It is your personal choice to buy a vehicle extended warranty. Basically this is an insurance or at least that is how it is categorized in California and Oregon. In other states it is considered a service contract for your vehicle. No matter where you live this extended coverage makes a third party responsible for repairs to your vehicle on covered parts for the time specified in the contract.
Your other option is to take on all the risks yourself. If something goes wrong and your vehicle needs to be repaired then you will be the one responsible for paying the repair costs, if it happens after your manufacturer’s warranty has expired. Knowing if an extended warranty is the right choice is not always an easy thing to figure out.
The following are things that you should consider when deciding if you should purchase an extended warranty:
- Your original manufacturer’s warranty
- The age of your vehicle and how many miles it has on it
- The past performance of your vehicle
- Your annual mileage
- If you plan to keep your vehicle for some time or if you will be getting a new vehicle in the near future
- How you handle risk
- Your finances and how you could handle unexpected repair expenses
You want to understand your original manufacturer’s warranty cover before you even consider an extended warranty. All new vehicles manufacturer’s warranties offer you the following standard coverage:
- The limited basic warranty covers you for 36 months or 36,000 miles. This will cover all parts excluding normal wear and routine maintenance.
- A limited powertrain warranty is for 60 months or 60,000 miles. It generally covers the engine, transmission and components of the front-wheel and rear-wheel drives.
- Additional warranties can include things like coverage for rust, tires, emissions and batteries. These vary for each manufacturer.
It is also important to consider how much time or mileage is left on your manufacturer’s warranty. This can help you determine if you even have a need for an extended warranty. Once you reach the specified time or mileage on your warranty it expires and this is something to keep in mind. Ideally you want o buy your extended coverage before your manufacturer’s warranty expires. It will cost you less if you buy early. Once the manufacturer’s warranty expires you could be limited in your options for an extended warranty.
With a new vehicle, you may have a bit more time to decide. The standard warranty from a manufacturer will give you 3 years 36,000 miles so you probably have some time before it expires. You can take time to consider your options and see what is right for you. Be aware, though, that the dealer will try to push an extended warranty on you right away.
It is probably the best thing for you to wait. You will get a better deal by waiting and have more options if you wait and buy through a third party provider instead of the dealer. You have the entire time that your manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect to make your choice and buy. Just remember that you will have trouble getting an extended warranty if you let the manufacturer’s warranty expire, due to age and wear on the vehicle. The cost of a vehicle extended warranty will go up as your vehicle gets older and the mileage goes up.
With a used vehicle you really need to consider the age, mileage and if the manufacturer’s warranty is still valid.
If you buy a used car that is quickly approaching the expiration of the manufacturer’s warranty then it is smart to seriously consider an extended warranty. It is worth thinking about even if there is still a couple of years or several thousand miles left on the original warranty. You are not the original owner, so you are already taking a risk, let an extended warranty assume the risk of repairs.
With a used car you have 21 days after the purchase date to buy extended coverage if the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.
The dealer may tell you that you have to purchase this extended protection from them, but that is not true. You can buy from a third-party provider if you desire. Check into the value and reputation of third-party providers.
With the internet, you can easily find out about any third-party provider. Just find people who have purchased extended coverage through the third-party providers you are considering. People will tell you exactly what they think. Check out the automobile community at Edmunds.com.
Use the resources at Edmunds.com before making a final decision. You should research your specific model to find common problems. Some vehicles have common issues and knowing the problems that will likely happen with your vehicle can be a plus, so you know that extended protection is a good idea to cover problems that are likely to happen.
Your standard warranty from a manufacturer offers about 12,000 miles a year. If you know that you drive more than that then an extended warranty is probably a good choice. You are given 3 years or 36,000 miles so your warranty expires with whatever comes first. If you are driving more than 12,000 miles a year then you won’t have 3 years on your warranty. If you drive less than 12,000 miles a year then you will have 3 years, but no more than 3 years on your warranty.
If you know that you will likely be keeping your vehicle past the manufacturer’s warranty then consider getting an extended warranty. However, if you know you will likely be selling your vehicle before the manufacturer’s warranty expires then extended coverage makes no sense. Think about your plans for your vehicle before making a decision.
Some people do not mind risk. They don’t think much about the what-ifs. They don’t worry about what will happen if they need car repairs. Then there are some people that like to be prepared for anything and like to know they have a plan in place should something happen. With an extended warranty you get a peace of mind that you have protection if something were to happen.