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 depending 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:
- GM (Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC)
- Ram Trucks
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.
Lifetime warranties typically do not cover the following:
- Accidental damage
- Normal wear and tear
- Regular maintenance
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.
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):
Note that Porsche also offers limited and extended warranties; our previous research details Porsche’s warranty options and policies.
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.
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.