What to Do Before Your Factory Warranty Expires
There is nothing like driving your new vehicle off the dealership lot and onto the highway for the first time. Days, week and even months after, each time you drive your car, SUV or truck, the last thing you are probably thinking about is the warranty that came with your vehicle. Then one day, a letter comes in the mail with the foreboding “Important Warranty Information” stamped across the front announcing that your vehicles’ factory warranty coverage is expiring. Remarkably, most people don’t think about their cars’ warranties until something goes wrong. And once your warranty expires, every repair automatically becomes an out-of-pocket expense that YOU are now responsible for.
So while you still have some factory warranty coverage, you should start planning your next steps.
Ignore Those Warranty Calls
How many calls have you received telling you your warranty has expired? Ironically, NONE of those calls are actually coming from your vehicles’ manufacturer. Rather, they are coming from third party warranty companies who are trying to mislead you into thinking they can help you with your warranty. Instead they are trying to sell you a 3rd part warranty that may offer you less to no true coverage. Rather than listening to their hype and fall for their fear tactics, get your facts straight right from your vehicles’ manufacturer and our dealership team.
Understand Your Coverage
Like every driver, no two factory warranty programs are identical. A Factory Warranty may include a powertrain warranty, maintenance, corrosion and/or emissions coverage depending on your make and model. It will also include an expiration date that designates a specific number of months and/or miles, whichever comes first, that will signal the end of the warranty. As the owner, it is your responsibility to understand what your factory warranty coverage includes and what is excluded from coverage. You can find all the detail in one of two places: 1. The paperwork you signed when you purchased your vehicle and 2. Your Brands’ website.
Know Exactly When Your Factory Warranty Expires
Even if you remember the exact day you picked up your vehicle from the dealership, it is important to double check the exact start date of your warranty so you can calculate when it will expire. The best way to do this is to check your factory warranty by VIN (vehicle identification number). This number is available on your registration or insurance card, vehicle title and inside door jam of the driver’s door of your vehicle. Once you’ve located the VIN, contact the service department that has been servicing your brand and ask them to track your warranty by VIN.
Get a Vehicle Check Up
When you are under warranty, you can afford to ignore things like dashboard warning indicators, strange sounds, and even a shimmy in the steering. But the moment your warranty expires, that all changes. Before any factory warranty has expired, it’s a good practice to bring your vehicle in for a checkup. Just like going for an annual physical examination, your vehicle should be routinely in for maintenance at our local service center. This allows our factory-trained technicians a chance to inspect your vehicle to identify any issues that may currently be covered by your warranty and save you from expensive unexpected repairs after your policy has expired. Routine oil changes, tire rotation, fluid flushes, brake checks, and filter replacements help keep your vehicle in proper condition and may stave off bigger issues in the future.
Check for Recalls
If your vehicle is subject to a recall notice, the manufacturer will repair it at no cost, even after your warranty has expired. But if during the recall service appointment other issues are uncovered, having a valid warranty in place could potentially cover the cost of the repairs. This will save you the unexpected costs that may arise if you procrastinate and wait to schedule your recall.
Consider an Extended Warranty
The new car buying process comes with an opportunity to purchase an extended warranty to enhance your factory warranty. These Extended Warranties will cover items that the standard Factory Warranty doesn’t, a longer warranty period of time, or in many cases, both. Even if you choose to decline to purchase the extended warranty upfront when you took delivery of your vehicle, you can still pick one up prior to the expiration of your factory warranty. But you need to decide if the extended warranty benefits will outweigh the extended warranty cost. Contact one of our dealerships’ Finance Managers to determine which extended warranty coverage would be best for your vehicle and your budget.
Time to Trade In?
The realization that your warranty security net is going to disappear may be a good time to decide if the vehicle you’ve been driving still fits all your needs. Any number of life events could have occurred since taking ownership of our vehicle that might make it no longer the best choice for your family or your budget. With the used car market currently on fire, you may get even more than ever before as a trade in credit towards a new or CPO model that would check all the boxes on your “must have” list of features in a vehicle. Contact our dealerships to see if the savings would make it a good time to drive away with a new car, SUV or truck.
So, no matter if you choose to upgrade your warranty, trade in your vehicle, or maintain it on your own, knowing your options before your Factory Warranty expires will take the worry out of automotive ownership.