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So, let’s talk about exotic car warranties…
If you’re planning to buy or lease a several-thousand-dollar supercar, you want to do your best to keep it in one piece during your tenure.
Modern supercars are actually very reliable and exhibit some of the finest build quality seen in the automotive world. Well…they might not make it to 200,000 miles like your Corolla did, but they’re lightyears ahead of rolling wrecks that supercars used to be some 20 – 30 years ago.
Even if you drive your supercar daily, it can run for years without malfunction. However, if you actually drive your supercar up to the speeds and loads it was engineered for, you’ll find reliability very subjective.
If you’re serious about performance, you’re keeping the engine close to its redline, the brakes hot and pulling Gs in every corner. Supercars are designed to sustain such loads for extended periods of times, but not indefinitely. Basic physics mandates for something, somewhere will break.
Put simply, if you track your supercar, the question is not whether it’s going to break, but when, and how bad the damage will be.
Brand new supercars come with fairly comprehensive warranties, which will cover any factory defects and workmanship errors. Manufacturers will keep your exotic vehicle in a perfect working order for at least a few years.
After that, most owners run into a conundrum:
- Do you buy an extended warranty? These cost several thousand pounds per year and come with a mountain of exclusions and special conditions. Usually, the engine, transmission and the majority of critical components are covered, but more often than not, the warranty covers parts that don’t actually break. Thus, you’re left paying for the most common repairs anyway.
- Do you put some money aside and hope you’re not going to blow the engine or another expensive component? This is not chump change we’re talking about. How about spending $3,000 on a battery, $35,000 on a steering rack and $100,000 or more to replace an entire engine? It doesn’t happen every day, but what’s that chance of it happening to you? Well, it’s not zero
Yes, warranties can be a real dilemma, especially if you’re paying for them. In this article, we’ll talk in detail about exotic car warranties.
How do they work? What to expect? And, will you get your money’s worth?
Let’s start by looking at the warranties of the most popular supercar brands.
Ferrari Factory Warranty
Ferrari is actually one of the more reliable supercars on the market. Maranello engineers their cars really well, even if they are sometimes extraordinarily complicated and difficult to service and maintain.
Still, every new Ferrari comes with a fairly comprehensive bumper to bumper warranty. It lasts for 3 years with unlimited miles and is transferable to subsequent owners.
The factory warranty covers all major components of your Ferrari:
- Engine, transmission and drivetrain components (shafts, CV joints, gears, wheel bearings, hubs, etc)
- Brake and steering systems, air conditioning, active aero
- Electrical system, computer, wiring, sensors
- Exterior and interior parts with factory defect
The coverage also includes both genuine Ferrari parts and labor cost, though work must be carried out at an official Ferrari dealership by certified, factory-trained mechanics.
Every Ferrari purchase also comes with a free maintenance program for 7 years. This program was introduced in 2011, making Ferrari the first and only manufacturer to offer such a service within the price of it’s new vehicles.
Then, there is the Roadside Assistance Program. It comes with a convenient app that streamlines the process and sends an SOS to a road rescue company that works 24 hours of the day. You can get help with a dead battery, flat tire, fuel, lock out and other problems, or have your broken Ferrari towed to the nearest dealership or service center.
Ferrari extended warranty
After the initial 3-year warranty, Ferrari provides options for extending the coverage on your supercar. The Power15 Extended Warranty provides up to 12 years of extended coverage for your vehicle.
It covers the engine, gearbox, transfer case / PTU (on AWD models), as well as some suspension, steering and electrical components. Understandably, wear items like the clutch, brakes, tires and a dozen other components aren’t covered.
The Ferrari extended warranty costs $4,500 per year of V8-powered cars like the California, Portofino, 458, 488 and F8 Tributo. V12 Ferraris, like the GTC4Lusso, 812 and F12 cost $5,760 per year for the same coverage.
Keep in mind that prices vary from case to case, so you may be quoted a different figure.
Definitely acknowledge that the factory-issued new car warranty and the extended warranty are two very different services. Expect to spend some money on repairs and replacements, even though your Ferrari is under warranty.
Ferrari CPO Program
If you’re looking to buy a used Ferrari, you can get a factory-certified pre-owned one with a warranty.
The vehicle is first taken through a 101-point pre-purchase inspection by Ferrari-certified mechanics. Any problematic components are repaired or replaced and the vehicle comes out 100% functional to the original specifications.
