Lifetime Warranty Dealerships: Coverage for New & Used Cars Explained

Short Answer: Some branded car dealerships — like select BMW, Ford, GM, and Toyota locations — extend lifetime warranties to the original owner at no additional charge. These warranties typically cover the car’s powertrain components after the manufacturer warranty expires. Used car dealerships do not offer lifetime warranties, but most offer some sort of extended coverage. For more information on car dealerships with lifetime warranties, plus the details of used car and manufacturer warranty options, see below.

Car Dealerships With Lifetime Warranties

Most car manufacturers offer limited warranties rather than lifetime warranties for new car purchases. However, individual dealerships may offer lifetime warranties. When dealers offer lifetime warranties, they usually come free with the purchase of a new vehicle; coverage for certified pre-owned vehicles will vary based on the vehicle and the dealer.

Note that most lifetime warranties exclude commercial vehicles and modified vehicles. Additional exclusions may apply (e.g., some will exclude car models produced before a certain year), so you should check your dealership’s warranty terms to make sure your car is eligible.

We reached out to numerous dealerships across the U.S. and checked individual dealer websites to find out about available lifetime warranties. We found that participating dealerships under the following vehicle brands offer lifetime warranties at no cost:

  • Acura
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Fiat
  • Ford
  • Genesis
  • GM (Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC)
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • INFINITI
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Kia
  • Lexus
  • Lincoln
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Ram Trucks
  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen

Lifetime Warranty Coverage

Lifetime warranties generally take effect once a car’s standard manufacturer warranty expires. They typically cover the engine, transmission, axles, drivetrain, front- and rear-wheel drive, and occasionally other components — similar to a powertrain warranty.

Limitations

Lifetime warranties typically do not cover the following:

  • Accidental damage
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Regular maintenance
  • Tires

Some dealers offer extended warranties that can cover these elements, but they will come with additional charges.

Lifetime warranties have no mileage limit or expiration date. However, you must stay current on the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance. Additionally, lifetime warranties are only valid as long as the person who purchased the car is the owner — if you sell or transfer the car to a new owner, the lifetime warranty is void.

Used Car Warranties

None of the used car dealerships we contacted offer a lifetime warranty, though most do offer some form of warranty coverage. The following used car dealers offer warranties at most locations (typically for an additional charge that varies by contract):

  • AutoNation: Warranties for maintenance, mechanical, and emergencies for 90 days or 4,000 miles
  • CARite: Optional mechanical coverage or other service contracts; terms vary by contract
  • CarMax: The MaxCare extended service plan covers up to 100,000 miles; see our related research for more information about CarMax’s extended warranty.
  • Carvana: Free limited warranty (100 days or 4,189 miles); CarvanaCare extended warranty also available for purchase
  • DriveTime: 30-day limited warranty; DriveCare extended powertrain coverage is also available for purchase
  • Penske Automotive Group: Varies by location; contact your local dealer for specific warranty information
  • RightWay: Limited warranty for six months or 6,000 miles; you may be able to purchase an extended warranty

Note that when you purchase a used car, the manufacturer’s warranty may still be valid. If so, additional coverage will take effect once the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Manufacturer Warranties

As noted above, lifetime warranties are offered through car dealerships, not manufacturers. However, virtually all manufacturers offer a limited warranty for new vehicles, and it must expire before the dealership’s lifetime warranty can take effect. The following manufacturers offer limited warranty coverage (included in the cost of the vehicle):

Manufacturer Comprehensive Warranty Powertrain Warranty
Acura Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
Audi Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
BMW Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
Buick Three years or 36,000 miles Six years or 70,000 miles
Cadillac Four years or 50,000 miles Six years or 70,000 miles
Chevrolet Five years or 60,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Chrysler Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Dodge Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Fiat Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Genesis Five years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
GMC Five years or 60,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Honda Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Hyundai Five years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
INFINITI Four years or 60,000 miles Six years or 70,000 miles
Jaguar Five years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Jeep Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Kia Five years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Lexus Four years or 50,000 miles Six years or 70,000 miles
Lincoln Four years or 50,000 miles Six years or 70,000 miles
Mercedez-Benz Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
MINI Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
Mitsubishi Five years or 60,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
Nissan Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Ram Trucks Three years or 36,000 miles Five years or 60,000 miles
Tesla Four years or 50,000 miles Four years or 50,000 miles
Volkswagen Six years or 72,000 miles Six years or 72,000 miles

Note that Porsche also offers limited and extended warranties; our previous research details Porsche’s warranty options and policies.

Extended Warranties

Some of the manufacturers listed in the table above may offer additional extended warranty options (up to about 10 years). Still, eligibility and pricing will vary based on the car’s make and model, its purchase price, etc. Before purchasing extended coverage, especially for powertrain components, you should check to see if your dealer already includes an automatic lifetime warranty with your new vehicle purchase.

In Summary

While car manufacturers offer limited warranties that expire after a few years for new cars, individual dealerships often offer lifetime warranties for powertrain elements at no additional charge. A lifetime warranty takes effect after the manufacturer’s warranty expires, and it will not cover regular maintenance or wear and tear. Used car dealerships do not typically offer lifetime warranties, but many have some type of warranty or repair coverage available for purchase.

For more on car shopping, check out our research on car dealerships that take negative credit and credit tiers for auto loans.

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