New car warranty explained

All new vehicles come with a manufactures warranty, this is essentially an insurance policy, that covers you for faults and failure, with your vehicle within the warranty period.

Most manufactures have a standard three years and 60K miles warranty,  some other brands like KIA have 7 years and 100K miles warranty. When you buy a new car, the dealer will tell you how long your warranty is valid for.


What’s Covered?

Good news these warranties are pretty comprehensive, they cover almost everything, or should I say the most important things, such as engine, gearbox, exhaust, motors, electronic parts, etc, you don’t really have anything to worry about, with what’s covered.

The only main item that’s a grey area, is the clutch, the manufacture can refuse to repair it under warranty, if they can prove the vehicle has been misused. How they can deem it misused is for example, if you were driving the vehicle with the clutch, half way down for excessive periods, but don’t worry this is very hard for them to prove and very rare for this to happen, unless you do drive like that, then stop.

What’s not covered?

The items that are not covered, are items that they deem as wearable items, or items with a limited usage life. Such as,

  • Light bulbs
  • Tyres
  • Brake pads
  • Brake disks
  • The clutch (grey area)

All little things minus the clutch, that you would expect to ware out / parish, after fare ware and tare.

What voids my warranty

This has to be probably the most important part of this page. If you go back to how I said,

“a warranty is essentially an insurance policy”

What is the one thing we know and love about insurance companies?

Do I even have to type the answer?

They love to have a legal reason not to pay out and this is the same with, the new car warranty.

A lot of the reasons to why your warranty will get voided, are very similar to way your insurance might not pay out, or void your policy.


If your vehicle has not been serviced, to the manufactures service schedule / interval. For example, let’s say your vehicles service schedule, is every 12 months from the date it was registered / 10K miles and you miss the interval by 2 months, or 2K miles, the manufacture has the legal rights, to void your warranty and there is nothing you can do about it.

For a more in-depth guide to servicing check our serving page.



Modified Parts

I learnt this one the hard way as a teenager and it cost me almost three months wages at the time.

If you modify your car out of the manufactures spec ,when it was new, it void’s your warranty. Don’t worry a pine fresh air freshener or powered by fair dust sticker won’t void it.

When I say modify your car, I mean young lads, don’t put a aftermarket exhaust, turbo, air intakes, super chips, remaps, just do not add or remove anything to you engine, that was put there by the manufacture when it was new.

As I said, I leant this the hard way, when I decided to put a custom exhaust (my neighbours loved it when I came home at midnight waking up the whole street), on my Renault Clio sport, when my car had a fault I took it to Renault thinking it was under warranty, I was mistaken. They took my pants down so hard, I had to take my shoes off!

If you modify your engine, electronics, or anything that changes the power, sound, how it drives, it will VOID! Your warranty.


This one is very obvious, let’s say you write off your car by smashing it into a tree and you now have branches and a woodpecker living inside of your engine. Sorry the manufacture is not going to cover that under warranty, as it does not cover accidental damage.


This again is a grey area. The manufacture has to prove you were misusing the vehicle, which is quite difficult to do. For example, let say you bought a new Smart car and you decided to use it to tow a shipping container, (I know impossible) then the car develops faults, because of being misused for purpose, the manufacture can void the warranty, but of course they have to prove you were towing a shipping container.


car in lake

This would also void your warranty due to mistreatment.



Occasionally there may be a part / parts in a vehicle, that have seals on them, that say if broken warranty void. If you broke that seal or tamper with the part ,then your warranty is voided. One example is, on Hybrid cars, the battery’s have these seals on them and if tampered with, it will void the warranty on that part. If your car has a warranty on it, just leave it alone, don’t try and fix anything yourself, let the main dealer fix it for you under warranty!


Not all main dealers and manufactures are all bad. Most manufactures offer leeway on their service intervals, for example they usually allow one month and 1K miles over their schedule, before they void your warranty, but it’s always best to get you service done in time.



Again, not all main dealers and manufactures are all bad, for example they sometimes offer goodwill, which is making a contribution to the repair bill, or lowering the price of parts and the rate of labour. If you believe your claim should be honored by the manufacture, you can always speak to head office customer support, to raise a case with them and sometimes it does work you may be surprised.


Who pays for the warranty claim?

As stated many times on this site.

“A main dealer is a franchise of the brand”, exactly the same as anyone can buy a franchise of McDonalds or KFC, anyone / business can buy a franchise of Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, Honda Jaguar, Land Rover, you get me point.

So, that’s why when you call a main dealer, they are never just called, VW London, they will be called Inchcape VW London. Inchcape are the franchise of the brand.

Some of the biggest franchises, of manufactures are groups like

  • Pendragon
  • Inchcape
  • Arnold Clark
  • Sytner
  • Lookers

So, let say you bought a VW Polo, from VW Inchcape London and you took it there for a warranty claim. VW Inchcape London, if the claim is honored, they will send the repair bill, to VW headquarters in Germany, so the manufacture themselves not the franchise of the manufacture, will pay the bill. So, it is within VW Inchcape London’s interest, to honor the claim as they get paid to do it, from VW Germany.