The Ferrari CPO warranty covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper for 2 years and unlimited miles. It has coverage for the engine and powertrain, AC, steering, electrical system, and all major components required for safely operating the vehicle.
Roadside assistance is also available for 1 year after the CPO warranty takes effect.
A Ferrari CPO warranty cost around $4,500 per year – similar to the extended warranty. However, prices will differ for every case, so you may get a cheaper or more expensive quote.
Lamborghini Factory Warranty
Modern Lamborghinis are also very reliable cars – at least for supercar standards. Being under the wing of Audi, itself a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, Lamborghini benefits from the research, technology and resources of the world’s largest automaker. That certainly shows in both the quality and performance of Lamborghini cars.
New Lambos come with a similar bumper to bumper warranty, lasting for 3 years and unlimited mileage. It covers an impressive list of items – almost everything in your new Lamborghini.
- Complete powertrain – engine, transmission, transfer case, drive axles, wheel hubs, linkages and other drivetrain components.
- Electrical system and all electronic features and components
- All major systems – brakes, steering, suspension, AC and others
- Interior and exterior item
Additionally, Lamborghini adds a 12-year, unlimited miles, anti-perforation coverage. This covers your supercar against corrosion and rust, which is fantastic as you cannot even imagine how expensive body work and chassis restoration is on these high-end vehicles.
Lamborghini also adds some limited maintenance as part of the warranty. This includes oil filter changes, air filter changes, brake fluid changes and other minor tasks. However, these services are nowhere near as comprehensive as Ferrari’s maintenance program and they are not available for all vehicles.
Maintenance and service contracts are available from the factory for 3 and 5 years, but you pay those separately from everything else. That’s definitely something to keep in mind as annual service costs can reach $5,000 per year on an Aventador.
Standard is the 24-hour roadside assistance. If you’re stuck on the side of the road, Lamborghini will send a tow-truck your way any time of the day to help you reach the nearest authorized service center.
Lamborghini extended warranty
The factory Lamborghini warranty is transferable to subsequent owners and can be extended to 4 or 5 years.
The Lamborghini extended warranty can only be purchased while the original factory-issued warranty is still in effect. You can do it at the time of purchase or until the warranty expires, but not afterwards.
The extended warranty doesn’t have a deductible, however, offers limited coverage and exclusions for all wear items like a clutch, brakes, weather stripping, various bracketry, etc.
Lamborghini CPO program
In 2019, Lamborghini also joined the used car market with its “Selezione Lamborghini” program for certified pre-owned vehicles.
Every car is hand-picked by Lamborghini-certified technicians and taken through 150-point inspection to verify its exact condition. All necessary repairs and maintenance is performed to restore the vehicle to a factory-spec condition.
CPO Lamborghinis also come with a 1-year warranty, which can be extended up to 2 years.
The CPO warranty is comprehensive and covers almost exactly the same components are the original Lamborghini factory warranty, minus all wear items.
Each warranty is specific for each vehicle sold, therefore prices will vary. However, expect to pay at least $4,000 – $5,000 per year to keep the warranty going.
Keep in mind, the former Lamborghini CPO program was terminated in 2019 and was to be replaced with a newly structured CPO program in Q1 2020. However, it was put on hold in order to focus on COVID efforts and adapt the company for the new challenges.
It’s unclear when the new CPO program will be announced, and many Lamborghini customers are in the dark about their warranty situation. Some dealerships offer a CPO / extended warranty product, while others refer to 3rd parties for such services.
McLaren cars are phenomenal vehicles. They’re breathtaking – both in terms of looks and performance. However, they have become notoriously horrific to own out of warranty.
McLaren mostly ironed out the major issues by the time the 720S was brought to market, but older models like the MP4-12C certainly had some flaws. But that’s just it, in the supercar world, “some flaws” equal tens of thousands of dollars on repairs if you don’t have a warranty.
Unfortunately for McLaren, they have built some reputation for their cars breaking more than they should. Even if that’s no longer the truth, many people are down right afraid to own one without a comprehensive warranty.
If you’re buying new or leasing, you shouldn’t worry though. Every McLaren comes with a 3-year, unlimited miles warranty. This bumper to bumper warranty coverage is almost exhaustive.
