View Full Version : extending car manufacturer warranty - yes? no?

09-09-2010, 05:16 AM
Hello :)

Any drivers out there willing to share their experiences with car warranty extensions?

The original manufacturer warranty on my 3-year-old second-hand car is running out fairly soon, and I'm wondering whether to purchase an extension... I've had the car for 1.5 years, and it was a government fleet car previously. It's at 45,000 km right now (65% of that is my own driving), and I have had no problems with it and have no intention of replacing or selling it. This is Australia so things such as salt and rust damage aren't a factor. I do a bit of driving on dirt/gravel roads but not too much inner-city commuting.

I have been given two quotes:
- $1000 AUD for 2 more years or another 80,000 km (on top of the current 45k, not total)
- $1600 AUD for 3 years or another 100,000 km

There is also a 5 year dealer warranty option ($1600 AUD, covering up to 200,000 km total or another 5 years), but this would require me to always service the car at this specific dealership, and I don't know if I'm going to live in this city/state for that long.

I'm told the warranty extension would be exactly the same as the current new car manufacturer warranty.

I can manage the $1000, but probably not $1600. But the big question is if it is worth it. So far, a few things have been fixed under warranty:

1st service - no clue as this was prior to my ownership (but could find out)
2nd service - radiator was replaced (manufacturer recall); the engine was making rumbling noise when starting, especially uphill, with some belt loose, and that was fixed
3rd service - complete fuel centre replacement (the issue is that fuel gauge shows empty when the tank is full, it's ok after driving 30-50 km and this was already present when I got the car and during the 2nd service 8 months later but they ignored my request to look at it).

The fuel system replacement is apparently quite expensive, so I'm really glad it's covered by warranty.

I feel fairly green in these matters. I grew up in a no-car family and my own driving experience only spans about 5-6 years and only the second half of that includes regular, frequent driving. I've had only one breakdown, when the battery died in my previous car. No mechanical breakdowns, no flat tyres etc. My old car was a 20 year old banger, but it belonged to someone else and that person took care of servicing. That person told me zilch about car maintenance when I was buying mine, so I've had a few surprises already.

Thanks in advance for the input. :)

Erica Lee
09-09-2010, 05:23 AM
It's hard to say.

I don't have a ton of experience, but in my limited experience, my car was serviced more frequently in years 1-3 of it's life than years 4 and 5. In the first few years, there were a few "kinks" to work out.. recalls, other out-of-the-ordinary issues. Since then, it's just been normal maintenance you would expect (and none of that would be covered by warranty anyways) - oil changes, tire rotations/replacements, break pad replacements, etc.

Had one weird issue last summer due to water getting into a sensor. Cost $60 to fix. Other than that, none of the issues I've had in the last 2 years would have been under warranty.

Keep in mind, too, that if any recalls come out - you don't have to have a warranty to take advantage of them (for free).

So, based on my experience alone, I wouldn't want to pay that much to extend the warranty. I'd take my chances because you'd have to need a whole lot of work done for it to cost over $1000.

09-09-2010, 02:24 PM
What make, model and year car is it? I ask because different cars have different histories of reliability data, and you can actually look that stuff up, which can help you decide if extending the warranty is worth it to you.

And what does the warranty actually cover?

Would you be better served by joining something like AAA in the US, but the AU version? An auto club, where if you get a flat by the side of the road, you can call them and they'll come help you?

09-09-2010, 02:33 PM
This would be a no-brainer for me- I would definitely buy it. In general, I don't purchase extended warranties, but I always do for my cars. I recently had to have the brakes on my BMW replaced, just from normal wear and tear. The bill was well over $1000, but thankfully it was covered. The motor for one of the windows went out, and that was really expensive too.

09-09-2010, 03:33 PM
Ehhhh...it really depends on how long you intend to keep the car, how much extended life you plan to get out of it, what its resale/trade-in value would be if you decided to ditch it instead...is it worth it to you to get more coverage for THIS car, or are you planning to replace it soon so that would be money down the drain?

Me, no, I don't do extended warranties, but by the time major things start falling apart (for me, a battery is a minor issue, a brake/transmission job, major) I'm usually looking at replacing the car itself, so it's not worth pouring money into something I'm not going to keep. (I just dropped collision/comp on my insurance as the car blue books at $3800 and is owned outright. No sense in paying nearly $300 more for coverage that I'm unlikely to need and which wouldn't pay out much anyway--and if I had more than $3800 damage to the car, I'd junk it, so I'm not worrying about that replacement cost.)

09-09-2010, 04:09 PM
I would say it depends largely on the predicted reliability and repair costs of the make and model.

There are some cars (many Hondas and Toyotas) that likely won't require expensive repairs. If it's a BMW, I'd definitely get it, and it will likely be expensive even with extended warranty.

