We had a friend who sold a 1934 Riley sportscar at auction. The auctioneer noticed termites in the car’s wooden frame, and as the car came across the block, stated “this car is loaded with extras.” When buying a slightly used car we all want a few extras, just not the termite kind. At the top of the wish list is a warranty. As a buyer, getting even a piece of a warranty that is already in play is still a good thing, which will most likely cover many issues that may come up within the first 3 to 5 years of the warranty. As a seller, you can leverage the remaining warranty to hopefully increase your asking price by a bit.

Warranties are tied to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and transfers with the car until the warranty has expired. So, if you buy a vehicle with an active warranty, it will remain intact until the end of the original warranty period. It’s important to remember that the active date of warranty is the actual purchase date of the car by the original buyer, not the model year of the car.  So yes, the warranties do usually transfer. But there are exceptions to the rules. Read on.

And just so you are aware, a powertrain warranty typically covers just that: the powertrain, which includes the engine, hybrid system, transmission and drivetrain parts. The Bumper-to-Bumper warranties cover the electronics, audio system, air conditioning, switchgear and button items, but will generally not cover glass, or interior trim items such as seating material and dashboard coverings nor does it take care of wear items, like wipers, brake pads, clutch linings and belts.

So, what’s transferable?

Hyundai, Genesis, Kia and Mitsubishi have made 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties a main selling point for their lines of vehicles. But they are non-transferable to secondary buyers. But all is not lost. These brands instead, convert the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage to match up with the standard transferable 5 year/60,000-mile warranty from the original date of purchase.

Volkswagen, which has a 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranty on all new 2019 models allows the full length of that program to be transferred to a subsequent owner.  Jaguar has a 6-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranty that is fully transferable, while Infiniti and Tesla offer similar transferable coverage for 4 years and 50,000 miles.

The brands offering 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranties, all of which are fully transferrable, include Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Lexus and Lincoln. All also include roadside assistance, although Lincoln limits that coverage to the original owner.

Nameplates with 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties include Alfa Romeo, BMW, Fiat, Mini and Volvo. For the rest of the industry, typically, most makes offer a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage including roadside assistance and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage. Some individual models, like the Nissan Titan pickup and NV van have extended coverage of 5 years and 100,000 miles for both bumper-to-bumper and powertrain, while heavy duty diesel trucks from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, and Ram cover powertrains for 5 years and 100,000 miles.

CPO warranties

Certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles present another opportunity to achieve some sort of extended warranty coverage. When you buy a CPO car from a dealership, they usually supply you with a warranty that extends beyond the typical 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. If you sell it to a private buyer, that buyer can assume the remainder of the warranty. If you return the vehicle, to the dealer in trade for a newer car, the CPO warranty will end once the trade occurs. If a new buyer comes along for that particular car, they will start the negotiations all over again. In some cases, if you want the warranty to remain with the car, you will have to find a private buyer.

Extended warranties are also available and may already be working in the background on a car you are interested in buying. If a seller tells you such a plan is in place, you can check on the transferability by contacting the plan administrator, which may be a dealership or a third-party warranty company.

Check and double check

If you are unsure about the length of the remaining factory warranty, if any, supply that particular brand of vehicle’s dealership with the VIN. They will be able to determine how much warranty remains, allowing you to make an educated choice in choosing your next vehicle.

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