An extended auto warranty can serve as a financial solution to expensive fixes.

4 key questions to ask before securing an extended auto warranty

By: James Abbey, January 27, 2016

Vehicles today are staying on the road longer than ever before. On average, buyers hang on to their car for 11 years before purchasing a new one, according to a study by IHS Automotive.

Nevertheless, they run the risk of breaking down. This is especially true when automobiles are not properly maintained at the recommended service intervals. Between 2011 and 2014, adherence to these suggested service times has fallen by nearly 16 percent, based on a poll done by science-based marketing firm DMEautomotive.

Fortunately, many dealerships offer a variety of auto warranty options. These provide owners with additional time to have their cars serviced at no extra cost once the original warranty expires.

“Extended auto warranties can be a smart investment if you intend to own your vehicle for awhile.”

However, before you pursue an auto warranty estimate, there are several questions you should ask yourself to determine if it’s right for you. Here are four of them:

Who backs the warranty?
Generally speaking, an extended warranty is offered by one of three entities: the manufacturer, the dealership or a third-party. Ideally, it will be covered by all three, but regardless of who it is, make sure you understand who stands behind the warranty. Then, do your homework to ensure that the backer is reputable.

What is provided for?
Just like an insurance policy, an auto warranty protection plan covers specific services or repairs when things go wrong. This may include the brakes, transmission, interior settings – like air conditioning or heating – and power steering. You may want to inquire about which features are most likely to break down to determine which services are best to have included.

How long will I own car?
As previously mentioned, the average lifespan of today’s vehicles is approximately 11.4 years, according to IHS Automotive. By 2019, the average is expected to jump to 11.7 years. Clearly, motorists are holding on to their cars for longer periods. If this includes you, an extended warranty can be a smart investment.

Who can make the repairs?
There are literally thousands of auto mechanics to choose from. Some are better than others and each determines what to charge based on the parts needed for the fix and the amount of labor that’s required. Ideally, your auto warranty will cover a multitude of repair shops so that you can decide the one that’s best, based on where you live and the nature of the problem. Determine what companies are covered under the warranty before you commit.