One of the primary benefits of buying a new or late model vehicle is the comfort that comes from a factory warranty. These built-in safety nets insulate you from untimely and expensive repair costs resulting from material or mechanical problems. Irrespective of the warranty, taking certain steps along the way can minimize your chances of losing coverage due to extended time or mileage.
Stay Up-To-Date on Your Coverage
Most importantly, you should understand that all warranties are different and make it a point to become familiar with yours. Variations arise not only in the extent of coverage but in duration, so knowing what’s covered–before you reach the standard three-years, 60,000 miles–and for how long is vital.
Generally, factory warranties divide into coverage areas with separate time limits, while aftermarket warranties through third parties outline coverage more specifically. For example, some might only cover primary components (transmission or engine) up to a cost limit. Understanding the ins and outs of your warranty protects you from unseemly surprises.
Maintain the Warranty
Once you know what your warranty demands, maintain your vehicle as advised. Stay current with oil changes and any recurring services (per the manufacturer’s guidelines), and remember to document everything. Proving you’ve held up your part of the deal can prevent voiding your warranty, especially regarding a maintenance item related to the dysfunction.
Have the Vehicle Inspected
Using a trusted mechanic or dealership to inspect your car prior to a warranty’s expiration can catch problems that might arise in the near future. The technician should check for leaks or excessive imbalance in steering and suspension parts; do a short test-drive that might show issues a regular driver could miss, and look for pending engine codes or perform a diagnostic test. This final inspection might not catch everything or prevent a problem, but it’s a sensible step to take just in case.
Recognize Your Role
Making sure your vehicle maximizes coverage is almost entirely up to you. Pay attention to unusual or new warning lights, behavior or noises, and leak spots on the driveway or garage. High oil consumption is also a red flag and should be brought to the attention of a professional.
If you purchased a new vehicle, stay aware of any recall notices. Since they don’t expire like warranties, you have more leeway, but taking appropriate action when needed prevents any resulting safety issues.