If you’re in the market for a car and you’ve been put off by the price tag of a new vehicle, you’ll probably consider a pre-owned automobile. However, the last thing you want with your used car is to spend a fortune to fix aging parts on their last legs. Naturally, you’ll look for ways to keep repair expenses minimal when components eventually fail. To this end, you might ask yourself, “Should I buy an extended warranty on my used car?” Keep reading for the scoop on the real value of an extended warranty.
What Is an Extended Warranty?
An extended warranty, also known as a used car warranty, is a contract that binds its provider to cover repairs or replacements of certain car parts, usually electrical or mechanical. It goes into effect once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. That being said, this warranty only covers failed or malfunctioning parts, not accident-related damage.
An extended warranty can cost between $1,000 and $5,000, sometimes even more. It’s usually a one-time payment. Also, although people often purchase this warranty when they buy cars from the dealership, you can add it to your vehicle anytime.
Types of Extended Warranties
Not all extended warranties are created equal. You may find one more suitable than others, depending on your vehicle and financial situation. The variations in these contracts demand you research and compare the extended warranties out there to determine which plan and provider are the best for you.
Extended warranties are categorized into inclusionary and exclusionary to reflect their manner of coverage. An inclusionary warranty lists all the parts the provider will pay to repair or replace, while an exclusionary warranty itemizes all the parts the provider won’t cover.
Extended warranties can also vary based on mileage, length of time, and form and extent of coverage. A few plans require you to pay a deductible on repairs, while others cover every cent of expenses. Some will have you pay the shop and then reimburse you, while others will take care of the payment right away. There are also extended warranties that only allow you to get your car serviced at specific shops or dealers, while many others cover repairs or replacements at any service center.
Having said all that, should you add an extended warranty to your used car? The answer depends on your situation. Under certain conditions, an extended warranty for a used vehicle may be worth the cost, but some used car owners don’t find it as valuable. In any case, there are a lot of factors you should consider before getting out your credit card and hitting up the dealer for an extended warranty.
Reasons To Consider an Extended Warranty
An extended warranty is a great addition in certain situations, such as:
Your Car Make and Model Is Unreliable
Some particular models have the unenviable reputation of being unreliable. Their parts are less durable than sturdy vehicles’ parts and break down more often than the average car. If you own one of these vehicles with low-quality components, we recommend an extended warranty. It could reduce those out-of-pocket costs for fixing or replacing failed parts. But if you’re unsure of your automobile’s reliability, try to check online reviews and automotive forums for information on that model.
Your Car Has Registered Few Miles
Consider an extended warranty for your used vehicle if it has registered fewer than 80,000 miles. Given a gasoline vehicle lasts about 200,000 miles per lifetime, an extended warranty may be able to cover it for the rest of its life.
Your Car Is Still Under Original Warranty
Your pre-owned vehicle being under the original warranty indicates that it’s relatively new. When you then combine an extended warranty with its original warranty, you can expect coverage long after the original warranty expires. This arrangement is usually cheaper in the long run and gives you peace of mind.
You Can’t Afford Big Repairs
An economic downturn or layoff might affect your finances and leave you with little after spending on essentials like food, clothing, and shelter. That’s where an extended warranty can be helpful. It could help get you back on the road after a vehicular emergency that might otherwise leave you without a car.
Reasons To Avoid an Extended Warranty
You’re Ready To Ditch Your Ride
Sometimes we need a transitory car for commuting until we save up for our dream vehicle. If you’re in this situation and don’t want to keep your used car for long, then an extended warranty probably isn’t worth it.
You’re Financially Prepared for Car Emergencies
If you’ve been able to set aside a safety net or emergency fund for something unexpected like car repairs, then an extended warranty may be more trouble than it’s worth. You’ll probably be able to conveniently pay for emergency repairs.
The Warranty Is Inclusionary
This warranty is best avoided altogether. Your car has many components you likely don’t know about, so a contract that lists only covered parts may not be worth signing.
The Warranty Carries Interest
Some providers offer an extended warranty as a payment plan with an interest rate. This deal only inflates the price and burdens you further financially. Imagine paying interest on the car plus interest on your extended warranty. A more affordable arrangement is to get an extended warranty that you can pay for all at once.
Your State Has Used Car Common Law Coverage
Certain states have laws that mandate the dealer to cover the cost of repairing or replacing failed parts of a newly purchased used car. These statutory provisions usually include an implied warranty of merchantability. This warranty is a contract that stipulates that the seller stands by the integrity of their product and reimburses the cost of repair or replacement when the product fails. However, this warranty does not extend to items from individual sellers, so it won’t cover a used car bought off Craigslist.
Warranties are covenants that bind providers to replace or repair a failed product. Some of these, like the original warranty, are free, while others like the extended warranty cost a fee. On the surface, buying an extended warranty for a used car makes perfect sense. However, conditions have to align for it to be worth the expense. It’s important to do your research to determine whether it makes sense for you and your particular situation.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.