Car Buying

How to Check Warranty on a Car

Car warranties can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Learn more about how to check the warranty on a car to see what coverage is available.

Read time

8 minutes

Date

12.08.2023

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Checking your car warranty doesn’t have to take up all your time. Instead, if your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is handy, you can simply look up your coverage or request it from your local dealership. Many VIN decoder sites can also help you determine what, if any, coverage applies. 


If you want to avoid the rigamarole of car warranties, check out a FINN car subscription. FINN lets you choose which car you want and delivers it straight to your door. You can avoid the hassle of warranty coverage with a monthly subscription fee, including registration, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance. Best of all, you choose the terms that fit your timeline and lifestyle. 

How to find your warranty by VIN

Whether you bought your car new or used, you can use the following steps to determine what warranty coverage applies based on your car’s VIN. 

1. Locate the VIN

You can find the VIN in several places, including near the bottom of the driver’s side windshield, the driver’s side door jamb, under the hood, or even in the owner’s manual. Once you’ve located the VIN, copy it down for quick reference. Double-check you’ve written it down correctly before you move forward. 

2. Check mileage

Write down the mileage next to the VIN to reference it quickly as you review any existing warranties. You can typically find the mileage on the odometer in the gauge cluster somewhere, whether displayed whenever the car is on or buried in a menu. Besides age, mileage is a determining factor in figuring out if your vehicle warranty still applies. 

3. Review your purchase paperwork

If you purchased your car from a dealership, you likely received a folder full of paperwork. Somewhere in those files should be details concerning any auto warranty coverage, including factory and extended. Review these files to determine if you have a record of any warranties. 

4. Contact the dealership or lender

Contact the dealership or lender if you can’t find anything in your purchase file. They can typically search their records to figure out if any manufacturer’s warranties exist. You’ll typically need your VIN and may be asked to submit personal information as well. 

5. Use a VIN decoder website

Several VIN decoder websites may give you insight into active car warranties. These include AutoCheck by Experian, the National Insurance Crime Bureau website, carVertical, EpicVIN, and CARFAX. You can also contact third-party warranty providers to research existing warranties and purchase additional coverage if you’d like. 

Other ways to find your car warranty

If you’re having trouble finding warranty information based on your car’s VIN, visit the manufacturer’s website to contact customer support. You can also check your owner’s manual to see what coverage may be listed there. If you purchased the car from a private party, you can also ask the seller about any warranty coverage

Types of car warranties

One of the larger questions at stake when considering whether you should buy a new or used car is what warranties exist on a particular vehicle that may still be in effect. Factory warranties come directly from the manufacturer and fold into the price of the car. Extended car warranties can be purchased a la carte (as service contracts) at an additional fee when you buy the vehicle or afterward. 


Most new cars come with three-year, 36,000-mile limited factory warranties that cover primary components and may be considered a basic or powertrain warranty. However, extended warranties such as GAP and tire protection may offer additional support. Additional car warranty types include: 

  • Bumper-to-bumper (comprehensive): This limited warranty offers robust coverage but doesn’t last long. Nearly every vehicle component (as the name suggests) is covered under this factory warranty
  • Powertrain: The powertrain warranty picks up where the comprehensive left off. It covers the engine, transmission, differential, axles, and other components. 
  • EmissionsAuto manufacturers must guarantee the integrity of a vehicle’s emission control system for the first two years or 24,000 miles. 
  • Electric or hybrid battery replacement: Federal law mandates that electric car manufacturers offer a warranty on hybrid and electric batteries to offset repair or replacement. Most offer coverage for eight to 10 years and 100,000 miles. 
  • Tire: This type of extended warranty covers the repair or replacement of your tires due to common road hazards. 
  • Corrosion and perforation: This factory warranty covers rust or corrosion within a specific timeframe.


Basic wear and tear, oil changes, and routine maintenance on a car aren’t typically covered under warranty. Damage due to an accident, alteration, or improper vehicle care doesn’t qualify as being covered under warranty either. 

