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A beginner’s guide to car warranty: what are extended warranties and when can you buy them?

13 December 2023

Written by Simon England

|  5 Minutes

It can be expensive and inconvenient to repair crucial car parts, which is why all new cars come with a warranty that protects the owner from some of the financial implications of a mechanical or electrical breakdown. This warranty usually runs out after three to five years, after which, you’re no longer covered for most manufacturer faults.

To avoid a considerable repair cost, you can buy an extended warranty to cover potential faults for longer. It may be worth buying an extended warranty if you worry about the potential repair costs of unexpected vehicle malfunctions.

Discover how long manufacturer warranties usually last and whether you can extend your original warranty. We’ll introduce third-party extended warranty policies, whether you need them and when you are eligible for an extended warranty.

How long does a car warranty last?

Most new cars have a warranty lasting three to five years, which covers mechanical and electrical breakdowns. This cover helps protect drivers from the financial burden of new car ownership if something unexpected goes wrong. Some manufacturers offer longer warranties for example, Kia provides a generous seven-year service contract. Although most manufacturers offer an extended warranty plan, you may not get the same comprehensive cover as a new car warranty.

A family driving along a countryside road in an open-top car

Can I extend the warranty on my car?

Car manufacturers usually give you the option of an extended warranty when you purchase your new car. Audi offers a standard warranty of three years or five with an extended vehicle warranty. However, extended manufacturer warranties are often expensive, non-refundable and non-transferable if you decide to change your car early. It can be much better value to wait until you’re coming to the end of your manufacturer car warranty and, if you want further coverage, shop for the best extended warranty deal.

You can’t replicate the original manufacturer warranty agreement, as this is designed to provide consumer protection on your expensive new purchase. Still, once it expires, you can take out a new extended warranty policy from the manufacturer to extend your coverage. However, a third-party warranty provider could offer better customer service or value for money.

Still sceptical about third-party car warranty? ALA has your back if the unexpected happens

Why choose ALA?

What is an extended warranty?

You can buy extended car warranty directly from a manufacturer or a third-party provider, the assumption that the manufacturer cover is “better” is often not the case – you can save money by looking at independent companies. Extended warranties specifically cover mechanical or electrical breakdowns after your initial warranty agreement expires. You continue to benefit from peace of mind if your car unexpectedly malfunctions.

What does extended warranty cover?

Warranty covers breakdowns resulting from faulty mechanics or electrics. The cost of parts and labour are included. Some providers, such as used car warranty, contribute towards replacement car hire and diagnostics, emergency transport, roadside assistance and accommodation.

The covered component list varies from provider to provider, but generally, warranty covers the following parts:

  • Electrics
  • Engine
  • Timing belts/chains
  • Front & rear wheel drive
  • Drive System
  • Gearbox/ transmission

ALA policies offer comprehensive coverage for a huge variety of systems and components including clutch, brakes, suspension, steering, turbo, catalytic converters and plenty more. On Platinum policies, you can even benefit from wear & tear cover, diagnostics and infotainment protection. Discover what ALA Warranty covers here.

An Audi steering wheel showing buttons, signals and electrics behind it

Parts that receive lots of wear and tear, such as clutches, brakes etc., are not typically covered by warranty because they get plenty of wear. However, ALA offers this protection as standard. On the other hand, warranties can’t cover cosmetics (such as upholstery, paintwork or bodywork) or consumables (such as engine oil or brake pads) and these policies are never meant to replace routine maintenance. Coverage and exclusions vary from provider to provider, so read about what ALA Warranty doesn’t cover.

Do you need an extended warranty policy?

Unlike car insurance, having warranty coverage to drive on the road is not a legal requirement. New car warranties are useful to cover potentially faulty parts when the car is just off the production line. Any vehicle type risks malfunction so if you have a pre-loved motor without an existing vehicle service contract, check out our used car warranties.

A manufacturing fault can land you in a financial predicament; if a big repair bill would potentially stretch your finances, you may need extended warranty to cover your car for as long as possible for mechanical or electrical breakdowns.

Stay prepared – build an ALA Warranty quote to protect against unexpected malfunctions

Can I get extended warranty for my vehicle?

Warranty policies protect the vehicle owner from unexpected faults. Cars less than 16 years and with a mileage of less than 150,000 meet eligibility criteria for our standard extended warranty package. So, you can take out a new policy after your three-to-seven-year factory warranty expires. ALA also offers one to three-year policy lengths to suit your specific needs.

Some providers include ongoing age and mileage limits for car warranties because the older your car gets, the more likely it is that a part may fail unexpectedly, increasing the likelihood of a claim. Once you take out your policy with ALA, ongoing mileage limits generally don’t apply. There are two exceptions to bear in mind. Firstly, if you have platinum cover and the car reaches 8 years old or 80,000, your wear and tear cover stops. Secondly, when you renew your contract, you’ll still need to meet the age and mileage requirements. If you have a used car, weigh up whether extended warranty is worth it for an old car.

ALA offers extended warranty for a wide range of vehicles including vans and electric cars. Your car shouldn’t be over 5000cc or 5l (engine capacity), weigh over 3.5 tonnes or be used for hire or reward purposes. Modifications outside the manufacturer’s specifications may also exclude you from ALA Warranty. Enter your reg number and current mileage into our quote calculator to see how much your ALA Warranty policy could cost.

Is it worth buying an extended warranty?

Since 2023, the cost of spare car parts has soared extraordinarily meaning a breakdown is likely to involve an expensive repair. We do understand the increasing pressure on car owners to budget for lower-priority insurance policies such as motor insurance, especially amidst rising costs and falling trust. You may be reluctant to buy another vehicle insurance policy, however it’s worth noting that you’re nearly twice as likely to break down than have an accident.

Still uncertain whether extended Warranty is worth it? Twenty-five cars break down every hour, and some of the most common reasons include battery or alternator faults, clutch cables, electrical faults or being locked out of the car. Warranty can cover the cost of a wide range of common vehicle repairs so you can drive worry-free.

Don’t get caught out by an expired warranty