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Ask The Car Coach: Should I buy an extended warranty on a use car?

Written By | Jan 22, 2022
The Car Coach, Extended Warranty

An extended car warranty may help cover the cost of certain repairs to your vehicle when the manufacturer’s warranty expires, but they’re not for everyone. While it may sound like a good idea, in theory, extended warranties often come with a high price tag and don’t necessarily cover everything that could go wrong. Instead of purchasing an extended warranty, it may make more sense to set aside the money you’d spend on it — and use the funds instead for needed repairs.

If an extended warranty is something that you want then you need to watch the rest of this video.

Here are some of your most common questions on extended warranties.

How long does a car warranty last?

A car manufacturer’s warranty (OEM) usually lasts for 36,000 miles or three years. An extended car warranty kicks in after that and lasts for five to 10 years. However, mileage and year terms vary by the provider as do deductibles. Read the small print before you agree to any extended warranty.

How do I check if my car is under warranty?

Several conditions can lead to a voided warranty, so it’s important to do your best to maintain your vehicle so you don’t lose coverage. These conditions depend on the manufacturer and dealer but typically include reckless driving, poor maintenance, car modifications, salvage titles and fluids that aren’t approved. Some companies also have depreciation clauses that can limit the payout from the provider depending on your mileage. Ask your dealer and warranty provider about the conditions for a voided warranty.

Can you get an extended warranty at any time?

You can buy an extended warranty at the time of purchase or later on, though it might make the most sense to purchase this type of coverage just before your manufacturer’s warranty expires. If you’re buying a used car that’s no longer under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may want to buy a warranty at the time of purchase. On used cars, check to see if the balance of the warranty is transferable.

What’s the difference between a car warranty and insurance?

While auto insurance pays for damages due to issues like collisions, natural disasters, or theft, an extended warranty pays for repairs to essential auto parts (e.g., transmission, engine) after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Car insurance is also required in almost every state; extended warranties, on the other hand, provide optional coverage.

What are the different types of car warranties?

Bumper-to-bumper coverage pays for repairs that are not related to wear-and-tear or routine maintenance issues, and powertrain warranties cover repairs to parts that power the vehicle, like the engine and transmission. Stated component coverage provides a list of parts covered — anything not listed is not covered.

Extended auto warranties can come from the manufacturer or from a third party. With a third-party extended warranty, it’s possible you’ll have to pay for repairs then be reimbursed by the company. Make sure you know which kind you’re getting and that you’re clear on its terms.

How can I avoid car warranty scams?

Telephone scammers abound these days, so it’s best to be careful — one trusty rule of thumb is to avoid giving your personal information out to any number you haven’t verified. If you receive a call from an unidentified number and hear a prerecorded message on the other end asking you to press a button, hang up.

Similarly, if you get a call from a number you don’t recognize and the person asks a question like, “Can you hear me?” right off the bat, don’t answer. Instead, hang up; this could be a robocaller trying to confirm your phone line is active for future calls. For more tips, read our article on avoiding car warranty scams.  If you are using a smartphone, block the call.

Bottom Line

It’s up to you to decide whether the peace of mind an extended warranty can provide is worth the price tag. If you do decide to purchase an extended warranty, be sure to do your homework, watch out for auto warranty scams and work with a reputable company.



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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.