What is a car warranty?

A car warranty is a type of insurance that covers certain components of your vehicle against mechanical fault or electrical failure.


How long does car warranty cover last for?

Also known as mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), a car warranty is available for various time periods, ranging from a single month to several years.

Most one-year policies are renewable every 12 months – much like a regular car insurance product.


Do all car warranties offer the same level of cover?

Car warranties vary a great deal, so it is crucial to read the terms and conditions of your particular policy before you take it out.


What does a car warranty cover?

Most comprehensive mechanical warranty insurance for cars will cover the following components on your car:


Will a broken coil spring be covered by my car warranty?

In the majority of cases, damage to car coil springs are as a result of road conditions, such as potholes, so would not be covered under a mechanical warranty as the damage is as a result of wear and tear.

However, if the coil spring damage is a result of manufacturing defects, then you would be covered. 

It may be possible to purchase an extended warranty that would also cover you for general wear and tear, as explained below.

Additional car warranty cover options

Warranty providers may also offer you extra cover options, which may include:


General wear and tear

Wear and tear is damage that naturally occurs as a result of normal wear or ageing.

Wear and tear is not covered by all warranty products. If it is, you may be required to contribute to parts and/or labour. 

Consequential loss

Consequential loss cover within a warranty for a car is when a covered part is damaged as a consequence of the failure of another non-insured part.

A comprehensive policy should allow for consequential loss – but be sure to read the small print carefully.


Things to know before arrange car warranty cover

When taking out car warranty cover, be sure you understand if the following issues:


Some car warranty policies will require you to make a contribution if a replacement part is significantly better than the part it is replacing.


Damage from oil leaks

A covered part may be damaged by an oil leak from a part that is not covered.

Be aware that not all policies will include cover for this.


Car warranty exclusions

Most warranties will not include cover for wear and tear on certain parts of your car, including:

  • wheels
  • tyres
  • exhausts
  • brake pads and frictional parts of the clutch.

Other exclusions may include bodywork damage and catalytic converter failure.

Your air conditioning system may also not be covered under your car warranty.


Do car warranties cover accidental damage?

Accidental damage would not be covered under a car warranty

In the instance that accidental damage has occurred to you car, you will need to make a claim on your car insurance policy.


How to avoid warranty invalidation?

Your warranty provider may not cover you if you do not strictly adhere to the policy requirements.

These stipulations might include using unapproved garages for repairs; missing scheduled maintenance; and carrying out certain modifications.

Find out more on on how to prevent voiding your car’s warranty.

What are the different types of car warranty?

The type of warranty you take out depends on if you are buying a new car, a used car, or if you want a warranty on a car you already own.


Manufacturer’s warranty

Most manufacturers will provide a new car warranty of three years, while some will provide an extended warranty of up to seven years.

There may be limits and stipulations to a manufacturer’s warranty. These may include:

  • a mileage limit.
  • a requirement to maintain your vehicle to a certain level.
  • a need for scheduled maintenance to be carried out at an approved garage – which in itself could well be more costly than using an independent garage.


After-market options for car warranty cover

You can tailor your warranty by opting for an after-market policy, although the age, brand and model of your vehicle will affect eligibility and premium cost.


Car warranty cover for older cars

After-market cover options for cars aged three or more years will require a valid MOT, along with a maintenance document from a VAT-registered garage proving your car has been serviced within the last 12 months.

Advantages of taking out a car warranty

  • You will be covered against any unexpected repair bills
  • You can tailor a policy to your needs by choosing an after-market product


Disadvantages of taking out a car warranty

  • There will be limits to how much you can claim for, usually taking the car's total value as an upper limit
  • It's a significant annual cost in addition to other running costs – but could save you money if you do suffer a mechanical or electrical fault
  • It's easy to fall foul of exclusions and strict requirements such as regular servicing at approved garages (which as stated can be more expensive than independent garages)


Choosing the best car warranty for your needs

It's a good idea to spend some time shopping around before you settle on a warranty.

Be sure to read the small print of the warranty cover carefully to avoid any unwanted surprises. You should also make sure that the warranty period is for as long as you need.

You may also find that buying a new warranty for your car is less costly than renewing an existing one.


What happens if I have a problem with my car?

If you notice that there’s something wrong with your car when driving, do not ignore it and continue driving. Continuing to drive could invalidate your claim or make the problem worse. 

As soon as you notice a problem, you should call your warranty provider and they should be able to help you. 

Once the warranty provider has authorised the repairs, they should instruct you to take your car to an approved garage. If the garage is run by the manufacturer or car dealer who provided the warranty or is approved by whoever gave the warranty, the costs of the repair should be automatically covered, although you might have to pay the excess. 

Sometimes, you have to pay the garage up front and then get reimbursed the excess.

It’s important to be familiar with your warranty policy so you know what to expect when your car gets damaged. 


What are my consumer rights?

Everyone has rights under the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, which means if the car you purchased from a car dealer is faulty, then you are eligible for a full return within 30 days of purchasing.   


Where can I get a car warranty?

If your car is new it should come with a manufacturer warranty. When this runs out, you'll likely be able to extend this by a year or maybe even longer. 


Used car warranties

For used cars, car dealers may be able to provide a warranty. However, they may come with strict conditions, and it may be better to shop around for a warranty that better suits your needs.

Online car dealerships will also offer a warranty period, which can often be extended..