„New or used?” is the most basic dilemma of any car buyer. Is there an alternative to the two ways, though?
Buying from a dealer; on manufacturer warranty and second-hand cars
As everyone knows, a brand new car is safer in use; plenty of time will pass before the warranty period ends. This comes at a high price, though. You may just as well consider buying a second-hand car but their lower cost results, among other things, from considerable difference in safety of use. In most cases, after you have paid for the car, any repair costs are to be covered by yourself, not the dealer, though in rare cases you may be offered a limited dealer’s warranty for a given mileage and time. In practical terms, if this type of cover is offered at all, you can almost expect the car to break down soon after you drive it home from the dealer’s; there is a reason behind such options. Transactions involving a dealer are still far safer than buying from another individual, though; in the latter you have no chance to get any warranty at all.
It is the car manufacturers who have found a niche in the whole car sales system. Not only do they sell brand new cars, they also focus on the second-hand ones… How is that possible?
Second-hand vehicle warranty programs
Car dealers offer second-hand vehicles with the manufacturer’s warranty. When sold, these are usually older than a couple of years and their mileage is less than what the manufacturer accepts as the maximum. For example:
Ford – Gold group – car up to 5 years old, max. 125,000 km mileage
Ford – Silver group – car up to 8 years old, max. 150,000 km mileage
Renault – option 1 – car up to 2 years old, max. 40,000 km mileage
Renault – option 2 – car up to 4 years old, max. 80,000 km mileage
Peugeot – Premium – car up to 5 years old, max. 100,000 km mileage
Peugeot – Comfort – car up to 8 years old, max. 150,000 km mileage
Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Lancia – car up to 6 years old, max 130,000 km mileage
Cars accompanied by such warranty have usually obtained a certificate issued by DEKRA, based on detailed control of many features of the vehicle. The company deals with price assessment for car dealers or Car Fleet Management companies. Of course, the number of features (or points) examined in the vehicle depends on their manufacturer:
Peugeot – Premium – 150 points
Peugeot – Comfort – 100 points
Renault – 100 points
Opel – 100 points
When buying a second-hand car from the dealer’s, you are offered a limited time warranty, e.g.:
Renault – option 1 – 24 months
Renault – option 2 – 12 months
Peugeot – Premium – 12 months
Peugeot – Comfort – 8 months
The comparison of even the most basic parameters of a second-hand car warranty offer demonstrates that the offers differ between manufacturers. Some will apply it regardless of the mileage, some will set a maximum allowed (Fords allow the maximum age of 8 years or 150,000 km of mileage). The manufacturers also list the parts covered; Renault will not offer warranty for air conditioning, body, window heating, fuel inlet plug and alarm system. Every manufacturer will also give you different conditions of roadside assistance; they differ in time and territory covered.
What are the pros and cons of buying a second-hand car with manufacturer warranty?
Most importantly, when buying a second-hand car from a dealer, you will feel safer. These vehicles usually have well documented mileage and servicing history and you know they have been professionally checked by the price assessors. This is of great importance for those who don’t know much about cars and have nobody else to ask for professional help when buying; in transactions with individual sellers, they are a perfect aim of any kind of fraud. With dealers they are just safer. This does not mean lack of any risk whatsoever, though; if you’re buying a valuable item, it is always best to limit your trust to the seller.
There is another pro to buying a second-hand car with manufacturer warranty: they offer attractive payment options, such as a car loan, lease, or even price reduction if you leave your old car at the dealer’s. You may also find it much easier to repair the car if faults are found; the manufacturers are quite eager to guarantee that repairs, so long as they are carried out in ASC, are professional and effortless. The whole option does have its faults, though, the most important one being the price. In order to enjoy a second-hand car with manufacturer warranty, you need to pay the price which includes the cost of warranty and detailed car condition assessment. It is important to take enough time to think the matter through. If you have some knowledge of cars and the ways to safely buy one, you may decide it pays to buy from an individual seller, not a dealer.
Luckily, the offer of professional car sellers does tend to get better, too. You can often opt for additional warranty with a cover similar to that offered by the manufacturer. Sometimes you will be given access to the opinions of the cost assessors, especially if the seller has plenty of cars to offer (try and imagine the company owner checking every single car in person; they must have a detailed database available where third-party companies list detailed car characteristics).
The best conclusion you can draw from the above is that every transaction is different. If you want a second-hand car with manufacturer warranty, make sure you examine the warranty conditions in detail as it may turn out the scope of faults it covers is far smaller than the price of this option would suggest.