Topics:Repair and Maintenance Budget Safety Voided Warranty Mileage Car Value Car Trouble Car Resale Money Saver Buying Tips Winter
Protection means protection no matter what, right? Wrong. When purchasing an extended car warranty, you must be aware of the caveats of your coverage. Certain factors can lead to your extended car warranty being voided. Although every car warranty company is different, luckily, many of the car warranty companes have similar parameters for what voids an extended car warranty. Read below to find out the top five. If you are unsure of what a car warranty or extended warranty is in general, check out our complete guide to car warranties for a simple run-down. 1. Keep up with your vehicle’s recommended maintenance Every vehicle has a recommended maintenance schedule. Most car warranty companies, will void your car warranty if you do not keep up with the recommended maintenance. This often includes rotating your tires, getting the oil changed, and receiving specified inspections.To find out what your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule is simply put your vehicle’s make and model into this car maintenance guide. 2. Avoid modifications For most car warranty companies, your vehicle’s extended car warranty will be voided if you make any vehicle modifications other than modifications recommended by the manufacturer. Laura Gonzalez from AudiPeoria, with years of experience in the automotive industry, states that, “most aftermarket modifications (e.g. parts that are not approved by the manufacturer) will void your warranty. For example, if you lift your vehicle and then it has problems with the drivetrain, you will have a difficult time getting the dealership to cover the repairs under warranty, because they can simply state that the vehicle was not built to accommodate the modification.” 3. Drive carefully Deliberate and obvious abuse of your vehicle, such as off-roading, hitting curbs, racing or anything else that the vehicle was not manufactured to do will void the warranty. Look through your contract carefully to see what the car warranty company defines as misuse. Jake McKenzie from Auto Accessories Garage adds that "Overloading your vehicle by competing in races or track days, off-roading, or even plowing snow can be considered misuse, or otherwise outside of normal operation. A claims investigator may look for signs of racing or off-roading in your vehicle and they can deny a claim at their own discretion. They will not necessarily need proof of racing or off-roading, but can choose to deny coverage based solely on the presence of signs that may indicate racing or off-roading." 4. Be mindful of your mileage Lauren Fix from the Car Coach says "car warranties are based in mileage and time, which ever comes first. After that point, the coverage protection dissappears." Be mindful of the mileage on your car and be aware of when you are going to hit that mileage limit. When this happens, your car warranty is voided. 5. Let the extended car warranty company know that a repair needs to be done Before getting any car repairs on your car, make sure to let the car warranty company know. Without prior authorization from the administrator, the car warranty may not be held responsible to pay for the repair. Typically, the only exception for this is when the repair is classified under emergency repairs stated in the agreement. The bottom line Although this list covers the most common factors that car warranty companies include in voiding a car warranty, this is not a comprehensive list. When you are exploring your options, go through your contract carefully before agreeing to anything. Pay special attention to everything included in the contract that will void your car warranty. Being informed beforehand ensures you know exactly what you are purchasing with an extended car warranty.
