When Does My Car Warranty Start?

Here's the answer.

Mechanic taking notes in front of chassis undefined open engine bonnet


Article QuickTakes:

When buying a new car, it's a good idea to ask, "when does my car warranty start?" For every example we looked at, the warranty begins on the day you take delivery of the vehicle. That start date applies whether you lease or buy your new vehicle, meaning you're covered by that new-vehicle warranty from day one.

What's in a Warranty?

All new cars come with a warranty that typically covers the repair or replacement of any part of the vehicle that is found to be defective in everyday use. In plain English, that means if something breaks on your car during the warranty period and you weren't doing something abnormal (like abusing the vehicle or using it as a taxi, for example), the carmaker will make repairs and replacements free of charge.

Best-Selling Examples

As to when it starts, we looked at the warranty fine print for three of the best-selling cars in America, and they all said pretty much the same thing: your new car warranty begins on the day the vehicle is delivered to you by the dealer, or when it is first put into service (say, as a dealer demonstrator).

  • 2022 Ford F-150: "Your Warranty Start Date is the day you take delivery of your new vehicle or the day it is first put into service (for example, as a dealer demonstrator), whichever occurs first."
  • 2022 Toyota RAV4: "The warranty period begins on the vehicle's in-service date, which is the first date the vehicle is either delivered to an ultimate purchaser, leased or used as a company car or demonstrator."
  • 2022 Honda CR-V: "This warranty begins on the date the vehicle is put into use in one of the following ways: - The vehicle is delivered to the first purchaser by an authorized Honda automobile dealer - The vehicle is leased - The vehicle is used as a demonstrator or company vehicle."

Finding Out Your Warranty Information

If you check the fine print to figure out when does your carry warranty start, it will likely say something similar. Your warranty — whether it's three, five, or 10 years and 36,000, 50,000, or 100,000 miles — begins on the day you take delivery from the dealer. This day will be prominently noted in your sales paperwork and possibly any service paperwork you receive from your dealer. If you can't find this, contact the dealership you bought the car from, or visit the manufacturer's website to find the right resources.

Now that you know about the warranty that comes with the car, you can start considering whether an extended warranty or a prepaid maintenance plan is right for you.

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Jordan Golson
Jordan Golson is a transportation reporter covering cars, trains, planes, future cities, mobility and more — basically, if it moves and doesn’t go to space, he's on it. He is especially interested in the intersection of transportation and technology, and that means he goes deep into electric cars, autonomous vehicle tech, sensors, safety, connectivity, and similar topics.