Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 21, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Car warranty wisdom

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — • AFTERMARKET INSTALLED PRODUCT: These items fall under their own manufacturers’ warranties. For example, tires, after-market stereo systems, and conversion components are not made by the car maker and thus not covered under the vehicle warranty. You will usually find these warranties in the paper work you received at the time of vehicle delivery. Read the paperwork and educate yourself to avoid assumptions and misunderstandings. Make sure you know what’s covered and by whom.

Let’s set a common misconception straight on warranty work done by the dealership on new cars. It’s important to understand that warranty repairs are a revenue source for the dealership. So when dealers refuse coverage, it’s not because they look at the repair as a cost factor to them, they simply cannot, based on the warranty agreement and the very strict adherence to the agreement expected by the manufacturers.

 Extended warranties

If you keep a vehicle beyond its original factory warranty period, then I highly recommend you purchase an extended warranty. Consider the cost of repairs. The average transmission replacement is around $3,500 and up. Engines cost in the neighborhood of $6,000 to $10,000 and higher. In-vehicle electronics can cost a small fortune. Be smart and get an extended warranty on a vehicle if you are going to keep it beyond the factory or dealer warranty.

The arena of extended warranties has evolved in light years. In the past extended warranties were either offered by the carmakers or by obscure little companies selling a bill of goods, virtually denying every claim that came into their “call centers” which were usually located in “Art Bell Land out by Area 51” in the desert!

Today companies like AIG, Allstate, and Interstate have thrown their hats into the ring, adding credibility and offering genuine coverage to motorists. The caveat is to research and know what company your extended warranty is from. Find out who the warranty administrator is. Ask if they have a good track record or, are they difficult to deal with? To whom should you ask these questions? The Service Department Manager or writer. These people work with extended warranty companies all the time and know who is reputable and who is not.

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