Are you looking into buying a used car and want to know its warranty status? Are you wondering if your current car still has an active vehicle warranty? Are you trying to guide a family member or friend through the car-buying process and want to check all the boxes? Are you purchasing a pre-owned vehicle and want to check if there is still a warranty on it? Whatever your reasons for being curious about the status of your extended warranty, here are four things you need to know to get the most accurate information about a car's warranty: 1. Look at your VIN number Your car’s VIN number is necessary in order to find out if your car is still under warranty. A VIN number is a unique 17-digit code where each digit or group of digits has a meaning and is given to all vehicles driven in the United States. A car’s VIN number can be located in the following locations on your car: Lower left hand side of the dashboard — Look at the left corner of your dashboard where the glass meets the dashboard. Under the hood — Pop the hood and check in front of the engine for a small metal plate with a number printed on it. Under the windshield wipers — Check on the outside front area of your car below the windshield wipers on the driver-hand side. Under the spare tire — Lift up your spare tire and check under the tire for your VIN number. The spare tire is typically located in the trunk of the car. Driver’s-side door — Open the door and the number will be found where the door latches or inside the doorjamb where the car side mirror is located when the driver door is shut. Wheel well — Go to the wheel well that surrounds the back tire on the driver’s side. If you check these possible locations and you still can’t find your vehicle’s VIN number, try calling the dealership directly and asking where your specific car 's VIN number is located. Simply tell them the make and model of your car, and they should be able to tell your where the VIN number is located. Other places to look for the VIN number include the vehicle’s title, registration card, and your insurance card. 2. Check the miles driven on your car To find the miles driven on your car check the odometer. The odometer is typically found behind the steering wheel. 3. Call the dealership Whether you bought your car directly from the dealership or you bought it used, you can call the corresponding dealership of your car to find out when the car was originally purchased. Any dealership, for your specific make of car, can lookup when your vehicle was purchased no matter which location it was purchased from. Make sure to have the VIN number and the mileage of your car handy. The dealership should be able to determine what the warranty is on your car and if it is valid according to the information you provide. Bryan Rodgers, owner of a dealer repair service stated, "Once you have your VIN, call your dealer and ask when your warranty expires, as they will have that information for you. If you really can't seem to find your VIN, simply drive your car to your dealer, and they'll help you find it and let you know then if you're under warranty or not." Note that the warranty is also found in your vehicle’s owner manual, but it is wise to find out directly from the dealership instead of relying on what the warranty in the manual says. Consumers can purchase cars up to a year before the designated model year, so it is difficult to know when the exact date of purchase was without calling the dealership. 4. If needed, get a Carfax report on your car If the dealership is not sure whether or not your car is still under a basic warranty then you can get a Carfax report on your car. Getting a Carfax is simple: go to Carfax and type in your VIN number or search by license plate and state. Aside from your warranty information a Carfax report will also check for major accidents, open recalls, total loss, airbag deployment, service history, estimated miles driven per year, multiple owners, registration history, rebuilt, mileage rollover, hail damage, last reported mileage, vehicle service, mileage rollback, not actual mileage, lemon status, length of ownership, structural damage, state ownership, flood damage, salvage titles, junked, and commercial or personal use. The price of obtaining a Carfax for a single vehicle is $39.99. What to do if your car warranty is expired If you call and find out that your car is not still under a limited warranty, we advise thinking about getting a new extended warranty. However, there are a number of different options available to you: Follow your car maintenance schedule One of the most important things to do is to follow your car’s maintenance schedule and to ensure that genuine parts are being used. Make sure to go the manufacturer's website before getting a repair to ensure that your mechanic has the parts that you need. Defects in materials can cause major damage to your car. You can find your car’s specific maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual or google to find your vehicle's correct owner's manual. Here’s a nearly comprehensive list of different car owner’s manuals. Start a car repair fund Start to set aside money every week or month and put it in a fund specifically set aside for unforeseen car repairs and regular car maintenance. Do not touch this account unless you use it for car service. You will be more prepared for planned and unplanned maintenance requirements for your vehicle. Get a car warranty For extra protection you can get an extended warranty on your car. This typically constitutes of a monthly cost and the protection against car repairs varies with the different type of car warranty you get. With a car warranty, you will be able to tailor it to fit your specific needs. Most don't cover routine maintenance from normal vehicle wear and tear but they often a car warranty covers major problems with your engine, battery, etc. The company will take care of much of the paperwork, and many of your necessary repairs will be covered by your warranty. Many car warranty companies provide this service apart from your car’s dealership and they often include extra service such as roadside assistance. Typically the dealership will have high fees and you can obtain a car warranty from other sources for less. Learn how you can get the same protection from other car warranty companies for a fraction of the price.
