Used cars are a great option for consumers on a budget. Sure, they may have a few miles on them, but there are millions of cars on the market with little to no mechanical difficulty. Your used vehicle can last you for thousands of miles and many years.
Unlike new vehicles, though, your used car doesn’t have a warranty. That means if something goes wrong, you’ll be financially liable for the repairs. With that in mind, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need an extended warranty on a used car?”
In this guide, we’ll help you answer that question, showing you how to get an extended warranty on used cars and weighing up the pros and cons of owning one.
Table of Contents
Do I Need an Extended Car Warranty on a Used Car?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Let’s take a look at a few considerations which will help you decide whether an extended warranty is right for you.
First, are you buying a used vehicle from a dealership? If so, there’s a very good chance that your sales representative is going to try to sell you on a warranty. After all, he earns a commission on the product! Before you pull the trigger, though, consider the warranty itself.
What does the warranty cover? In most cases, an extended warranty will cover your transmission, steering, and other more expensive-to-maintain systems in your car. Many warranties are exclusionary, which means they’ll cover everything except a short list of exclusions. This is good, as it means a lower probability that your claim will be denied.
Consider, too, how much the warranty costs, whether you can finance it, and whether there are deductibles required on services rendered. Factor in these deductibles and the interest you’ll pay to fully understand how much you’re paying for your service contract. Do you still see the value in it?
Finally, consider your vehicle. Is it known to be unreliable? Are you known to be unreliable when it comes to vehicle maintenance? If your car is known for breaking down, an extended warranty (or a different make and model) might be your best bet.
These are all considerations you should take when evaluating your need for extended car warranties. If you have any doubts, it may benefit you to speak to a mechanic about your particular vehicle.
When Should I Purchase an Extended Warranty?
In almost all cases, you will not need to purchase an extended warranty on the same day you purchase your car. The exception to this rule is if you wish to finance the cost of the warranty. If you’re not concerned, and are willing to pay out of pocket, you can wait to buy your service contract later.
In a perfect world, you shopped around for extended warranties before buying your new-to-you car. You know the basics of what’s covered by a few favorite providers, and you have an idea of what your extended warranty will cost.
This world isn’t perfect, though, and things come up. Maybe you were convinced you were going to buy a Tacoma, but ended up driving an F-150 home. The warranty terms and cost may be different now, and you’ll need to revise your estimates a bit.
Give yourself a bit of time and shop around for your warranty. Don’t just jump on the first deal you see, unless it’s just too good to pass up. There are dozens of warranty providers out there, and they all offer slightly different coverages and term lengths. Shop, shop, and shop some more. Then, when you find a warranty you love, go ahead and make your purchase.
Extended Warranties: To Buy or Not to Buy?
Deciding whether you should buy an extended warranty on a used car can be a tricky decision. In some cases, however, there are definite clues that you should turn down the service contract.
- If your vehicle is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s best to say no to the extended warranty. Remember that you can always purchase a contract later, but today it’s okay to just drive away without one.
- If your vehicle has a solid reputation for reliability, it’s probably not necessary to purchase an extended warranty. According to Consumer Reports, some of the most reliable cars in 2021 are Mazda’s, Toyotas, Lexuses, and Buicks. The least reliable include Volkswagen, Tesla, Lincoln, and Mini.
- If the warranty provider itself does not have a good reputation, just say no! You don’t want to spend money on a service contract that won’t benefit you at all.
- If the warranty you are offered is an inclusion warranty, do a lot of research before paying for it. Inclusion warranties only cover specific components of your vehicle, and the probability is higher that your claim will be denied.
Conclusion: Extended Car Warranties
Do you need an extended warranty on a used car? Maybe. But remember that you don’t have to decide today. Do a bit of research before you purchase your car, then shop around a little more after you’ve bought your vehicle. Then decide based on your budget, your vehicle, and your common sense.