Common warranty terms

Below are some of the most common car warranty terms you’ll come across: 

  • Administrator: This company authorizes and covers repair work done to your car at an approved facility. 
  • Deductible: Warranties typically come with a deductible determining the limit of your financial responsibility for a covered repair. 
  • Exclusionary policy: This warranty policy offers comprehensive coverage for items not named, meaning unless the policy lists it exclusively as a non-covered part, it’s covered. The opposite of an exclusionary policy is an inclusionary policy, where only the parts listed are covered under repairs. 
  • In-service date: This date represents when the car was purchased by the original owner and driven, whether as a rental, demonstration car, or otherwise. 
  • Rental benefit: When your car is in the shop under a covered claim, your warranty may include a rental benefit that pays for a rental car until your car is roadworthy. 
  • Transferability: Most car warranties transfer from the seller to the buyer but may require giving the automaker or third-party administrator notice within a specific timeframe, such as 30 days after the car’s exchanged hands. Some warranties do not transfer.


One of the tricks car salesmen use is throwing around terms you may not be familiar with. The next time you shop for a car warranty, you’ll not only know the terms above but be able to apply them to your benefit. 

How to check the warranty on a car FAQs

Knowing how to check if your car is still under warranty, figuring out the best time to buy a car, and learning how to calculate car loan interest rates can seem dull. However, these skills can help you get a better car loan deal and save you money. You can check if your car is still under warranty by calling the dealership you purchased your vehicle from or looking through your purchase paperwork. 

An extended factory car warranty can be worth it if you’re worried about the cost of repairs. Warranties typically pale compared to the repair costs you could face if you’re not covered, which can tally up to tens of thousands of dollars. However, the final values will depend on your vehicle’s age, type, mileage, and the provider, coverage, warranty, and deductible you choose.

A car warranty covers repairing or replacing specified components within a set timeframe or mileage limit. Most warranties are named after the components they cover, including powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties. Automotive manufacturers offer factory warranties on new vehicles, but you can also purchase warranties from dealerships or third-party administrators.


In addition to covering repairs or replacing various components, car warranties can also hold several other benefits. Certain warranties may come with roadside assistance, rental benefits, or trip interruption benefits. You can—and, as some may argue, should—purchase a warranty for a used car, regardless of model year.

Most bumper-to-bumper car warranties typically last between three years and 36,000 miles, upon which time powertrain warranties kick in. The best car warranties extend the powertrain to 10 years or 100,000 miles, including Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi. Electric car battery warranties tend to last between eight and 10 years or 100,000 miles. 

Final thoughts

Figuring out if you have an existing warranty for your vehicle can mean the difference between stressing out about paying for repairs and the peace of mind that comes with warranty coverage. You can easily find the warranty coverage specified in your purchase paperwork, but you can also speak to the dealership to check your warranty status if you’re unsure. In addition to your car’s factory warranty, you can also purchase an extended warranty to continue protection. 


FINN car subscriptions make the whole business of car warranties a thing of the past. Subscribe to a FINN vehicle and see how your inclusive monthly payment covers registration, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance. Choose the terms you want and have your car delivered to your door with FINN, warranty-free. 

How to Check Warranty on Car
How to Check Warranty on Car

Final thoughts

Figuring out if you have an existing warranty for your vehicle can mean the difference between stressing out about paying for repairs and the peace of mind that comes with warranty coverage. You can easily find the warranty coverage specified in your purchase paperwork, but you can also speak to the dealership to check your warranty status if you’re unsure. In addition to your car’s factory warranty, you can also purchase an extended warranty to continue protection. 


FINN car subscriptions make the whole business of car warranties a thing of the past. Subscribe to a FINN vehicle and see how your inclusive monthly payment covers registration, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance. Choose the terms you want and have your car delivered to your door with FINN, warranty-free. 

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