Today, more than ever, vehicles are complex machines that require regular maintenance and care. With all their moving parts, things are bound to fail over time. That’s why all manufacturers provide some form of a factory warranty for repairs, and why you can also get extended warranties from a number of companies.
In this car warranties comparison, we’ll rank each company according to the length of its factory warranty. You’ll see that some warranties end much sooner than others.
We’ve researched a number of the best extended car warranty providers and will compare our top picks. There’s no one-size-fits-all plan, so get quotes from a few different companies to find the best deal.
New Car Warranties Comparison
Looking at the new car warranties comparison, Hyundai, Genesis, Mitsubishi and Kia have the best new car warranties in 2021. Not only do they have amazing powertrain warranties that last for 10 years/100,000 miles, but also the bumper-to-bumper coverage is the longest, as well.
On the other end of the scale, Buick through Toyota all share the same short terms of 3 years/36,000 miles for bumper-to-bumper coverage. But that doesn’t necessarily say anything about reliability. Toyota vehicles are known to last for hundreds of thousands of miles.
However, Dodge, Jeep, GMC and Chrysler are less reliable than many other brands according to J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM. Some brands can definitely use extended coverage more than others.
What are the Different Types of Car Warranties?
Factory warranties are automatically included on your vehicle at the time of purchase. Aftermarket warranties need to be purchased separately, though dealer-backed plans can be rolled into an auto loan.
The main purpose of a vehicle warranty is to cover repairs due to manufacturing defects or faulty parts. Warranties typically don’t include regular maintenance or coverage for cosmetic items. They also don’t cover regular wear and tear.
Within both factory and aftermarket warranties, you can find the following types of coverage:
- Bumper-to-bumper: This warranty usually covers almost any mechanical or electrical component on the car. It can also be called comprehensive coverage.
- Powertrain: This warranty covers the engine, transmission and drivetrain. It usually lasts longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Corrosion: This warranty will repair rusted-through sheet metal.
- Emissions: This warranty covers emissions parts to comply with federal and state regulations.
In addition to these warranty coverages, you might find other auto products like:
- Wear-and-tear plans
- Lease gap coverage
- End-of-lease damage coverage
- Wrap coverage
What Does “Exclusionary” Mean?
In terms of contract language, there are two main categories of warranty coverage: exclusionary and stated component. Exclusionary plans can cover thousands of components, so it’s easier to list the parts not covered instead. Anything that isn’t listed on the contract is covered.
Stated-component contracts are the opposite. They list every covered item or group of items. These contracts cover fewer parts than exclusionary plans.
Bumper-to-bumper warranties are exclusionary contracts. Powertrain warranties are stated-component warranties. You can find factory and aftermarket warranties that offer both types of coverage.
What Makes a Good Car Warranty
While it’s important to know how long bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties last, there are also some other things to think about. Many auto manufacturers include perks like roadside assistance along with warranty coverage.
Here are a few added benefits you might find from different companies.
- Roadside assistance: This usually covers towing, jump-starts, spare tire installation, fluid delivery and lockout services. Some warranties only reimburse drivers for roadside costs.
- Rental car and trip interruption: Warranties can provide rental car allowances during repairs and reimbursement for lodging and food when a breakdown happens far from home.
- Towing: At the very least, most contracts provide towing reimbursement in the case of a covered breakdown.
- Free maintenance: Some manufacturers, like BMW, provide a period of free scheduled maintenance.
- Wear item coverage: Companies can cover wear items like brake pads and filters for a specified term.
- Wear and tear: Some warranties include coverage for wear and tear, but this is rare.
- Tire coverage: Tires could be covered by the auto or tire manufacturer.
Watch Out for These Disadvantages
There are also some things you should check during your car warranty comparison, whether it’s from a factory or third-party provider.
First of all, it’s important to know when the warranty starts and ends. Some warranties begin at the in-service date, while others begin on the purchase date. Be aware that a warranty expires when either the time limit or mileage limit is reached. So, a warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles could expire in three years if you hit 60,000 miles first.
When looking at third-party providers, read the contract and see what the maximum payout is. A good contract will pay for repairs up to the market value of your vehicle. Some plans have a lower limit.
For example, one plan may only pay out $5,000 in total over the course of the warranty. While you might not use the entire $5,000 allowance, certain catastrophic repairs could cost much more than that. It’s better to have a higher payout limit just for the added security.
Another thing to consider is if the warranty company will pay the repair shop directly or if it will reimburse you after you’ve already paid for the repair. Obviously, the first option is preferable.
A good warranty will remove as much stress as possible during a breakdown. It will provide easy-to-access roadside assistance. The warranty should have clear instructions for obtaining coverage and also authorizing emergency repairs when the claims office is closed.
Consider an Extended Warranty Next
To cover your car after its factory warranty expires, you can get an extended warranty. These go by different names, but true extended warranties are offered and backed by the manufacturer. In fact, many warranties sold by dealers are really vehicle service contracts backed by another company.
Factory warranties are great, but they all expire. And many expire on or before 60,000 miles. After that, repairs can become expensive, especially repairs to the powertrain. RepairPal estimates a full transmission replacement can cost between $5,401 and $5,696. Of course, that’s an extreme example, but repairs like that can be necessary.
Extended warranties can also come with perks like roadside assistance, trip interruption and rental car coverage. Dealer-backed plans often require drivers to visit a dealership for repairs, but third-party warranties let drivers go to any mechanic certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Are Extended Car Warranties Worth the Cost?
Not everyone will agree on whether an extended warranty is worth it. From a financial perspective, an extended car warranty can be a good idea if you don’t have enough savings to use on unexpected car repairs, or if you can’t access credit and pay it off quickly.
Extended warranties can also give you peace of mind that repairs are covered. In exchange, you’ll make a monthly payment (unless you pay for the warranty in full). There’s always the possibility that you’ll pay more than the repairs covered by the end of the warranty. At the same time, it could save you from paying for a $2,000 transmission repair out of pocket.
Most extended auto warranties can be transferred to subsequent owners, as well. Having an extended warranty can be attractive to buyers when you sell your car to a private party.
Extended Car Warranties Comparison
Out of the reputable extended car warranty companies we’ve researched, we think CarShield, Endurance and CARCHEX have some of the best warranty coverage. Each of these allows for long coverage terms and provides a number of perks.
Here’s a comparison between our recommended providers:
|Perks||Roadside assistance, towing and rental car coverage||Roadside assistance, concierge, shopping discounts, tire repair and more||Roadside assistance, towing and rental car coverage|
|Repairs||Any ASE-certified mechanic||Any ASE-certified mechanic||Any ASE-certified mechanic|
|30-Day Money-Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes||Yes|
While these three providers are all great choices, a plan that works for one driver might not work for another. Prices are also based on your car and its current mileage and condition. For the most accurate car warranties comparison, get multiple quotes and compare the plans that are available to you.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car warranty provider to formulate rankings of the best warranty companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account coverage, pricing, transparency, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in five categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto warranty companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.