McLaren will rectify any problems with the following components:
- Engine, transmission, drivetrain, turbocharger
- Brakes and suspension
- Electrical wiring and high-tech electronics (ECU, sensors, actuators, etc)
- Interior and exterior parts
McLaren extended warranty
In light of its reputation, McLaren offers an extended car warranty of up to 12 years or 75,000 miles, matching Ferrari – at least on the warranty length. Your car must be 10-years old or newer in order to qualify and you can only renew the warranty at 12 or 24-month intervals.
The McLaren extended warranty covers the powertrain, electrical system and all major components for safely operating the vehicle. Of course, it doesn’t cover any wear items, exterior and interior damage.
A McLaren extended warranty costs on average $4,500 per year. Different dealerships can markup the price individually, so the prices range between $3,500 to $7,000.
McLaren CPO warranty
The McLaren Qualified coverage (their name for CPO) is available on pre-owned vehicles that are at least 1 year old. It can be appended after the initial 3-year factory warranty expires and is fairly comprehensive.
Cars are taken through a rigorous inspection process to verify their accurate condition and get all their maintenance done before being certified. The CPO warranty will cover the powertrain, electronics and all major systems from bumper to bumper.
The drawback is it only lasts for 1 year, up to 12,000 miles with the option to extend for another year. After that, you can only apply for the McLaren extended warranty.
All McLaren warranties come with 24-hour road assistance, though some caps on towing costs apply.
Other Exotic Car Warranties
So, by now you should be able to identify clear trends in exotic car warranty market.
Most supercar manufacturers offer their vehicles with at least 3 years of unlimited miles warranty. This is true for Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Bentley, Aston Martin.
Maserati offers a 4-year warranty, limited to 50,000 miles.
Porsche also offers a 4-year / 50,000 mile warranty, but throws in an extra 12 years of corrosion and rust protection. In any case, you shouldn’t really worry about your 911, as these are regarded as the most reliable exotic cars EVER.
Rolls Royce, being the ultimate luxury vehicles, have a 4-year warranty, service, maintenance, repair and road-side assistance all added in the price of each vehicle.
Hypercars are a different game. Bugatti offers a tremendous 15-year warranty, but interestingly, Koenigsegg only has a 3-year warranty.
If you’re buying new or leasing and don’t see yourself keeping the car long term, you don’t have much to worry about in terms of warranty.
The standard new car factory warranties on exotics are really solid. Manufacturers put their reputation on the line, guaranteeing their products are reliable and built to the highest degree of quality, so they will go to some lengths in order to rectify problems on their brand new cars.
What you need to know about warranties
Extended manufacturer warranties and 3rd party warranties come with an enormous amount of IFs and BUTs. They are the farthest thing from comprehensive. These policies feature a number of exclusion and conditions on how and when the warranty apply to your supercar.
Here’s the thing. Every warranty product, except the original manufacturer-issued new car warranty, is designed to make money for the company issuing it. Whether that’s the manufacturer, or another company, they are interested in collecting the warranty premium, but not paying out for repairs.
You need to be extremely careful when purchasing an extended or 3rd party warranty, because there’s more than one way they can catch you off guard.
A warranty is after all a financial service carried out through a legal agreement. The exact structure and wording of the document will define the legal responsibilities of both parties.
The biggest and most common mistake car owners do is not reading the warranty document in its entirety with all the addendums, appendixes and fine print. The warranty company is only bound to the text in the document, so you have to be absolutely sure this text fully describes the service as advertised.
In light of that, there are two types of warranty structures you’ll encounter.
Exclusionary warranty contract
This warranty comes with a list of parts not covered by the warranty. Everything on the list is your responsibility to repair and replace. Everything else is not your problem – the warranty company will pay for its repair and replacement cost if needed.
This is the type of warranty you want to get! Unfortunately, it’s less common, because it works in favor of the consumer.
Inclusionary warranty contract
A warranty can be structured oppositely – containing a list of specific parts which are covered. Unless the broken part specifically matches the name listed in the warranty, it’s your responsibility to repair and replace.
This is where they get you!
For example, in Britain they call a rear-wheel-drive driveshaft a propeller shaft (prop shaft), because this type of mechanism was predominantly used in ship building. It’s the exact same part, just uses a different naming convention.
So, imagine taking your Aston, Bentley or Rolls in for repair, and the factory part is called a “propeller shaft”, but your warranty only lists a “drive shaft” Unfortunately for you, that’s usually enough to legally void the claim, and some companies will.
At first glance, a warranty may seem to cover a system like the suspension, but looking into the fine print, you may find it only covers the parts that don’t actually break. The parts that do break, like tie-rod ends and ball joints are often not covered and you’ll have to pay them out of your own pocket.
