Can You Transfer a Car Warranty?
In most cases, yes, you can transfer a car warranty.
A car warranty can really give peace of mind. And it makes sense to ensure that one of your big purchases won’t always require huge repair bills.
We’ll cover more on whether you can transfer a car warranty, as well as explore specific warranty coverages.
- Transferring a new car warranty
- What are the warranty coverages?
- Transferring a used car warranty
- Can you transfer an extended car warranty?
- The bottom line on transferring a car warranty
Transferring a new car warranty
A new car warranty, also known as the manufacturer’s warranty, transfers automatically. The warranty follows the car by the VIN, so you don’t have to do anything to transfer it.
Because the warranty follows the car, the warranty time period and miles coverage refers to how old the car is and how many miles it has. Not how long each owner had — and drove — the car.
For example, Fords have a basic warranty (bumper-to-bumper) of three years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty (engine, transmission and drive axle) of five years or 60,000 miles. The time periods and mile limits refer to how old the car is. So if you buy a four-year-old Ford with 50,000 miles, you would have one year and 10,000 miles left on the powertrain warranty.
What are the warranty coverages?
Most manufacturer warranties on a new car provide a basic warranty of at least three years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of at least four years and 50,000 miles.
Basic warranty, or bumper-to-bumper warranty. This is supposed to cover almost everything about the vehicle, including the engine, air conditioner and heating and more. Because it covers so many things, this is usually the shorter warranty.
Powertrain warranty. This warranty only covers the things that power the car: the engine, transmission and drive axle.
Here is a chart of some of the most common automakers and the length of basic and powertrain warranties that they offer.
Special note on Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi: These automakers have a condition in which their manufacturer warranties change after the first owner. This means that while the original owner gets the full basic warranty (five years or 60,000 miles) and powertrain warranty (10 years or 100,000 miles), all succeeding owners get less coverage.
For the second owner, the entire warranty coverage for both basic and powertrain will end when the car reaches 5 years old or 60,000 miles.
So if the second owner of a Kia bought the car when it was three years old with 30,000 miles, they have two years and 30,000 more miles left of warranty coverage for both basic and powertrain. They do not have the full powertrain coverage of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
Transferring a used car warranty
For secondhand (or more) owners, the manufacturer warranty still follows the vehicle. So if you will be a third owner of a Volvo and the car is less than four years old with less than 50,000 miles, the original warranty still applies.
Again, the manufacturer warranty follows the car, not the owner. So you don’t have to do anything to transfer it, besides sell or buy the vehicle. As soon as the car passes the time or mile mark, the manufacturer warranty no longer applies. The vehicle is too old.
Can you transfer an extended car warranty?
Whether you can transfer an extended car warranty depends on your policy. An extended warranty is something you buy separately. It is not included with the price of the car.
You need to read the paperwork or call the company for a hard-and-fast answer. The company that provides the extended car warranty could be the manufacturer or a third party.
If the extended warranty company allows a transfer. The current owner of the extended warranty will need to call the company with the new owner’s name, address and contact information. You (or the new owner) might have to pay a transfer fee of, say, $50 for the company to process the paperwork.
If the extended warranty company does not allow a transfer. If the extended vehicle warranty company does not allow transfers, you, as the current owner, could keep the warranty until the day you sell the car. This way, the car is covered if anything happens between now and then. Afterward:
- Cancel the warranty. You might as well cancel it once you sell the vehicle.
- Ask for the prorated refund. Warranties are usually prorated, which means their price is based on how long the coverage lasts. If you don’t use the entire warranty you paid for, you should get some money back. For example, if you have a three-year extended warranty and cancel the warranty with a year left to go, you could get a third of what you paid back. There may be some exceptions to this. If the warranty already covered a major, expensive repair on your vehicle, you may not be able to get any prorated money back, but it never hurts to ask.
- Let the buyer know they could get an extended warranty themselves. Check out the questions you should ask when buying an extended warranty.
The bottom line on transferring a car warranty
Keeping record of a car warranty could provide peace of mind and potentially save you thousands in automotive repair bills.
Transferring one could be as simple as doing nothing (for manufacturer warranties) or it might require a phone call and a fee (for extended warranties).