When Does My Car Warranty Start?
Michael Collado is a car buying expert and has been a professional automotive writer since 2009. He’s written about dealership sales, vehicle reviews and comparisons, and service and maintenance for over 100 national automotive dealerships. Previously, Collado was a copywriter at the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day where he worked on brand campaigns for Nissan, ABC Television, Sony PlayStation, and Energizer. His recognition in the ad industry includes awards from Communication Arts and The Clios.
Collado has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Marketing.
When you purchase a new vehicle, you are likely to have a warranty that will be included in the purchase. Therefore, it is important to know the exact time that the warranty starts.
We've read through the fine print, and have provided all the information that you need regarding the start date of a vehicle warranty.
Table of Contents
When Does My Car Warranty Start?
Generally, a vehicle’s warranty will start the day that you “drive it off the lot.” That is not to say that there are some exceptions to the rule.
Here, we will take a look at three specific situations when a warranty will start on a vehicle purchase.
Day of Delivery
In some cases, you will purchase a vehicle and will have to wait until it is delivered to you. As an example, let’s say you purchase a brand new Ford Explorer with a specific set of options. This vehicle may not be available on the lot. The dealer informs you that the vehicle will be delivered to the dealership in 14 days.
That means that the warranty will not start until the vehicle is delivered and you take possession of it.
In some cases, you may end up purchasing the vehicle that is in the dealership’s inventory. In this case, the vehicle’s warranty will start that day.
Officially, the warranty will begin when you get the keys to the vehicle and drive it off the lot.
There are cases when you purchase a vehicle that has been used by the dealership in some capacity. For instance, if you purchase a demonstrator vehicle, then the warranty will have started the day the vehicle went into service.
For instance, if you purchase a demonstrator with 100 miles on the odometer, then you will receive a warranty that has 100 miles exhausted from the original mileage amount.
Examples of Warranty Start Dates
Let’s take a look at what specific manufacturers say on warranty start dates. Below, we have researched and cited three top manufacturers as examples:
According to the Ford website, a warranty will start when the vehicle is sold or when it is first put into service.
According to Toyota, “Your warranty will start on the vehicle's in-service date, which is the date the car is either delivered to an ultimate purchaser, leased, or first used as a company car.”
According to Honda, the warranty starts at the sale date of the new vehicle.
How Do I Know When My Car Warranty Starts?
The best way to know when your warranty has started is to contact the dealership. If you have the vehicle’s VIN, then you may be able to visit the manufacturer’s website and look up your vehicle’s warranty information.
To know exactly when your vehicle warranty has started, carefully check your purchase contact. You will want to know if your warranty starts the day you drive off with the vehicle or the day you purchase the vehicle.
Other Things to Consider With Warranty
Make sure you fully understand your vehicle warranty. Here are three factors to consider:
All new vehicle warranties will have a vehicle limit. On more new car warranties, the mileage limit will range from 36,000 to more than 50,000 miles.
Be sure to check the purchase contact to know the specifics about your vehicle warranty.
Most warranties will also come with a duration limit. For instance, a new vehicle may come with a warranty that will last for 36,000 miles or 36 months.
Therefore, if you don’t drive your vehicle often, your warranty could expire over time.
Just about all new vehicle warranties require that you maintain the vehicle.
For instance, you will have to ensure that the vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and that the vehicle has received regular oil changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the average car warranty?
The average new car warranty is about 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some car warranties can last as long as five years or 60,000 miles.
How long does it take until a car warranty is in effect?
In most cases, a vehicle’s warranty will start when you drive it off the lot. In some cases, the vehicle’s warranty start may start at the purchase date.
Do new cars come with a warranty?
All new cars sold in the United States come with a warranty.
How do I check the warranty start date?
If you know your vehicle’s VIN, then you can check the warranty start date on the manufacturer’s website. You can also contact the dealership or check the vehicle purchase contract.