,000        4/50,000        12/Unlimited              4/50,000

To compare car warranties, take a look at these common types of warranties:

  • Basic
  • Drivetrain/Powertrain
  • Corrosion
  • Roadside
  • Extended


First thing you want to do when doing a car warranty comparison is to look at the basic warranty given by the manufacturer.  You may find that the basic warranty is all you need.  A basic warranty is a factory-backed warranty for new cars.  It covers most things on the vehicle for a specified time and mileage.  For instance, a basic warranty for a Ford covers repairs for up to 3 years or 36,000 miles.  Generally, basic covers the steering, exhaust, suspension, and electronics, parts and labor. 

Your next step is to compare car warranties such as a powertrain warranty.  A powertrain warranty covers the vehicle components such as the transmission, engine and drive-train.  There are variances in what is covered depending the type of vehicle such as diesel trucks or hybrid cars.  Check with the manufacturer for specific details. 

Corrosion or rust warranties, as you can see in the car warranty comparison above, often have a higher or unlimited mileage limit.  One reason may be that it covers rust that has gone all the way through the sheet metal not basic rust or rust on the shell of the car.  Corrosion is also normally covered for a longer period.  This may not be beneficial to your vehicle because of where you live or other circumstances.  You need to decipher what your needs are when you compare car warranties.

There is also something called roadside assistance.  This falls into the car warranty comparison table because it’s a service that is often provided by dealerships at the time of purchase.  If your vehicle brakes down, your keys get locked inside the car, or you run out of gas, you will be eligible for assistance.

An extended car warranty is another type of warranty that extends the basic manufacturer warranty beyond its original time.  If you purchase an extended warranty, it starts when your original warranty expires.  A car warranty comparison of the different types of warranties can be useful especially if you plan on keeping the car for longer period.  Comparing car warranties such as an extended warranty will help you look at the big picture on what you may or may not need down the line.  If you expect to keep the car for the next 5 years but your basic warranty only covers your vehicle for 3/36,000, it may benefit you to purchase some type of extended warranty. 

Two other things to keep in mind when comparing car warranties is what maintenance will be required per your warranty agreement and what are the specifics of what is covered.  If you do not follow the agreement as outlined in the terms of your warranty you may not be eligible for repairs.  For example, your warranty may not be valid if you do not change the oil per so many miles. Also when doing a car warranty comparison, read the specifics of what is covered.  There are warranty exclusions that will not be covered in your agreement.   Comparing car warranties can seem daunting at first.  Just make sure to read your agreement carefully to be sure you understand what is covered and what is not covered.


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