A Guide to Understanding Used Car Warranties

All new cars are generally sold with a manufacturer warranty of anywhere from 3-7 years. Once that warranty expires you are usually left without protection, however there is actually an alternative: a used car warranty.  Read our guide to learn all about used car warranties and how they can protect you from unforeseen repair costs.

In the UK, used car warranties are designed to offer buyers some protection if something goes wrong with the vehicle after purchase. These warranties can be a valuable investment, but it’s important to understand the different types available to you so that you can make an informed decision.

What is a Used Car Warranty?

A used car warranty is a type of warranty that is offered on pre-owned vehicles. This type of warranty typically covers repairs – usually parts and labour, for a set period of time.

These warranties can be offered by the car dealer or an independent used car warranty provider and can range from a few months to several years. Some companies also offer monthly warranties which are flexible and not payable on an annual contractual basis. 

What does a Used Car Warranty cover?

The items covered by a used car warranty will heavily depend on the warranty provider, the age of the vehicle and the package opted for by the customer. 

In general, you can expect most used car warranties to cover most mechanical and electrical repairs. Having said that, repairs such as a tyre replacement, a worn out clutch, a faulty battery, or worn out brake pads/ discs replacement may not always be covered.  These are components that are expected to wear out over time. Used car warranties generally do not cover cosmetic and accidental damage. 

Warranty providers also usually have certain criteria such as engine capacity limitation (eg. not over 3.0 litres) or usage and modification limitations (eg. no car racing).  

Some of the components that may be covered by a used car warranty include:

If there is damage arising from an accident, then the insurance provider will usually cover the costs. 

How does a Used Car Warranty work?

In the event that a mechanical component on your vehicle fails, you may need to contact your warranty provider to arrange for repairs. Depending on the terms of your warranty, you may be required to take your car to an approved garage or mechanic to get the vehicle inspected and, provided the issue is covered by the warranty, get the repairs carried out. 

Once the repairs have been carried out, your warranty provider will cover the cost of the repairs, minus any excess that you may be required to pay (some warranty providers don’t require you to pay an excess). Make sure that you understand your warranty terms as well as the level of coverage provided by your warranty by carefully reviewing it.

How long is the warranty on a used car?

Depending on the type of used car warranty you have purchased either through a dealer or directly with the independent warranty provider, it can last anywhere from as little as a month to multiple years. Typically, used cars bought through a dealership can be bought with 3-month to 12-month ‘approved’ used car warranty packages. Make sure to review terms and conditions with the provider before you purchase a used car warranty. 

Is it mandatory to have a used car warranty on my car?

It is not necessary or a legal requirement to have a used car warranty on your car in the UK. However, some car dealers may offer a warranty as part of their sales package to provide added peace of mind for the buyer. This is generally optional, and you can choose to buy a warranty cover elsewhere. 

When buying a car, an important question to ask is whether the car has an existing warranty or if a warranty can be included for free as part of the purchase.

How much is an extended warranty on a used car?

Typically, you can expect to spend around £200 to over £500 per year on a used car warranty for an average car. However, the exact cost will vary depending on mainly the following factors:

  • Make, model, and year of car
  • Age and mileage
  • Annual usage
  • Car service history 
  • Amount of excess

To summarise, when the manufacturer warranty on a new car expires, a used car warranty can provide continued protection against repair costs. Although not legally required, used car warranties can be a valuable investment for peace of mind.

Marketing at ClickMechanic

Louanne is a marketing and communications professional in the automotive tech industry currently at ClickMechanic, boasting over 5 years of experience.

Louanne’s work at ClickMechanic might revolve around branding and customer engagement, but her passions extend far beyond the marketing sphere. A true foodie at heart, she loves exploring diverse cuisines and talking about her culinary adventures across the world. Her writing prowess shines through in her car-related blog content, where she offers invaluable driving tips and practical car repair advice.

In her Suzuki Jimny 4-wheel drive, Louanne combines her sense of adventure with her automotive know-how, transforming every drive into a lesson and a pleasure.