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How many times have you heard this lately?  Those unsolicited phone calls attempting to talk to you about your car’s manufacturer’s warranty.

Most of us have just hung up when we heard the recorded message…but then you experience a problem with your vehicle and might think to yourself, “Maybe I should have found out more!”

Trent Pickering of Pickering’s Auto Service Centers of Lakewood, Colorado, Arvada, Colorado and Westminster, Colorado tells us, “These types of coverage policies kick in after your typical manufacturer’s warranty has expired.  But before you even consider it, you need to make sure that you need it!  We see customers who ask us about these calls, and come to find out that they are already covered.”

When you purchased your car from a dealership, chances are when you went into the little room to talk about financing, you were probably asked if you wanted a vehicle service contract – AKA an extended warranty.  The dealerships LOVE to sell these policies because they generate additional income on every sale. 

Vehicle service contracts extend coverage for most major breakdowns and will – in theory – average out your repair costs over time.  These policies are offered by the automaker or can also be offered by a third-party administrator.

What you might not realize is that you can don’t have to purchase these types of warranties right when you are buying the car…and you don’t have to wait until the vehicles warranty has expired, either.  But you do need to realize that the longer you wait to buy this type of coverage, the higher the price will be. 

Also realize that the only benefit to buying the warranty while sitting at the dealership is that you can wrap the warranty’s cost into your new car financing package. 

Here are 5 things that might help you decide what to do:

  1. Do you plan to keep the car for a long period of time? 

If you’re one of those people who trade in cars every three years – don’t buy an extended warranty.  The original manufacturer’s warranty will probably outlast the time you own the vehicle.

  1. Have you shopped for the best price?

Many new car buyers didn’t even know that you can “shop” for pricing on this type of coverage.  This research is best done BEFORE you buy the car. But, if you’re already sitting there in that little office with a mound of sales paperwork in front of you, get the price and details of what the dealership is offering then go home and shop around with OTHER DEALERSHIPS to compare prices on the same auto you purchased.

Not a good negotiator?  You’re not alone. Edmunds Auto offers you advise on how to get the best deal on extended warranties.

  1. Do you know what’s actually covered? 

Extended warranties are not all created equal.  Many auto parts and components that have a “life span” and will break or wear out, are not covered in these policies.  To make matters even more confusing, companies may offer “tiered plans”, and what’s covered changes based on what you buy.  READ THE FINE PRINT!

Additionally, know who will pay the up front cost for the repair. Is it your responsibility and then you have to wait to get reimbursed?

Is there a deductible?   Must you get repairs done at a specific dealership or repair shop?

  1. What’s your history on vehicle repairs?

Think back on what auto work you’ve had to pay for previously.  Would a warranty cover those costs?  Add up how much you’ve spent on out-of-warranty repairs and compare it to the policy’s price. 

Some dealerships will make you feel like if you say “no” to the extended warranty, you’re careless and taking a gamble. Know that new cars are more reliable than ever and, if you want to see THEM squirm, ask them why they feel that this car is needing this warranty?  Do they have a reason to believe it WILL breakdown? Ask to see information on customer satisfaction…you get the picture! (and it’s FUN!)

But if you’re one of those people that don’t like to gamble, rarely take chances and value a good night’s sleep every night; there’s nothing wrong with getting an extended warranty; just know what you’re buying...also be aware that if you don’t get it when purchasing the car, chances are someone will call you and ask you to reconsider!

Want to know more about extended warranties, read our previous blog posts about them. If you are considering whether you should buy an extended warranty or aftermarket warranty, feel free to call Pickering’s Auto Service and speak to one of our knowledgeable service consultants today or schedule an appointment online!

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