- Car Care & Maintenance
Vehicle Warranties (Part 2 Of 3)
This is the second part of my vehicle warranty article.
First and foremost, not all warranties are created equal and in this article I want to focus on getting a decent warranty keeping in mind that you do get what you pay for and also that warranty companies will do their best not to pay for a major repair should a big repair such as a transmission or engine problem arise. They are in the business of making and saving money just like every other business out there and the reps and inspectors will do everything in their power to make sure the deck is always stacked in their employers favor. This you must understand and accept.
If you have a major malfunction of your vehicle you can bet the path to putting your vehicle back on the road will not be as smooth as you imagined or as quick if you pay for it out of pocket. That's because if you have a major problem most likely an inspector will be sent out and you're at the mercy of the warranty company as to when the inspector will come out. He/she will come when time allows. If that's a couple of weeks then it's a couple of weeks. Never mind you may not have any other way to work or getting your kids to school. It can be extremely stressful especially if you have to contact the warranty company and then when they finally approve the repair(if they approve the repair) you may have to wait for a few more days until the mechanic gets done with other people's vehicles again keeping in mind that your vehicle will be put behind other cars already promised to customers. Then should there be some type of holdup on payment the mechanic can then demand payment from you and then tell you to get reimbursement from the warranty company.
This exact thing happened to me. My car needed a valve replacement which my warranty company approved. An inspector was sent out and approved a partial valve replacement only. I opted against paying the extra $700(which I didn't have) out of pocket for a full valve job. Then when the repairs were done the warranty company refused to pay for over a month and finally my mechanic said I would have to pay if they didn't. It was a very stressful time. I had to make numerous phone calls to the warranty company finally threatening them with court and making no more payments before they would pay my mechanic.
I can't stress enough how wise it is to have a second car. My stress would have been quadrupled had I not had a second car to fall back on. And quite honestly, any car can break down, even a new one although the chances are much less.
I'm definitely not buying another warranty. Overall, you practically have to beg them to pay for any covered repairs. My mechanic had to beg for payment from the warranty company after the valve job. It took about a month of begging and it turned out the mechanic had to beg for payment from four other warranty companies at the same time as mine.
That is a ripoff. All in all I lost roughly $1500 on both warranties. I can't in good conscience recommend an extended warranty. There was a time when I would have but not now. Of course, it all depends on the vehicle. Some vehicles are more problematic than others.
The one thing about warranties that many people may not know is the fact they gather all the information and statistics about whatever make and model you drive and they gear their warranties according to what goes wrong and what doesn't. For instance, you have a car that power window motors are rarely an issue you will be able to get a warranty that covers these things along with a myriad of other things that aren't an issue in your make/model and this makes you think you're getting more for your money since there's alot of stuff they cover. Only, they don't cover the parts that actually are problems for your vehicle make. They also look at your VIN. There's alot of information associated with your VIN that doesn't show up on carfax reports. Although, as far as I can see it is limited to dealers only so even if the dealer doesn't report it to carfax it is still reported to the car manufacturer. I didn't get any information regarding the work performed by my mechanic although it could still be reported to the car manufacturer.
But since I've taken my car to the dealer regularly and when I'm out of town that's where I take it, it offers a pretty good overview of what's being done to my vehicle. Bottom line, the warranty companies gather as much information as they can from many sources regarding every vehicle make out there and then gear a warranty towards the types of problems vehicles exhibit.
A good example: Recently, one of my warranties ran out and I was offered another one(very expensive, over $3000 for a 2006 Taurus, the rep said because my car has such low miles, 48,000, that it still qualified for new car coverage and it was bumper to bumper but since she couldn't provide me with something in writing showing each and every thing covered, I declined. Every warranty has some exceptions and being my car is six years old I'm not going to take what she said at face value and neither should you) by the same company that had the original warranty and I could also get warranties on my other vehicles as well. Unfortunately, not all my vehicles could get a warranty with the same company but could get coverage even my 2001 Ford Taurus with 226,000 miles for another 100,000 miles but for powertrain only. Being that I've already had a pretty bad experience with the other warranty company I've no desire to get a warranty that could refuse a repair after I've paid them over $2000. Or even $3000.
Whether you decide on a warranty or not is really up to you. Some cars need them more than others. Although most cars today are more reliable than they were a few years ago. Also, most people can no longer work on them themselves unless they take a mechanics course due to the many parts, sensors and the computers in them today.