Right Driver

New drivers: Do you need an extended warranty?

As a parent, if you have a teen driver, you have a lot to worry about. Will your child drive safely? Does your child know what to do in case of an accident? And do you have the right insurance coverage on the vehicle your son or daughter is driving? You should also think about the state of the car and make sure it is in good shape for your child to drive. Having the best extended car warranty can give you peace of mind so you can make necessary repairs without ruining your budget.

An extended warranty: an overview

Choosing whether to buy a new car or a used model can be a difficult decision. There are pros and cons to both options. One of the benefits of purchasing a new car is that it will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. This will cover major systems and parts such as the engine and transmission. A bumper-to-bumper warranty typically lasts for 36,000 miles or 36 months, whichever comes first. A powertrain warranty is often longer, up to five years or 60,000 miles.

If you purchase a used car for your new driver (which is a common decision for parents), the chances are good that the vehicle will not have warranty coverage. This can put you in a difficult financial position if you encounter mechanical or performance problems. Instead of a warranty covering the repair costs, you would be responsible. Car repairs can be hundreds or even thousands, depending on the issue. An extended warranty gives you protection on a used car for a certain period, meaning you will not have to front the bill for many car issues.

What it covers

When you buy an extended warranty for a used car, it will cover the same parts, components, and systems as the manufacturer’s warranty. It will cover defects and damage to areas of the car that cannot be considered normal wear and tear. This can occur virtually anywhere on the vehicle.

What it doesn’t cover

Be aware that an extended warranty will not pay for anything that goes wrong with your car. Items that suffer expected wear and tear are exempt. These include tires, brakes, the air filter, the fuel filter, and the timing belt. Aspects of your car that require regular maintenance and car may not apply to the warranty. Also, if you deliberately damage your car, it will invalidate the warranty.

Saving money at the shop

The biggest reason why people purchase extended warranties is so they can avoid getting big bills at the repair shop. Older cars naturally are more likely to break down or sputter than new cars. If you purchase an older model, you may encounter problems sooner than later. Rather than get stuck with a bill you cannot afford to pay, a warranty may take care of the costs.


You should always be familiar with the fine print on your vehicle’s extended warranty. Make sure you understand what it covers and what it excludes. Also, the contract may require that you take the vehicle to certain repair facilities. Know if this is the case and where they are. Some warranties will also only pay for a certain portion of costs, depending on how many miles your car has.

Will you use it?

As you decide whether to get an extended car warranty, consider how much you will use the vehicle. For example, if your new driver will be behind the wheel of this car every day and uses it for work, school, and play, your child will likely put a lot of miles on it. The need for repairs will almost be inevitable. On the other hand, if your teen driver will only use the car sparingly, you may not need to take it to the shop for several months or even longer. In this case, you might spend more on the warranty than you would on any repairs.

The verdict

Buying an extended car warranty depends on various elements. First, know what the coverage entails. Then, evaluate your new driver’s driving habits and daily usage. Keep an eye on the number of miles the car has as well. If you believe it is going to be prone to mechanical issues based on these factors, purchasing a warranty is probably worth it.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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