Guest Post by Mike Jones Are you in the market for a new car? With low prices and no shortage of certified dealerships, there are plenty of reasons to consider turning a used car into your new car. However, when you start doing research on the used cars that are out there, including their make, model, color, and safety features, — there’s one important thing to pay attention to — their mileage. Purchasing a car with high mileage can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run and create maintenance problems for you down the road. Thankfully, technology has advanced greatly over the past decade or so, prolonging the lifespan of our vehicles. Some newer cars get as many as 200,000 miles. However, even while today’s cars no longer head to the scrapyard after 100,000 miles, there are still some issues to be aware of. The engine’s burning oil This is one of the most common issues with high-mileage cars. High mileage can wear out the piston rings that seal your engine’s combustion gases. If a car hasn’t been properly maintained or has used poor engine oil, it’s likely that the engine burns through oil more quickly than normal. If you’re looking to purchase a used car, don’t forget to check the oil. Is the oil level low? Slide the dip stick between your fingers to check the oil quality. Does it appear dirty or gritty? Is the color clear or dark? Does it smell burnt? These are signs that there may be an issue under the hood. Transmission fails Once your vehicle reaches 100,000 miles, transmission failure becomes much more likely. It’s important that you keep up to date on the transmission’s maintenance to prevent premature failure. Change the transmission fluid. Some cars only require this every 100,000 miles, while others may require it every 30,000. If you hear any bangs or groans coming from your transmission, get it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. These noises could foreshadow a more serious problem.Try to keep towing heavy loads, like trailers, to a minimum. Heavy pulling can shorten the life of your transmission. Sometimes, a transmission cannot be repaired. Instead, it has to be replaced — at a price tag of several thousand dollars. Timing belt breaks The timing belt is critical to your engine operating smoothly. If you hear a ticking noise as you drive, see leaking oil from the front of your motor, or experience engine misfires, it means your timing belt is failing. This usually happens between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. If you suspect that your timing belt is failing, get it replaced before it breaks and causes serious damage to your engine. Mechanics recommend being proactive and getting your timing belt changed at least every 100,000 miles. Water pump leaks Any car with 60,000 to 90,000 miles has a risk of water pump leaks. The water pump is perhaps the most important element of your car’s cooling system. It circulates the engine coolant, which helps prevent the engine from overheating. With high-mileage cars, it’s important to change your coolant and antifreeze regularly. Flushing your coolant system can also help prolong its life. Look for steam rising from your radiator and water or rust under your hood. These are tell-tale signs of a leaking water pump. Rust spreads Any car that is driven as lovingly as a car with over 100,000 miles on it is bound to have rust, especially if the car was driven frequently in rain or snow. The problem with rust is that it spreads. Surface rust in your vehicle’s paint is a relatively easy fix. You can sand off the rust, prime it, paint it, and buff it. However, issues arise if surface rust is left untreated. Rust bubbles form. They can eat away at your vehicle’s metal, leaving gaping holes that only welding can repair. Is a high-mileage vehicle safe to buy? These problems may leave you wary when it comes to buying a used car; however, a used car is still a popular, practical, and cost-efficient option. When looking at a car’s mileage, it’s important to note the difference between a high-mileage car that has been properly maintained and a high-mileage car that hasn’t. If the previous owner took their car to a mechanic for regular oil changes, inspections, and maintenance, you should have nothing to worry about, even if the vehicle has 100,000 miles on it. On the other hand, you probably shouldn’t buy a car that hasn’t been properly maintained, even if it only has 50,000 miles on it. If you’re in the market for a used car, be sure to do the following: Ask dealerships or sellers for background info on the vehicle, like its Carfax. This allows you to see whether the car’s been maintained or whether it has been in any accidents. See if the vehicle has an extended vehicle warranty or vehicle protection plan attached to it. These plans can help cover the costs of unexpected repairs. Take the car to a trusted mechanic before you purchase it. They can see whether there are any maintenance issues you should worry about. Today’s high-mileage cars have a surprising amount of life left in them. They may just need a little extra care, consideration, and maintenance. Mike Jones is the president and CEO of autopom!, a BBB Accredited A+ rated provider of vehicle protection plans for both new and used cars. Click here to learn more about autopom!