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Buying a brand new car means you get to choose everything from the engine size to the interior trim.
It should also mean that you can look forward to problem-free driving for the next few years.
But what if your lovely new set of wheels breaks down soon after purchase?
What sort of warranty?
All new cars come with warranties that cover major components such as the engine, the gearbox and the electrics for a certain period.
But all warranties are different, so read the terms and conditions carefully to check what is included.
Some warranties run for up to an impressive seven years, but many are much shorter.
Most will also impose a limit on the mileage you can do before the protection runs out.
The minimum you can generally expect is three years or 60,000 miles. But it’s worth noting that most manufacturers will require you to meet certain conditions to benefit from warranty protection.
Missing scheduled car services, modifying your vehicle or using an unauthorised garage for any repairs could all result in a claim being rejected.
Second-hand cars without warranties
If you buy a car that doesn’t have a manufacturer’s or dealer’s warranty, you can buy a stand-alone product.
Again, there are stipulations regarding mileage, but you can get cover for most cars that insures failure of parts and associated labour costs.
In some cases, you can even cover problems caused by wear and tear.
You can find out more about standalone warranties here.
Warranties with breakdown assistance
Many manufacturers’ warranties include breakdown assistance designed to minimise inconvenience and cover any extra costs you incur as a result of breaking down on the side of the road.
Vauxhall, for example, offers a three-year warranty that includes Vauxhall Roadside Assistance for the first year.
Honda also offers breakdown cover for new car owners, including home assistance for if you break down within 0.25 miles of your home.
“If your car is within its factory warranty period, our Honda Breakdown Assistance will be there when you need it,” the company says.
Again, however, not all warranty breakdown assistance benefits are alike. Honda buyers, for example, get European assistance as part of the standard manufacturer warranty, as do those who have bought a new Land Rover car within the last three years.
“Europe’s made for exploring,” says Land Rover. “And it’s nice to know if your vehicle is immobilised in Europe and the problem can’t be resolved at the roadside, we’ll arrange for your vehicle to be taken to the nearest Approved Service Centre. And pick up the bill.”
However, while Hyundai’s five-year warranty includes roadside assistance, this is only available in the UK.
“As part of the 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty package, our Roadside Assistance Programme provides five years of free, 24-hour roadside assistance should your car break down anywhere in the UK or Channel Islands,” says Hyundai.
Warranty breakdown assistance vs breakdown cover
The breakdown assistance provided with new car warranties is similar to that offered by breakdown specialists such as the AA and the RAC.
If you have a new car that is still under a warranty that includes breakdown assistance, you may therefore find that paying for breakdown cover on top is a waste of money.
So it makes sense to check what cover your warranty offers before considering a separate breakdown policy.
You may, for example, want to take out European breakdown cover if you are taking your car overseas and your warranty does not cover you outside the UK.