How to Know if Your Car Is Under Warranty

Questions about your car’s warranty? It can be tough to know if your car is under warranty or not, particularly if you’ve owned your vehicle for several years, or if it’s a used car that you purchased.

To help you figure out your car’s warranty (or lack thereof), we’ve put together a few tips. Of course, if you were lucky enough to purchase your car from Colonial, especially one of our certified used cars, then all you have to do is call the dealership you bought it from, and we’ll be happy to help! But for those wayward souls who shopped elsewhere, don’t worry – we’ll still help. Colonial is good like that.

Manufacturer/Factory Warranties

Manufacturer and factory warranties generally cover a car for a set number of years or a set number of miles – whichever comes first. There are also two different kinds of manufacturer warranties: the basic warranty, which is a more complete coverage, and the powertrain warranty, which covers only your engine, transmission and everything that gives power to your engine.

For specifics, you’ll have to get more information either from your manufacturer’s website or from the dealer where you bought your car. And for certain makes, like Hyundai and Kia, the powertrain warranty doesn’t transfer from the first owner. So unless you bought it new or have an extended warranty provided by the dealership where you bought your used car, you’re likely out of warranty for those makes. Again, consult the manufacturer website and call the dealership for more information.

Methods for Determining Whether Your Car Is Under Warranty

One piece of information that’s useful to have when trying to determine your vehicle’s warranty is the VIN. Take a look at your insurance card to find it, or find it on your car – it’s usually visible through the windshield on the driver’s side of the dashboard.

Once you have that, you can visit a website like Carfax to look up your vehicle’s service history (along with the date the car was sold so you can tell how many years it’s been on the road), but that will require a little bit of cash. If you purchased from a dealership call the service department there, ask about the factory warranty on your vehicle, and provide him with the VIN. He’ll be able to look it up for you.

Extra Protection

In Massachusetts, drivers are protected by the Used Vehicle Warranty Law. This law requires dealers “to provide consumers with a written warranty against defects that impair the vehicle’s use or safety,” and it also requires the dealer or private seller to disclose “any known use or safety defects.” So, if it turns out that the used car you purchased fails completely through no fault of your own, or it turns out to have a faulty airbag system, then this law protects you.

That said, there are a few restrictions. Visit the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs site for more information, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • Vehicles must cost at least $700
  • Vehicles must have fewer than 125,000 miles on the odometer (if sold by a dealership)
  • Does not apply to motorcycles, mopeds, dirtbikes, leased vehicles, or vehicles purchased primarily for business purposes
List of Manufacturer Warranties

As always, consult the manufacturer’s website and your local dealership for more up-to-date information, but here’s a nearly complete list of car makes and their standard factory warranties:

Make Basic Warranty Powertrain Warranty
Acura 4 years or 50,000 miles 6 years or 70,000 miles
Audi 4 years or 50,000 miles 4 years or 50,000 miles
BMW 4 years or 50,000 miles 4 years or 50,000 miles
Buick 4 years or 50,000 miles 5 years or 100,000 miles
Cadillac 4 years or 50,000 miles 5 years or 100,000 miles
Chevrolet 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 100,000 miles
Chrysler 3 years or 36,000 miles Lifetime Limited
Dodge 3 years or 36,000 miles Lifetime Limited
Ford 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
GMC 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 100,000 miles
Honda 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Hyundai 5 years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Infiniti 4 years or 60,000 miles 6 years or 70,000 miles
Jeep 3 years or 36,000 miles Limited Lifetime
Kia 5 years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Lexus 4 years or 50,000 miles 6 years or 70,000 miles
Lincoln 4 years or 50,000 miles 6 years or 70,000 miles
Mazda 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Mercedes-Benz 4 years or 50,000 miles 4 years or 50,000 miles
Mercury 4 years or 50,000 miles 6 years or 70,000 miles
Mini 4 years or 50,000 miles 4 years or 50,000 miles
Mitsubishi 5 years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Nissan 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Scion 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Subaru 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Toyota 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
VW 4 years or 50,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Volvo 4 years or 50,000 miles 4 years or 50,000 miles
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