It doesn’t matter what manufacturer you purchase your car from, or if you buy it new or used — when you get to the point of signing the paperwork, you will be brought back into the Finance and Insurance (F and I) office, and offered a range of protection products you can add on to your loan.
But what are they, and should you purchase them?
There are a wide range of products to choose from, but in particular we’re going to talk about two of the most popular today: service contracts and extended warranties.
On the surface, a service contract might seem like a great idea — you pay one up-front fee, and all your maintenance is taken care of for the set period the contract is in effect. But there are a few caveats you should be aware of.
- 1. You can only use that dealership. You can’t go to the oil change place down the street, or use a trusted mechanic like Auto Works of Brandon to do any maintenance or service on your vehicle. You can’t even go to another dealership that sells that manufacturer’s cars — you are purchasing service at that specific location only.
- It doesn’t include repairs. Service contracts are, in general, only for the regularly scheduled maintenance issues, such as oil changes and tire rotations. If something breaks, or you get into an accident, those will be additional costs that you’ll still need to come up with out of pocket. And if you want your repair shop to do basic maintenance while they’re fixing other issues, you’ve just paid twice for the same service.
- You are locked in. If you have a terrible experience with our shop, we understand that you can take your business elsewhere. But with a service contract, you already paid up front, so they don’t necessarily care if you have a good or bad experience. There are some outstanding dealership service departments and technicians out there, but you are rolling the dice when you lock yourself into service with one specific location.
The second product we’d like to look at are the extended warranties. These can actually be a bit more useful in the long term.
- They cover what your factory warranty doesn’t. Even the best factory warranties only cover, in general, the powertrain, which means it will repair things like the brakes or the engine if things go wrong. But what about that fancy touchscreen navigation system? Or the air conditioning? Or the catch on the trunk fails? Well, that’s where these warranties come in. They offer you coverage on the rest of the car, so you aren’t left with a hard decision of what you can afford to repair.
- You have options. Extended warranties don’t, for the most part, specify who can do the repairs. So, you can bring it back to your local dealership, or you can call a shop like Auto Works of Brandon, and we can do the work for you and work with your warranty provider to pay the claim.
- You can renew them. For the most part, factory warranties are only good for a set number of years or miles, and once they expire, you’re out of luck. With extended warranties, however, you can renew them when they expire, giving you coverage far longer than you would otherwise have had.
While it is entirely up to you what products you add on to your auto loan, protecting yourself against future repair bills isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you know what is — and isn’t — covered in the contract, and make sure you understand what limitations might be placed on you with different types of contracts.
Auto Works of Brandon
119 Central Dr Ste B
Brandon, Fl 33510