Here Comes the 20-Year, 200,000-Mile Warranty

200,000-mile warranty

I remember the day the world changed.

We tend to remember exactly where we were when momentous events mark a distinct “before” and “after” in our lives.

In this particular case, many years ago I was watching television, casually unaware my world would change with the very next advertisement.

It was an ad from Hyundai, the laughable Korean car company, promoting a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

“How could this be?” I thought, “Cars aren’t even supposed to last much past 100,000 miles.”

Of course, today we all know differently, as cars routinely pass that mark and even double it.

The 100,000-mile warranty has become standard fare for Hyundai and Kia and even inspired General Motors and Chrysler to add (and then revoke) 100,000-mile warranties.

Now there’s another warranty on the market that might keep pace with the life of current vehicles: the 20-year, 200,000-mile warranty.

While this extra-long coverage does exist, it’s not offered by any automaker. It’s offered by some dealers. But, as you might assume, there’s a catch.

One thing for sure, customers are better off with a 20-year warranty than without. That said, a dealer wouldn’t offer such a long warranty if it didn’t have a financial benefit. What better way to secure a couple of decades worth of service visits than requiring owners to return to the dealer for maintenance in order to keep the warranty in effect?

AutoExpress made this comment about the lengthy coverage:

A deal like this creates countless pros and cons. And there are unanswered questions, too. Such as will a near-worthless 19-year-old, 190,000-mile Hyundai that blows its engine really be fitted with a new power unit, free of charge, on the eve of its 20th birthday?

The details of one such offer are here, and it looks like as long as the dealer maintained the car according to the vehicle’s recommended service schedule for the original owner, a new engine would indeed be covered with just a $100 deductible.

That’s where the breakdown starts. How many people hold on to their cars for 20 years? By the time a car hits 200,000 miles, it’s often on at least its second or third owner, rendering the warranty worthless.

Plus, having a dealer maintain your car according to the recommended guidelines is an expensive endeavor. While the 200,000-mile warranty is enticing, I won’t get too excited until it’s offered by an automaker as factory coverage.

Would a 200,000-mile warranty, supplied by a dealer, entice you to buy a car?


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  1. I have a 2006 Hyundai Accent. It never needed anything for 120,000 miles. Oil changes and tires, and I changed the transmission oil to synthetic. Well, I didn’t change the engine timing belt, and at 123,000 miles, it broken. When it broken, it bent most of the valves. I had the car for 13 years. I decided to get the car fixed, put new belts on the rest of the car and drive it for another 10 years. I love my car. For $3,000 I just got a newly rebuilt motor. That’s a whole lot cheaper than buying a new car. That adds up to $20 per month since I got it.

  2. I own a 2004 Chevy Cavalier with 205k never been in the shop for anything and everything still works. Only had regular oil changes wear and tear. brakes, tires, rotors. Runs like it did when I first got it. 0 miles original owner.

  3. The writer stated ‘Cars aren’t even supposed to last much past 100,000 miles.”.

    What a poor country you must live in, full with junk. Quality cars last way longer, even in the late 70’s most cars around had way over 100,00 miles on them, many over 200,000 miles.

    It all depends on who built it, how and most importantly: The driver and maintenance.

  4. Go ahead and try and find a “new engine” for a twenty year old car. It ain’t happening!

  5. Any extended auto Warrenty that will cover a 1995 Ford bronco with 83,250 miles on it??

  6. Most people know about the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer. If they have a 20 year limited warranty on their vehicle, and if they follow exactly what the schedule recommends, here is what I foresee. First, the car will likely run in good condition during its early years and low mileage period, lets say, below 100,000 miles. After that, due to wear and tear, problems due to aging and use creep up. Beginning this stage, a regular maintenance visit will likely include recommendations for extra work to be done in order to maintain the car at its best condition for its age. For example, replacement timing belt, cv boots, ac compressor, resurfacing brake rotors. These are things that may or may not prompt people to act immediately, but would rather wait till a certain date when they have time or enough money to do it. However, if such recommended services are listed on the maintenance records, and the car owner does not purchase those services “as recommended” on the same date, I wonder, will that 20 year warranty be voided? What I mean is, on top of factory recommended services, it is almost certain that there are more issues as the vehicle ages. In such a situation, should you do the extra service the mechanic recommends in addition to those recommended by the factory? If you do everything, the car will be running great at all time (you now feel better at the big service bill). Will you ever need that Warranty?

    • Just because something is recommended by a mechanic doesn’t make that item a required maintenance item. A timing belt, if your car has one (most have a chain these days), will generally be a manufacturer-listed maintenance item. An AC compressor won’t be. But these 20Y/200K warranties only cover the powertrain, so if your AC goes out, it isn’t covered. Powertrain generally covers your engine, transmission, and a few other internally-lubricated drivetrain related items. Your AC going out won’t cause any damage to anything covered by the warranty. Neither will CV boots or brake rotors or tires. So if you skip out on these items you won’t be voiding any warranty.

      Most manufacturers will recommend changing the engine oil every 5k-10k miles, maybe changing a PCV valve every 100k, spark plugs every 30k-100k, and coolant every 20k-100k (or in some cases, never). If you change all these items, your engine will generally stay in good condition. In most cases, if anything breaks, it will be some non-covered item like the radiator or some hoses. Now if a hose breaks, and that causes fluid to leak out, which damages the engine or transmission, you may be out of luck.

      Some will also recommend you change the transmission fluid/filter, although many don’t. In my view, the transmission is where you’ll get the best bang for your buck with these warranties. If the manufacturer doesn’t say to change transmission fluid, then there’s a good chance the transmission will fail within the warranty period. Since on many new cars, there is no transmission service required, there will be no way for them to get out of fixing/replacing it.

  7. My Ford dealer has not been overpriced on maintenance on my 99 Mustang – the warranty would entice me if backed by the car company, and transferable –

  8. What a lot of people fail to realize is that if your vehicle needs a trans flush, brake flush, power steering flush, coolant flush all at the same time, you need to come up with roughly 6 to 800 bucks. If the manufacturer recommends it, you don’t have a choice. Don’t have the money right now. Too bad, warranty cancelled. It’s smoke an mirrors. For the 5 percent of the population that actually keep a car over 4 years, maybe. Most of us don’t and still have factory warranty during ownership

  9. So if you add up the expensive required service at a dealer you don’t save any money. It in deeds coat you a little of unneeded money.

  10. honda of venice (fl) and toyota of venice (fl) offered 20 year/ 200,000 mile bumper to bumper warrenties to customers during the winter(2015)/spring( 2016)season. i believe it was only good to the original buyer but could be serviced by any certified mechanic and the original buyer had to keep all paperwork to verify same timely service per manufacturer’s recommendations.
    the only reason i did not trade in my 2014 tundra was that at age 69 i did not think i would want a full size pickup for another 20 years… 10 or 12 years maybe? i still have my 2014 tunda, travel between franklin county new york and sarasota county florida; drive about 1100 miles a month, when not traveling between each area,and tow a boat and a travel trailer,both well within the towing capacity as per the owners manual.

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