09-09-2010, 05:33 PM
My conclusion with extended warranties is if they are that good of a deal, why so much advertising and encouragement for customers to get it?

I had a 2001 Audi, which included everything for the first 4 years or so many thousand miles. That was nice, but when the vehicle became 7 or 8 years old most of the repairs and maintenance were in the hundreds of dollars. Instead of keeping it until 100,000 miles, I decided to sell it and buy a new car with an extended warranty.

Now I have a 2009 Mazda. It costed less to buy in general, needs less expensive gasoline, and I paid $1000+ for a 5-year, 75,000 mile warranty. I haven't needed to take advantage of it yet. I do, however need to pay for regularly scheduled maintenance with this plan, a couple hundred dollars a year. And when I got two new tires and they recommended realignment after a rough winter here, I noticed in the small print that alignment is not part of the extended warranty :( .

As for other products, when I purchased my first computer I chose the two-year extended service warranty. 18 months into the warranty, I didn't bother taking advantage of it. They will take care of the problem, but not in a timely manner. Instead of not having a computer at home at all for a week or more, I went to a service center, paid $150, and it was taken care of in 48 hours.

And I remember having an extended warranty on major appliances with the first apartment I purchased. The seller paid $300 for the warranty. I took advantage of it once when I had an air conditioning problem. The next year I needed to decide if I wanted to continue the warranty. I chose not to. Turns out the air conditioning repair was just a band-aid on a bigger problem. Extended warranties don't cover the cost of a new product, and it was time for a new A/C system. In that case, the extended warranty just seemed to delay the inevitable.

09-09-2010, 06:46 PM
I have a 2003 Audi and purchased the extended warranty which at that time took me up to 75,000 miles. I didn't use it a ton, but for the few things that went wrong I was glad I had it due to the cost of repairs. I'm at 94K currently, when I finally trade in for a newer Audi I will definitely get the extended warranty simply because repairs are pretty expensive on them.

09-10-2010, 12:39 AM
Thanks everyone, lots of food for thought. :)

What make, model and year car is it? I ask because different cars have different histories of reliability data, and you can actually look that stuff up, which can help you decide if extending the warranty is worth it to you.

Would you be able to point me to where to find this kind of data? I'm clueless...

The car is a 2007 Holden Astra, it's an Australian make and the engine is manufactured in Australia but everything else in Europe, by Opel. Holdens are pretty tough cars, made for Australia as they say (dust, dust and more dust), but mine is a bit of a girl version.

I do have the equivalent of AA, but that only covers roadside assistance... like a flat tyre or battery, so major repairs or parts are not covered by that.

The extended warranty is the same as the original 'bran new car' warranty, covers parts and accessories and their faults, but not tyres or usual wear or tear or damage due to negligence. This is why wheel alignment would not be covered, deltask8er, that's normal wear and tear. Next service, I have to have the rubber on the wipers replaced, and that won't be covered either.

The repair they'll be doing now (fuel system) would have cost $1500 without the warranty. Next year's service itself is a major one and will cost $800 before any work - and since it's a major one, they'll might find stuff that needs doing... so I suppose I'd be paying about $500 for peace of mind for one year.

I own the car outright and have no intention of replacing it (and wouldn't have the money to do so anyway), so I do want to keep it running and in good condition as long as possible. :) And nobody is actually trying to sell this to me, I'm the one asking for pricing! :)

09-10-2010, 02:28 AM
You are buying insurance for protection against unexpected major repairs. It's highly unlikely that you will use the insurance. Most things that wear out in vehicles are excluded from extended warranties. Take the money and put it in the bank.

My personal vehicle repair history - 50000km per year, 28 years, maximum repair bill $800 timing belt- not covered by warranty

1 water pump @$200 installed - would have been covered if I'd bought insurance

3 altenators @$150 installed - would have been covered...

1 transmission repair- dealer wanted $1500- transmission shop fixed it for $50- if I'd had an extended warranty I'd have had to have the transmission fixed at the dealers and it would have been in the shop for 2 weeks instead of an hour.

Untold suspension repairs- tie rod ends, shocks, ball joints- none would be covered by warranty

So warranty coverage would have paid out about $2150 in 28 years. $1450 would have been unnecessary. If the average cost for 50000km was $250 (probably it would have been more), by paying for my own repairs I saved over $6000.

They calculate the warranty periods to cover only within the normal expected life cycle of the part. You'd have to be quite unlucky to actually benefit from your extended warranty.

09-10-2010, 02:45 AM
They calculate the warranty periods to cover only within the normal expected life cycle of the part. You'd have to be quite unlucky to actually benefit from your extended warranty.Wow, that hasn't been my experience at all. Maybe it's because I am pretty loyal to the BMW brand, and repairs tend to be costly. I have used my extended warranty benefits on several occasions over the years, and it has saved me a lot of money.