Car warranties today are better than ever. If you’re in the market for a new car, you can expect to find bumper-to-bumper warranties covering your vehicle and, as the name implies, from front to back. And in many cases, covering your vehicle for the life of your loan.
For example, Ford’s warranty covers you for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Other manufacturers are even better. Kia’s basic warranty is for 60 months or 60,000 miles. But their powertrain warranty continues to cover your vehicle for 10 years or 100,000 miles. It goes without saying that taking a close look at warranties is an important part of your new car buying experience. Yes, it’s something else to add to your car shopping list of to-do’s but it can pay dividends for many years afterwards.
An interesting example is Chevrolet’s support of enthusiasts who purchase new Camaro’s. Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser confirmed with Motor Authority that Chevrolet will honor the warranties on Camaro’s used at track days, as long as it’s a V8 model, such as the SS or upcoming Z/28.
“If you’re not modifying your car and you take your production car to a track day and you have an issue with one of your parts, it’s covered under warranty,” Oppenheiser said. “That’s pride of craftsmanship that we know it will stand up to track use.”
So in other words, your bone stock V8-powered Camaro is track-day ready. Put on a helmet, have fun with it and if something breaks, Chevrolet will be there to cover it.
Clearly, General Motors Chevrolet division isn’t afraid to take responsibility for their cars. Vehicles are so well engineered today that you rarely hear about basic part failures. Manufacturers have learned it’s better to be transparent and recall cars for repairs rather than wait and face a consumer backlash. We’re currently witnessing huge repercussions for Volkswagen and their alleged ‘tricking’ of emission testing equipment. They have seen sales slump because of it, particularly in Europe.
But what about the used car buyer? If you’re buying from a dealer, you have the option to buy a warranty to cover the car, usually through the dealer’s finance department. If you’ve found a car through a private party, a quick online search will present a multitude of car warranty options you can purchase yourself. Just do a little research on what providers are easiest to work with and pay claims quickly. The last thing you need is repairs coming to a halt because the warranty company is negligent and irresponsible. But keep in mind there are other options.
First, there’s certified used cars. Many manufacturers, through their dealer network, offer used cars the dealer has inspected and certified to be in excellent condition. These cars typically come with a new warranty, offering peace of mind to the buyer that isn’t available with ordinary used cars.
Of course the other option is your own pocket book. Rather than pay for a car warranty, set money aside every month dedicated to car repairs. By starting with a reliable brand, repairs to the car should be nonexistent or minimal. Trouble signs to look for are cars that routinely visit repair shops. Is there a systemic problem with the car, such as a history of electrical problems or premature parts failures? You may love the car but vehicles such as these should be dropped from consideration.
Just do some research and find models that are trouble free. Once you’ve found a car, take the extra step and check it’s vehicle history. This can help you discover other problems such as recent recalls and if the recall repairs have been made. As you put more miles on the car, its reliability may change but with savings now available, you should be able to cover any repairs that come up.
Everyone wants some peace of mind when buying a car, particularly when it’s used. If you feel better with the thought of having a warranty, then buy one. But keep the alternatives in mind. You may find yourself spending less at the dealer and pocketing the savings for you and your car’s future.