With inclusionary warranties, you can’t know what is not covered, until it breaks and the warranty provider tells you they’re not paying. Labor to replace a non-covered part is also not paid for by the warranty company.
So, in the end, you may be left paying for the majority of repairs, while still spending several thousand dollars per year for an extended warranty.
The thing about every car warranty is it doesn’t cover any item that wears over time. There’s a large list of things that wear down in every vehicle – supercar or not.
We’re talking about:
- Tires, wheels (also wheel balancing and alignment)
- Suspension components
- Brake pads and rotors
- Clutch parts
- Fluids, filters (and often hoses and lines) on every system – oil, fuel, coolant, air, brakes, steering
- Engine belts, spark plugs and spark plug wires
- Seals, o-rings, miscellaneous rubber and plastic parts, bracketry
- Most of the body work and interior, glass.
All of these are replaced at the expense of the owner. The cost of maintenance on regular cars is usually fine, but supercars use very specific parts, which require precise manufacturing methods, expensive alloys and rigorous quality control. These, combined with low-volume production, raise the price of parts significantly.
In order to keep your warranty valid, you must only use genuine factory parts, sold through an official brand channel. Even if these parts are manufactured by 3rd party suppliers like Bosch, and used on a variety of vehicles, you’re only allowed to source your parts from the car factory.
Many times, if the part number matches, you can swap these parts and the cars will never know and run absolutely fine. However, if you take your supercar in for warranty repairs and they find out you’ve installed a “different” part, the company will most likely void your warranty.
Service and maintenance
The same is valid for the mechanics actually performing the repairs.
You must only visit official dealerships and have the work completed by factory-trained technicians. This of course is very expensive, but the second any mechanic without the proper credentials touches your supercar, the warranty will become void.
The service and maintenance schedule for your vehicle should match all factory recommendations. Warranty companies zealously check your service documentation looking for an excuse to deny your claim. If you miss an oil change or delay a belt replacement, you run the risk of having your warranty voided.
Warranties usually only cover parts that have actually failed. Parts that are exhibiting extreme wear, however, are not covered until they actually physically break.
It makes absolute sense to replace these parts as soon as you detect а problem – usually when the vehicle is in for a service or other repairs. Any respectable mechanic will insist on doing preventative maintenance on known weak points while certain parts and assemblies are out of the vehicle.
In any case, you don’t want to take your car into the shop more than you need. We’ll even ignore the inconvenience here. These are Ferraris and Lamborghinis we’re talking about, not Toyotas – they are precise and sensitive machines.
Repeated and unnecessary disassembly and reassembly of components and systems adds some human error element and risk of accelerated wear, especially if you have different mechanics work on the car each time.
That’s another problem for you, because the manufacturer or warranty company will usually not cover any preventative maintenance. But you really want these repairs done, so you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket.
Rules and conditions
Another thing to keep in mind is that warranties – be it manufacturer-issued or 3rd party – are subjected to a wide array of rules and conditions.
When we talk about supercars, the usual limitation is track days. McLaren and other manufacturers will void your warranty immediately if you take your 700-horsepower road-legal race car to the track, unless it’s a factory-organized event.
Road accidents and aftermarket modifications will automatically void every warranty out there.
Every warranty policy will list specific terms and conditions, and if you’re looking out for your best interest, you’ll read them several times before signing.
Automotive warranties are anything but simple and straightforward. The more expensive your supercar, the more convoluted and hard to grasp the contract will be.
We don’t mean to paint a bad picture on extended warranties or 3rd party warranty providers! While there certainly are more than a dozen scam companies out there trying to reel you in, there’s just as many if not more genuine companies, which are doing good business.
It’s up to you, the consumer, to make educated and informed decisions on how to spend your money.
In every case, the math says the risk of having to pay for your own repairs is smaller than the money you’re paying on the warranty every year. Otherwise, warranty companies wouldn’t be making any money…
Go on the official forums for Ferrari, McLaren or your favorite supercar and you’ll see the predominant advice is to set money aside every year and self-insure. Still, consider that most of these people are seasoned supercar owners with sufficient funds to cover catastrophic failure without disturbing their other finances.
Can you swallow a $25,000 gearbox replacement? Is your peace of mind worth $5,000 per year?
If you’ve got a NO and a YES on the above, an extended warranty might be a good choice for your supercar.