All You Need to Know About Used Car Warranties

Giulia Nigrini
Giulia Nigrini
Vehicle Service Contract Specialist, Traveler, Car Enthusiast
September 6, 2022
min. read
car parked in front of a glass building

Are you looking for a used car extended warranty?

You have come to the right place. It is not always the most exciting topic, but extended auto protection could be significantly beneficial for you and your vehicle. Especially if that vehicle is a pre-owned car. However, in your research things may be a little confusing or downright contradictory. We want to take this opportunity to give you a better understanding of what is involved in used car warranties and what options are available for extended coverage, such as a vehicle service contract. Read on as we delve into all you need to know about used car warranties.

What is a used car warranty?

To answer that question we need to look at what a car warranty is and how they are offered to drivers. A car warranty is a protection against mechanical failures or factory defects. These warranties are part of the purchase of a new vehicle and differ between manufacturers. The car warranty that you receive when you purchase a new car is provided by the manufacturer. For example, a new Toyota 4Runner 2023 model will come with the following warranty coverage:

Basic Coverage

36 months/36,000 miles (all components other than normal wear and maintenance items).

Powertrain Coverage

60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel-drive system, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts, and airbags).

Rust-Through Coverage

60 months/unlimited miles (corrosion perforation of sheet metal).

Emissions Coverage

Coverages vary under Federal and California regulations. Refer to the applicable Warranty & Maintenance Guide for details.

This would mean that you are covered for mechanical failures for 36 months/36,000 miles for all components and up to 60 months/60,000 miles for powertrain components. After that has been reached you will no longer be covered and you would need to take on the cost of repairs entirely. Considering the high repair costs today, this is not necessarily a feasible option for everyone.

Most people drive their new vehicles until the warranty has come to an end and sell or trade them in for a newer car. So you will find many used cars, out of warranty, that are for sale and that means the car is usually not covered when purchasing secondhand cars. In this case, many people take on the responsibility of the repair costs and pay out of pocket when needed or whenever funds are available.

A used car extended warranty is designed to alleviate that stress and fill the gap in repair costs that fall upon the driver and/or owner of the newly purchased secondhand vehicle. A warranty, or a vehicle service contract,  for used cars, offers coverage for mechanical parts from the powertrain components all the way to certain hybrid systems depending on the plan you have opted to purchase.

What Used Car Warranty Options are Available?

When it comes to getting extended auto protection coverage for a used vehicle, there are two main options available. The first of which is speaking with a representative of the vehicle manufacturer to find out if they have extended warranty options and what they would cost. Toyota offers extended warranty plans for certified pre-owned vehicles that have less than 150,000 miles and are within the last 10 model years. The plans available are the following:

Each of these plans has limits on what they cover and usually cannot be renewed easily. The best thing to do is get in touch with the vehicle manufacturer for the most up-to-date details.

But what if you have a car that has driven more than 150,000 miles or simply a car brand that doe not have extended warranties for used vehicles available?

Well, that is when you have the option to look at a vehicle service contract known as a VSC. A VSC is offered by third-party providers and is available on three different tiers. That is the powertrain, powertrain plus, and most comprehensive plans. Though sometimes the most comprehensive plans are incorrectly referred to as bumper-to-bumper warranties or exclusionary plans. For a driver of an older vehicle, it is a great option for continued mechanical coverage. They are most often found through dealerships or call centers. Now though, with Chaiz, you can do it all online.

What is covered under a used car warranty?

By now you might be wondering what is covered under used car warranties. When it comes to plans offered by the manufacturer it really depends on the car model and year. This information will have to be retrieved from the manufacturer directly as well.

However, we can indeed give you a rundown of what VSCs offer in terms of coverage. Please keep in mind that the plans do vary per car make, model, and year.


Powertrain plans cover the components that make up the drivetrain of your car as well as the power source. The drivetrain is made up of the front and back axle, driveshaft,  transmission, CV joint, U joint, and differentials. The power source is typically the engine of the vehicle. Though there are more vehicles moving over to electric power or a hybridization of the two. Overall most providers will cover the following parts under a powertrain plan:

Powertrain Plus

Most Comprehensive

If you are in the market for coverage that offers complete protection then this will likely be the option for you. As the name suggests, most components between your front and rear bumpers will be covered, just not everything.. Your drivetrain, power source, steering components, AC, safety features, tech systems, electrical parts, and in some cases certain emissions elements are all covered under a most comprehensive plan. Sometimes these types of warranties are also referred to as exclusionary plans since they exclude very few items in general. In fact here is a list of what is NOT covered in these plans:

Many of the policies also include added benefits such as towing services, gas delivery, roadside assistance, and tire changing services. Greatly beneficial if you travel frequently by car.

What does a Used Car Extended Warranty Cost?

If you are going to look at what the manufacturer is offering you will need to contact them directly. Unfortunately, the information concerning cost is not always available.

For a VSC, you could contact providers directly via a phone call to get multiple quotes for a better idea of what the costs are for extended protection. Otherwise, you can use the search tool right here on chaiz to get instant quotes for your vehicle with the license plate number or by selecting your make and model.

Let’s take the Toyota 4Runner as an example again, this time though we will use a 2015 model with about 150,000 miles on the odometer. Through Chaiz you will likely spend the following:

Is a used car warranty worth it?

Considering the general attitude towards warranties, it may surprise you that used car warranties are helpful. Many of us do not have the capacity or resources to pay for a $500 or $1,000 dollar repair bill out of pocket. Keeping that kind of money aside just in case a mechanical repair is needed is not always that simple.

Many of us have trouble managing one savings pocket as it is, establishing multiple savings avenues and pockets can be daunting and sometimes require skills/time that is not necessarily easy to come by. So here are a few good reasons why a used car warranty or VSC is worth it:

Though paying towards this may seem a bit empty there is a greater purpose in it. Knowing you have protection when you need it takes the stress out of your life. Cars will have some or other issues along the way, so keep your car protected and drive confidently with the peace of mind that you and your vehicle are covered.

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