Every car owner hopes to have peace of mind when driving out on the open road. However, a constant fear of dealing with an unexpected breakdown and not being able to afford a costly repair can quickly squash that pleasant feeling. Most vehicle manufacturers offer temporary warranties on their vehicles after the point of sale, but some providers offer something more: a lifetime warranty.
Understanding what exactly this term means compared to a standard warranty and its perks and drawbacks can help you stay better protected out on the road.
What is a Lifetime Car Warranty?
Simply put, a lifetime car warranty provides coverage for certain parts, typically powertrain related, for as long as you own the car. And unlike other standard factory warranties that expire after six years or 60,000 miles, there are no mileage limits or time limits to a lifetime car warranty. But, while lifetime car warranties will provide you with comprehensive coverage with no expiration date, there is a catch. Mainly, a lifetime warranty, in most cases, is an add-on to your car’s original warranty provided by the dealership, as opposed to the automaker. It is also important to note that this deal can be an excellent sales incentive for dealerships, though not all dealerships offer lifetime vehicle warranties. Some may include it as a special holiday incentive or choose to include it randomly.
There are a few things worth noting with lifetime warranties:
- Some dealerships will cut off coverage at 100,000 miles
- You may void a lifetime warranty if regular maintenance intervals are not met
- Many people don’t keep their vehicle beyond five years
Consider these facts and do proper research before jumping on a lifetime car warranty offer.
What Coverage Does Lifetime Warranty Provide?
Lifetime car warranties will cover a great number of items having to do with your vehicle’s powertrain. Commonly covered parts include:
- Engine: The engine is a major part of the powertrain system. Most lifetime powertrain warranties will cover all engine parts, big and small. Paying for engine repairs out-of-pocket can be extremely expensive, so having this roped into your lifetime warranty is an excellent feature.
- Transmission: Your vehicle’s transmission allows it to shift gears seamlessly and is an integral part of any car. Lifetime powertrain warranties will often cover your vehicle’s entire transmission and related components.
- Drive systems: Your front and rear-wheel drive systems contain several components that a lifetime warranty may cover. These include the axles, axle housing, and some of the internal parts.
Remember that since most lifetime warranties are offered by the dealership you purchased the vehicle, they choose what is and isn’t covered. Always read the fine print to see what you’re really getting when offered a lifetime warranty.
What’s Not Covered by a Lifetime Warranty?
What is not covered under a lifetime warranty can vary from dealership to dealership. Still, routine maintenance and items outside of the powertrain may not be covered in most cases. Smaller components of your car’s powertrain may also not be covered, so it is always best to check the fine print when dealing with a lifetime warranty. This will help give you a clearer picture of what you should expect to be covered (or not covered) to help ensure you’re getting the protection you’re looking for when it comes to your vehicle.
This is why combining a lifetime warranty with an extended warranty can often be the best choice for car owners, as it can help fill in the gaps in your coverage. Some extended warranties can also offer cost-saving opportunities for routine maintenance services while helping cover the different components that a dealership’s lifetime warranty may not.
Choosing the Right Protection for Your Vehicle
Following up upon the expiration of your factory warranty by adding on an extended warranty from a third-party provider is an excellent way to keep your vehicle protected on the road. Even for those of you with a lifetime warranty, having an extended warranty as well can help to fill in some of the gaps missed by the warranty you receive when purchasing the vehicle. Check out our top picks for reputable warranty providers to see if there is a plan that can keep you covered.