If something happens to your car’s engine or transmission, an extended warranty can pay for the repairs. If your vehicle’s original manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire, you’re probably trying to decide whether it’s worth buying an extended warranty.
You will have the option to purchase a warranty from your vehicle manufacturer or a third party supplier. You’ll also be able to choose from several warranty options to cover the repairs you’re most concerned about.
Although an extended car warranty or a car service contract has a lot to offer, the question of whether you should buy them is difficult to answer. An extended car warranty is not the right choice for all car owners. For example, some warranty plans are very expensive. Or maybe you don’t plan to keep your car for long. In such cases, a warranty is probably not the way to go.
Is an extended car warranty worth it? Before you accept an extended warranty, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
What does an extended car warranty cover?
Extended warranties cover the major components of your vehicle, including the engine, transmission, gaskets and axles. In a way, an extended warranty can act like an insurance policy, as you pay a pre-determined deductible for the necessary repairs to these parts of your vehicle. If your vehicle meets the required maintenance schedule, your repairs will be paid for when you take the vehicle to the specified garage.
Some extended car warranties also include roadside assistance. Roadside assistance includes services like towing your car from the side of the road to an auto shop or bringing you a tank of gas if you’re stuck. Roadside assistance also covers flat tire and flat battery assistance.
An extended warranty is also useful if you need to stop your trip due to car problems. For example, the warranty may cover reimbursement for car rentals or hotel rooms that you have to cancel. If you travel a lot, a warranty with trip interruption cover can be very beneficial.
Please note that extended car warranties do not cover routine maintenance or damage caused by wear and tear. Additionally, you can void your extended car warranty if you don’t take your car in for regular maintenance. If you can’t or don’t want to stick to the schedule, an extended warranty probably isn’t worth it.
When can I get an extended car warranty?
If you are considering an extended car warranty, you need to know if you are eligible to purchase one. In most cases, the manufacturer will offer you an extended warranty once the original factory warranty has expired. At this point, you can purchase your policy from the manufacturer or find a third party that you prefer to buy from.
You can also purchase an extended manufacturer’s warranty on the day you buy a new or used car. The paperwork should clearly state how much the warranty costs and what warranty you are paying for.
Of course, you can purchase extended third-party warranties if you want. These companies have their own conditions when you are eligible to buy a new warranty.
Should I buy an extended car warranty from the car manufacturer?
Buying a car with a manufacturer’s warranty offers some advantages. For example, your repair will be performed by a factory-trained mechanic, and all replacement parts will be from the manufacturer. You can trust that the repair will be done by someone who is familiar with your car.
When you sell your car, you will also have the option to easily transfer the car warranty to the new owner. This could be a great selling point for a private party that needs a reliable vehicle. It may even increase the value of your car a bit.
The downside to this option is that you have to take your car to an authorized dealer for repairs. If you don’t live near a dealership, this can make repairs and maintenance more difficult.
After all, buying an extended warranty from the manufacturer is a good idea in some situations. For example, you may want to consider this option if you have a unique vehicle or if you trust repairs only to a dealership.
Additionally, your local dealership may be better suited than any other local mechanic to fix your particular vehicle, especially if it’s a unique vehicle such as a sports car or hybrid.
Should I buy an extended car warranty from a third party?
A third-party extended warranty also offers several benefits. You can have more options for mechanics because you don’t have to take your car to the dealership for repairs. You can also have a wider list of authorized garages that can take care of your car, so you don’t have to worry if you live far from a dealership.
Keep in mind that even if you purchase a third-party warranty, you may still need to have repairs done by an authorized service provider. In addition, repairs can be completed with spare parts.
You can also transfer your warranty to a third party when you sell your car, but there is a catch. Although you can transfer the warranty to the next car owner, you may have to pay for it. As a result, the warranty transfer may be less beneficial.
When is an extended car warranty worth the cost?
Extended car warranties are a good idea for many drivers, but not everyone will benefit the same. You should ask yourself a few questions before committing to a plan. These questions include:
Is your car unreliable?
An extended warranty is worth your while if your car isn’t very reliable and you can’t necessarily afford major repairs right now. If you buy a used car from a dealer, an extended warranty may be the right choice if you are not sure about the reliability of the car. Also, a warranty may be worth the cost if you know your car is prone to certain types of problems, such as transmission problems.
