Nearly every new car sold today comes standard with a warranty, and seeing as how many factory warranties can last upwards of ten years or up to 100,000 miles, buying a used car coupled with a factory warranty is a common occurrence as well.
No factory warranty lasts forever, of course: Although many manufacturers offer extended warranties, even lengthened factory coverage will only typically last between 120,000 to 125,000 miles. Only a rare few last as long as 150,000 miles.
Given how durable modern cars are, though, and how expensive new cars have become, it makes sense to keep your current car running well beyond the end of the longest-lasting factory extended warranty, and thankfully, you have options when your warranty expires, or the manufacturer won’t offer one anymore.
Costs that Are Not Covered After Your Warranty Expires
When your car warranty expires, the manufacturer will no longer pay for repairs or replacements for a failing part, even if it is a known weak point that they would otherwise fix.
If, for example, your A/C compressor dies while under warranty, you can take your car to an authorized shop or dealer and have it fixed at no cost to you. After your car warranty expires, those repairs would come out of pocket, ranging anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on your type of car.
It’s important to point out that warranties are not car insurance, and as such, your warranty will not pay for accident repairs as your insurance does. Instead, warranties cover premature part failures. A warranty can also provide services such as free oil changes, roadside assistance, or free inspections.
How Soon Can You Buy an Extended Warranty or Vehicle Service Contract?
Is your car warranty about to expire? Now's the time to explore extended warranties or vehicle service contracts, and if you’re buying a new car, you might already be throwing questions like, “Can you buy extended warranty after purchase?” into Google.
When it comes to extended warranties, you can buy one at any time. So long as you purchase one before your current warranty runs out, that’s all that matters. However, if you’re considering purchasing a vehicle service contract, things change a bit.
Vehicle service contracts are sometimes referred to as “extended warranties,” but only manufacturers legitimately offer (extended) warranties. Third parties only ever offer vehicle service contracts. The reason “extended warranties” is used as a catch-all term is that they effectively operate the same way, but you’ll want to wait until you’re as close to the end of your factory warranty as possible to purchase a service contract. Otherwise, it can overlap with your factory warranty and leave you with double coverage for the same parts or services, which only wastes your money.
Tips for Finding Coverage that Works for You
When you’re shopping for coverage and deciding between buying an extended manufacturer’s warranty or a vehicle service contract, you’ll, of course, want to end up with the best protection possible. If you plan on driving your car for decades or hundreds of thousands of miles, the right plan can make ownership far less troublesome and expensive.
Below are some tips to help you find the best coverage option for your vehicle:
1. Research Various Companies and Validate Their Expertise and Reputation
Doing your due diligence is especially important when purchasing a vehicle service contract from a third party. If the prices or plans seem too good to be true, they probably are. Check ratings and reviews to ensure real customers have had a positive experience. Depending on what type of vehicle you want to cover, whether it’s a vintage car, a sports car, or some other enthusiast vehicle, you will want to research companies that may have packages and plans that cater to your needs.
2. Compare Plans, Pricing, and Coverage Options
You need to be comfortable with what you’re spending. A vehicle service contract can cost anywhere from 60 to hundreds of dollars per month, but generally speaking, the more you spend, the more protection you’ll get.
3. Read the Fine Print
You don’t want a surprise when it’s time to take your car into the shop. Most service contract plans will disqualify cars that have extensive modifications or receive out-of-spec parts or repairs, so make sure you read the contract thoroughly before you sign.
4. Ask Questions
Find out what parts are protected under the plan you want and whether you can use your favorite mechanic or if you need to use a specific dealer or shop. Ask what modifications might be allowed as well: Not asking can get you into trouble.
5. Determine What Is Right for Your Car
Your car might only need powertrain protection. Perhaps its engine is known to blow head gaskets or experience other failures, while the rest of the car could go 250,000 miles without major service. In other cases, you might need bumper-to-bumper protection, corrosion prevention, or a safeguard for the electrical system.
6. Find Out if Plans Can Roll Over to New Owners
Selling a used car with a valid warranty or service agreement can add value to it. When selecting a plan, you may want to keep in mind the desires and needs of the next owner, too.
Whether You Choose an Extended Warranty or a Service Contract, Protect Your Car
If your car warranty expired already, it’s wise to find new coverage as soon as you can, as having a warranty or service plan can ensure you have major repairs taken care of.
For the longest-lasting and most comprehensive coverage, a third-party vehicle service contract through CarShield is the way to go. With plans that can last up to 300,000 miles, you can double the protection available from even the most extended of extended factory warranties.
Don’t be left with huge bills from the shop: contact CarShield and get a plan in place today!