While extended car warranties can be great to help with the cost of repairs, not everyone actually needs it. That's why it's important to ask yourself some questions before you even consider purchasing an extended car warranty for yourself.
In fact, ask yourself these questions before even buying a car. Chances are that the car salesman may try to push an extended car warranty once you walk into their office to finalize the financing contract. Rather than getting duped into buying something you don't need (or alternately missing out on something you actually do need) it's important to get clear on whether or not you could use an extended car warranty.
How Often Do You Buy a New Car?
Some people like to trade in old cars and buy a new one every couple of years or so. If you belong in this category there's almost no point in buying an extended car warranty since manufacturer warranties will be in effect. (The operative word here is "almost" since manufacturer warranties aren't always amazing.)
On the other hand, if you are someone who drives a car into the ground then an extended warranty may be something to consider. However, don't mistakenly assume you need an extended warranty just because you keep your cars for a long time. There are other things to keep in mind before making a final decision.
What Does Your Repair History Look Like?
This is a big one. The past tends to predict the future with a lot of things, and your car repair history is one of them. This can also be telling of which kind of warranty you would need should you choose to purchase one.
Think back to your previous vehicles. Have they had breakdowns that could have been covered by an extended warranty? How much have you spent on out of warranty repairs? Calculate the total and weigh that against the cost of the warranty itself.
As for which kind of warranty to purchase, let's take into account some other considerations from your history. For example, have you had a lot of flat tires because you live in an area with rough roads? Then maybe a road-hazard tire warranty is fit for your needs.
By getting clear on these kinds of things you'll know what you need and what you don't, and while no two vehicles will perform the same way, if you're purchasing a new car from the same carmaker then you'll have a better idea of what to expect.
Are You Already Covered by the Car Manufacturer? What Does it Cover?
If you just got your car then you're likely covered by the manufacturer for repairs for some time. It's important to get clear on what the manufacturer warranty actually covers, because they are not all created equal.
For example, Hyundai's claim to fame is their powertrain warranty that covers up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. With a powertrain warranty you've got the engine, transmission and transaxle parts covered and it usually lasts longer than a basic warranty.
Do all manufacturer's offer this? Not even close. That's why it's important to get clear on what you already have (if you have anything at all) so you can determine if you need an extended warranty for your vehicle.