Will the warranty relieve you of anxiety?
For some drivers, an extended warranty provides peace of mind. If you feel more comfortable on the road with a warranty, it’s worth it. Maybe knowing you have access to free repairs can give you the freedom to take trips you wouldn’t otherwise take, e.g.
Are you willing to pay for a service you can’t use?
Many people buy an extended warranty and never use it. There are no refunds or refunds for not using the extended warranty, so some feel they’ve lost money if they buy without using it.
Do you want to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements?
Keep in mind that you could accidentally void your warranty if you don’t follow through warranty service schedule. You may pay for a warranty only to find out that you are no longer eligible for service because you missed an oil change or a tune-up, neither of which are covered by the warranty. The same is true if you have a reliable mechanic who doesn’t work at your local dealership or authorized repair shop.
How long do you plan to keep your car?
You should also think about how long you plan to keep your car. For example, you may not need an extended warranty if you only plan to keep your car for one or two years. If you want your car to last as long as possible, this extended warranty may come in handy.
Are there different types of warranties?
There are several types of extended car warranties available, and you will have the option to choose the right warranty for your vehicle and personal needs. The warranty you choose will depend on several factors, including the age and value of your vehicle. These are the most common types of extended car warranties:
Bumper to bumper warranty
A bumper to bumper warranty usually the most comprehensive extended warranty. This plan offers coverage for all parts and systems of your vehicle, excluding scheduled maintenance and damage caused by wear and tear. Any mechanical breakdowns due to faulty parts or poor workmanship will be covered. However, this plan often does not cover specific items such as tires or brake pads.
The transmission warranty usually covers everything that makes your car move, including the engine, transmission and some electrical components. Exceptions usually include the battery, clutch, and some drive belts. A transmission warranty is a good idea for many cars because it covers many of the most expensive repairs a car will ever need.
When you buy a powertrain warranty, you get coverage for everything that makes the car move, except the engine. The transmission includes the car’s transmission, drive shaft, axles and wheels, which are key components that can wear out or become damaged over time.
Wrap the warranty
Your extended warranty may be a wraparound warranty that is used in addition to your transmission warranty. It covers the rest of the car. So if you buy both extended car warranties together, you’ll have full coverage. If you have a bumper-to-bumper warranty that expires well before the transmission warranty, you may want to add a few years of coverage with a wraparound warranty.
For a car, rust can be particularly damaging. The anti-corrosion warranty covers damage related to rust and corrosion. Rust is extremely common, and environmental issues can contribute to how quickly components corrode. If you live in an area where this is a common problem, this type of extended warranty may benefit you.
How long does it last?
This is not an easy question to answer without knowing the warranty provider. Each extended warranty is different, but usually extended warranties have a time or mileage limit. For example, some warranties last up to three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Some types of extended warranties, such as transmission warranties, may last longer. You can also buy extended car warranties that last much longer, such as seven years or 100,000 miles. Ultimately, you can buy a longer warranty if you think you’ll be keeping the car for a long time.
What affects the price?
The cost of an extended car warranty varies by policy, and the car you want covered will have a lot to do with the cost of the warranty. Your price will depend on several factors, including:
The type of coverage you purchase depends a lot on the quote. Comprehensive warranties, such as bumper-to-bumper warranties, cost more than plans with more basic coverage, such as corrosion warranties.
Duration of coverage
You can also expect an extended warranty that lasts longer to be more expensive than other plans. A seven-year will cost more than a two-year.
Age and mileage of the car
An older car or a car with high mileage will require a more expensive warranty. These cars are more likely to break down or need repairs.
If you pay a lower deductible, the premium will be higher. You can lower your premium if you want to pay a higher deductible if your car needs repairs.
Should I buy an extended car warranty?
Whether you should purchase an extended car warranty is a personal decision. While many drivers never use the warranty, others are happy to get the extra coverage. If you drive a reliable car and can afford to pay for unexpected repairs out of pocket, an extended car warranty may not be worth the cost to you.
Elizabeth Rivelli is a freelance writer with over three years of experience in the personal finance and insurance industry. She has extensive knowledge of various types of insurance, including auto and property insurance. Her writing has appeared in dozens of online financial publications such as The Balance, Investopedia, Reviews.com, Forbes and Bankrate.