It’s any car owner’s fear — needing a costly repair just after the warranty has run out. Extended warranties promise peace of mind. But they’re expensive, typically more than a thousand dollars.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center checked to see if they’re worth it.
When Edward Rinaldi bought his Honda Pilot, he opted for an extended warranty. But like the majority of people who buy one, he didn’t use it.
“I paid 1,800 dollars for this warranty, and it turns out I never really needed it whatsoever.” said Rinaldi.
A Consumer Reports survey of 12-thousand subscribers found extended warranties are an “expensive gamble.”
Jim Travers of Consumer Reports says, “We found that more than half the people who bought an extended warranty never used the coverage. And even among those who did, they spent far more for the coverage than they saved in repairs.”
The cost of an extended car warranty averaged more than
12-hundred dollars. Among those who used it, the median savings was just 837 — a net loss of more than 375 dollars.
“We survey subscribers about all kinds of things, all kinds of products and services. And what we found with extended warranties was that they rated down at the bottom in satisfaction.” said Travers.
Owners of Hondas, Subarus, and Toyotas were especially disappointed with their extended warranties. Less than a quarter of them said they’d buy one if they had it to do again.
“Well, Hondas, Subarus, Toyotas, those all tend to be very reliable brands to begin with, so the odds are those people really had even less need for their extended warranties and we think that’s probably why they were less satisfied.” said Travers.
Like many of those surveyed, Ed Rinaldi says he wouldn’t buy an extended warranty again.
“I just don’t see the necessity for it.” said Rinaldi.
Consumer Reports says the best bet — buy a reliable car and keep it in top shape.
And a final caution — the Better Business Bureau has received thousands of complaints about extended warranty scams. So if someone tries to sell you one, and you are considering it, check with your dealer to make sure the offer is legit.