When looking to purchase a new or used vehicle, it’s important to not only understand the features that the car comes with, but also what is included in your car warranty. From bumper-to-bumper basic coverage to extended warranties, there’s a lot to unpack. Here are some answers to the more frequently asked questions about car warranties.

Length of warranties

How long does a car warranty last?

A car warranty is active the day you purchase your vehicle. Warranty periods are not all the same. Even if the manufacturer lists three years of warranty, some parts may be covered for much longer under federal laws (emissions control warranties, for instance). Manufacturer warranties includes your suspension, electrical, safety, and hi-tech systems. Most comprehensive manufacturer warranties are three years/60,000 km or four years/80,000 km.

Who has the longest car warranty in Canada?

Kia, Genesis, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai offer the longest warranties on the market today. Their bumper-to-bumper warranties cover five years or 60,000 miles, and each offers a powertrain warranty that covers 10 years or 100,000 miles. But it doesn’t cover everything: “Wear and tear” components that often require frequent replacement as part of the vehicle’s normal use aren’t protected. These wear items include tires, windshield wipers, brake pads, and even shock absorbers. While the bumper-to-bumper warranty does not cover the cost of routine scheduled maintenance, some automakers have created prepaid maintenance plans. Prospective buyers can add to their finance or lease deal so that they don’t have to pay on the spot for service visits. Some automakers also provide free maintenance within the warranty period, such as BMW and Volvo.

Used vehicles and car warranties

How do I check if my car is under warranty?

Unsure if your warranty is still valid? Check your vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) located on your insurance policy or inside the vehicle. You can then call a dealership that makes your type of vehicle, and speak to its service department. They will be able to let you know if any warranty is valid.

Can a warranty be transferable?

If you purchase a previously-owned vehicle and its warranty is transferable, it is active from when the original owner bought the vehicle.

What type of warranty coverages are there?

Does a car warranty cover accidental damage?

No. Your warranty does not cover accidental damage. This may, however, be covered under your car insurance.

What doesn’t a car warranty cover?

If you buy your car brand new from the dealer, it will come with a bumper-to-bumper factory basic warranty. This covers almost everything on the car except the standard wear and tear. The body panels, chassis, and safety systems are all included. If you have a mechanical failure during this initial warranty period, the dealer will fix it free of charge. The following situations are NOT covered:

  • Damages from an accident
  • Misuse of the vehicle
  • Normal wear and tear (brake pads, tires)
  • Routine service and maintenance

What questions about car warranties should you be asking the dealer?

Before you buy any item of significant cost to you, find out the terms and costs of a manufacturer’s warranty:

  • Is the cost of the warranty extra or included in the price of the product?
  • How long does the warranty last?
  • Where will you have to go to get warranty repairs? Does the seller take care of the repairs or do you have to ship it somewhere at your own cost?
  • Are there any warranty conditions tied to the use of the product?
  • Does the warranty cover part and service costs?
  • What are your rights in terms of cancelling the warranty?

Should I buy an extended warranty for my vehicle?

If your factory warranty is going to expire soon, you may be thinking about getting an extended warranty. Before you purchase one, Edmunds.com suggests that you ask yourself these six questions:

1. Do you really need an extended warranty?

If you want the peace of mind that most unexpected car breakdowns will be covered, then you should consider getting an auto warranty. Cars that see heavy use (commuting, job, travel, etc.) tend to have more mechanical problems. Also, if you live in areas with harsh weather conditions (snow, heat, rain, etc.), then breakdowns are more likely.

2. What’s covered?

Make sure you get all the details about coverage upfront. Even basic coverage can include a long list of components that are and aren’t covered. Compare the specifics of the plans you’re considering to find one that matches your needs.

3. How long is coverage available?

Extended warranty plans typically cover your vehicle anywhere from two to seven years. Even if you do sell your car before the warranty runs out, your extended protection plan may be transferable.

Here’s a look at bargaining strategies that an ace negotiator employs when shopping for an extended warranty:

4. Is the auto warranty transfrrable?

Some are transferrable, so if you sell your car, the warranty will still apply for the new owner. Typically, there’s a transfer fee that’ll cost you about $40 to $50. Transferrable auto warranties increase the value of any used car that’s for sale.

5. What’s the warranty provider’s business reputation?

To avoid scam warranty providers, you’ll want to check the company’s reputation. A long track record means that customers have been satisfied and are coming back for more business.

6. Are there any other benefits? 

Perks, like a free rental car, can be a life saver when you’re waiting for repairs to be completed. Trip interruption reimbursement can save you money. And 24-hour roadside assistance gives you access to help when you need it most. These types of benefits are signs of a good extended vehicle protection plan.

Do you have to have your vehicle repaired at the dealership?

No. The Competition Bureau of Canada, a government agency that ensures fair competition and market practices in Canada, states that warranties cannot be voided simply because a consumer chooses to have their car serviced by an independent repair shop. In addition, according to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP), using an independent repair shop will not void a car’s warranty. However, this is as long as the repairs are performed according to the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines.

Will Canadian manufacturers honour warranties on imported vehicles?

Most vehicle manufacturers refuse to honour warranties on imported vehicles from the United States or other countries. Before buying a foreign vehicle with a warranty and importing it to Canada, contact the manufacturer to get the latest information on warranty coverage. You should also consider if you need to have your vehicle regularly serviced, or serviced by the dealer, in order to meet your responsibilities as the vehicle owner and to ensure warranties are not voided.

Manufacturer’s warranties are usually not valid from one country to another. Questions about car warranties should be discussed prior to bringing them across the border.

Do I need to register my warranty?

Make sure to register newly-bought products and warranties online. Keep sales receipts and product information—you will need them if you make a warranty claim in the future.

What is the process of making a warranty claim?

To make a claim, you must contact the company or the manufacturer directly. Make sure to explain the issue in detail. You will need to provide documentation, such as your warranty information and original sales receipts, when submitting your claim.

Check out The Complaint Roadmap for tips on how to make a complaint to help you submit your claim.

How can I avoid car warranty scams?

If you are getting calls claiming to offer you an extended warranty that can save you money on potential car expenses, you might be wondering if there’s any truth to the calls. Usually, there isn’t. Some fraudsters call or email consumers pretending to offer software, telecommunications, internet, and other services. They often offer fake extended warranties for these services. It’s always best to talk to the dealer or your isure representative to better understand what’s in your warranty before you take on any more. We can give you helpful tips on how to recognize such service scams. If you are a victim of an extended warranty scam, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

If you still have questions about car warranties, our isure brokers have the experience and expertise to answer all of your questions. Contact us by phone or online anytime with any questions or concerns.

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