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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

A warranty for a pre-owned car is a form of insurance policy, a contract between a buyer and a seller or between a buyer and a third party. If you're the buyer of a pre-owned car and your car breaks down or suffers a mechanical failure of certain parts, the warranty may cover replacement parts and labor. A worthwhile warranty can cover your car's major components, such as the engine, fuel and ignition systems, cooling and electrical systems, gearbox, clutch, transmission system, steering, suspension, and brakes. Many pre-owned car warranties do not cover damage to body work, paint, glass, or headlights. Warranties backed by the pre-owned car's manufacturer are often very comprehensive. These manufacturer-backed warranties can be helpful to you as the car owner if your car still qualifies for coverage. If your car doesn't qualify for a manufacturer's warranty and you have made your purchase from a dealer, you may be offered a dealer's extended warranty for your pre-owned car. Before you accept this extended warranty, ask to know exactly what's covered and for how long. You can also request which items are not covered by the dealer's warranty. If, however, you buy your car from a private owner, you may be able to purchase an after-market warranty offered by independent firms.

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