Guest Post by Alice Stevens of BestCompany.com

Extended warranties offer financial assistance for car repairs that result from mechanical breakdown. These warranties, or vehicle service contracts, continue the coverage offered by a factory warranty or more limited coverage focused on the car’s powertrain. The car’s powertrain includes the engine and transmission, which are vital to the car’s function.

Extended warranties also often include additional services like 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption reimbursement, and rental car aid.

While these features are an added bonus, the real value of an extended warranty lies in reducing your out-of-pocket costs for expensive car repairs.

But, if your warranty is voided, then there is no coverage.

To avoid voiding your extended warranty, take the following steps:

  • Understand the contract terms
  • Buy cars with clean titles
  • Pay attention to natural disasters
  • Keep up with regular maintenance
  • Be careful with vehicle modification
  • Drive your car well

Understand the Contract Terms

It’s always good practice to read and fully understand any contract before you sign it. Understanding the terms of your extended vehicle service contract will ensure that you know what will void the contract and what your responsibilities are.

While some specific terms may vary depending on the service agreement and the company, there are some common ways that warranties can be voided.

Some things that void a warranty are out of your control: the car’s title and damage resulting from natural disasters or other accidents.

Buy Cars with Clean Titles

Cars can come with several different kinds of titles. These include clean titles and salvage titles.

Clean titles mean that the car hasn’t had any severe damage.

Salvage titles mean that the car has had significant damage and was written off by the insurance company. Salvage titles are also sometimes referred to as branded titles. Before purchasing a salvage title, have a mechanic take a look to ensure that the car was repaired well.

If the car has a salvage title, then it cannot be covered under a warranty.

Be selective of the kind of title a car has, especially if you’re buying a used car. Avoiding salvage titles will help you qualify for an extended warranty.

Once you have a car and a warranty, it’s important to drive defensively to avoid accidents. Some accidents result in title changes, so avoiding accidents will help you keep your warranty.

Pay Attention to Natural Disasters

Flooding, tornadoes, fires, hail storms, etc. destroy homes and communities. Any damage resulting from these events is not covered by a warranty.

While you do not have any control over the weather, you can park your car in a garage. This helps prevent potential damage from storms.

When severe weather events occur, you can also pay attention to how the weather is affecting your area. While not all natural disasters can be planned for, some can be — like hurricanes. If you pay attention to the weather and the news, you can make choices that will help keep you, your family, and your car safe.

Keep up With Regular Maintenance

Ensuring that you car has regular oil changes and inspections will keep your warranty in effect. Oil is vital to the engine’s function. Failing to change your oil regularly can negatively affect your engine.

During oil changes, mechanics also check that the rest of your fluids are full and that your tire pressure is good. These additional checks keep you informed about your car and keep it in good condition.

Keep your receipts from every maintenance visit. These will be invaluable if you make a claim and there’s a dispute.

Be Careful with Vehicle Modifications

While aftermarket installations do not necessarily void your warranty, under certain circumstances they can.

If a manufacturer aftermarket-installed part is the cause of a breakdown, your warranty may not cover it. Some vehicle modifications can also raise questions about whether you are using your vehicle properly.

Manipulating the odometer is illegal and also voids the warranty.

Warranty lengths are often determined based on mileage and number of years. It’s usually whichever limitation is reached first. If the odometer is inaccurate, then the warranty company cannot determine the warranty length and coverage a car qualifies for.

Drive Your Car Well

Be a safe driver and use your car for its intended purpose. Driving safely will help you avoid accidents and keep your warranty in effect. Street racing, reckless driving, and towing (if your car isn’t meant to tow), will void your warranty.

When you purchase an extended warranty, be sure that you understand what your responsibilities are. Drive safely and take your car in for regular maintenance services. Taking good care of your car will keep your extended warranty intact. It will also keep your car functioning properly and make it last longer.