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Whether you’ve bought your car used or you simply can’t remember the specifics of your purchase, you may be wondering how to check if your car has an extended warranty. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can determine whether your car has a warranty beyond the standard factory warranty.

What is an Extended Car Warranty?

When you purchase a new vehicle, it generally comes with a bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers the mechanical components of your car. Transmission, air conditioning, electrical components, and your engine are just a few examples.

Your manufacturer’s warranty lasts for a certain number of miles or years, whichever comes first. For instance, a factory warranty may last for 3 years or 36,000 miles. Once that term expires, you’re no longer covered.

Many vehicle owners choose to purchase an extended warranty, either at the time they purchase the car or shortly thereafter. This warranty covers similar issues that could arise with your vehicle, only after the original factory warranty ends.

If you don’t recall whether you purchased an extended warranty on your vehicle when you bought it, or don’t know if your used car came with one, there are a few things you can do to check if your car has this coverage. Let’s take a look.

Check With Your Auto Dealership

The first step you should take to check for an extended warranty is to contact your dealership. Let’s face it, not everyone is great at keeping paperwork. Your dealership, however, will have copies of the documents you signed when you purchased your vehicle.

If you still have your paperwork, that’s great! The paper you’re looking for is the Vehicle Service Contract, or VSC. On this document, you’ll find the terms you agreed to regarding the warranty of your vehicle, whether standard or extended.

If you do find an extended warranty, look carefully at the expiration and the mileage. Remember that your warranty expires with whichever term is met first. So, if the expiration is 36,087 miles or January 1, 2022, you’ll have to check your odometer. It may be June of 2021 but if your odometer reads 36,088 that means your warranty has expired.

Check With Your Car’s Previous Owner

In rare cases, you may “inherit” an extended warranty from the previous owner of your vehicle. If you bought your car from a private seller, it would be a good idea to try to get in touch with him or her to find out if you have an existing extended warranty.

In most cases, it’s necessary to fill out the appropriate paperwork to transfer a warranty from one owner to the next. If you don’t recall doing this, it’s not likely you have an extended warranty.

With that said, it can’t hurt to ask. If you still have contact information for the person you bought your car from, give them a call, or shoot an email to ask if you still have a warranty on your car.

Search Your Vehicle Identification (VIN) Number

There are several sites online that allow you to search your vehicle’s service history. In some cases, an extended warranty may be listed if your car is covered by one. If you can’t get information from the dealer or the seller, this is another route you can take to determine whether you have an extended warranty.

Run a Google search for “vehicle history report” and choose one with good reviews. There are several thorough services out there, such as Carfax and AutoCheck, which will be most likely to accurately let you know whether your car is covered by an extended warranty.

If you run the report but no warranty is listed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t covered. However, exhausting these three methods with no result may mean you’ll need to forfeit any warranty you’ve forgotten about.

Summary: Factory Warranty and Extended Warranty

An extended warranty is an optional coverage that protects you from costly repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Many drivers opt to purchase this warranty, but some forget the terms, or that they’re covered at all!

Be sure you keep track of your paperwork when you buy a new or used car! If for some reason you’ve misplaced your documents, however, there are still methods you can use to check if your car has an extended warranty.