Audis have a reputation for being extremely competent and well-equipped luxury cars. But they also have a reputation, as do many makes in that segment, for being somewhat less reliable than more pedestrian rides. That reputation is born out in the numbers. RepairPal reports an average yearly repair cost for an Audi at $987. Compared to Honda with $428, or even competing luxury brand Lexus which comes to $551. That’s a pretty steep yearly price to pay just to get from A to B. And if you’re the proud owner of a new, or mostly new, Audi, you might be thinking about whether or not you should get an extended warranty for it.
Of course, if you’ve perused Car Talk’s discussions about extended warranties, you know they’re not really warranties, but service contracts. As a rule, any time you have to pay for a warranty, it’s not really a warranty. As such, what is and isn’t covered can vary based on the plan you select. The best plans are called exclusionary contracts. These are contracts that cover everything on the car except what’s specifically excluded in writing. Compared to the more common and less expensive inclusive contracts, which only cover what’s specifically included in writing, you’ll generally get more components covered with exclusionary contracts.
Audi’s factory warranty covers the car for four years or 50,000 miles. Their extended warranties take over when the factory warranty ends, and depending on the plan can cover almost as much as the factory warranty covers. Which plan you get will depend on several factors, including whether the car was used when you bought it.
As with most makes, Audi has a Certified Pre-Owned program. CPO cars are covered for five years from when the car was bought by the original owner. If you want more coverage than that, Audi has specific extended warranties for CPO vehicles which extends that CPO warranty for up to two years.
Audi offers a veritable forest of extended coverage options - more categories than many other companies. It can be a little hard to track which ones you should get, or are even eligible for. We’ve broken it down for you to make this a little easier.
The lowest tier contract is the Powertrain coverage. It covers parts of the engine, transmission, axles, and components of the hybrid system if the car has one.
Moving up from Powertrain is the Gold package. It adds climate control, suspension components, and fuel and electrical system coverage, as well as covering more parts of the hybrid system.
The top tier is the Platinum package, which is that exclusionary contract we talked about earlier. It covers everything not specifically excluded in the contract, including steering, brakes, navigation and audio systems, and more.
Each of the tiers offers several deductibles, from $0 to $250 per visit. Needless to say, a $0 deductible plan will cost more than higher deductible contracts.
Then there’s “Term Protection,” which is separate from the regular extended warranties. It’s more of a maintenance contract, and it comes in two tiers. The lower-tier Platinum plan, not to be confused with the Platinum package in the extended warranty group. Which is, we admit, confusing. The Platinum Term Protection plan will get you one brake pad replacement service and one battery replacement. You’ll also get your belts, hoses, and wiper blades replaced when they wear out, and even a wheel alignment. But you’ll need to get all of those things within the 4 year, 60,000 mile coverage period for the plan.
You’ll also get 10 days worth of rental car reimbursement and trip interruption coverage for covered events, and you can transfer the plan to a new owner for a $50 fee. Unlike the extended warranty plans, there’s no deductible for the Term Protection option.
A step up from Platinum is the Platinum Plus plan, which adds a replacement set of brake rotors to the mix.
Then there’s the extended CPO coverage, which has the same tiered coverage as the regular extended warranty, but only goes to a maximum of 8 years rather than 10, and does not offer deductible options; you’ll pay $85 any time you use the contract.
Unless you get the Term Protection package, wear items are not covered. Parts like brake pads, windshield wipers, etc, wear out by design and are considered maintenance items rather than repair items.
For the non-Platinum tier warranties, anything that isn’t specifically listed as being covered is, well, not covered. For the Platinum tier, anything that is specifically listed is not covered.
Costs of extended warranties always depend on a number of variables. What kind of car you get, how old it is, how much its expected repair costs during the warranty term, what deductible you choose, and more are all factors that help determine what you’ll pay. We recommend negotiating; don’t treat that first offer as written in stone. Try to talk them down. Even if they won’t budge on price, if you’re buying a new or off-lease / CPO car, you might be able to get them to throw in something else you want if you agree to buy the warranty.
RepairPal has a list of the most common repairs performed on Audis. Some of those systems are ones that are covered by some or all of the extended warranty tiers. Clutch and brake master cylinders, which cost from $454 to $595 to fix, would be covered under a Platinum plan. The sunroof switch, a surprisingly common repair for the Audi A6, costs around $180 to fix, but is covered under the Gold and Platinum plans. Of course, it should be pointed out that unless you choose a $0 or $100 deductible, it wouldn’t make sense to get it repaired under the service contract.
We’ve put together a breakdown of third-party extended warranty companies we think are upstanding providers, which you can read about here. Coverages offered through Audi are similar to what you’ll find with third-parties, including offering exclusionary contracts and a maintenance contract.
We think it would be a very good idea for you to shop at several third-party companies even if you fully intend to buy the Audi offering. After all, if the third-party contracts are a lot cheaper than the contract the dealership is offering, it’s at minimum a good bargaining chip to get the price knocked down, or to get extras thrown in.
Ordinarily, our take on extended warranties is that they’re not needed from a financial perspective, and we don’t really have a different opinion for the Audi offering. While Audis do cost more to repair than other cars, you can bet that extra cost is reflected in the price of the warranty. As we’ve said in many of our articles, companies wouldn’t sell extended warranties if they weren’t making money on them, and that means on average you’ll spend more for the warranty than you’ll get out of it.
But there are some relatively unique considerations when dealing with Audi and similar high-end brands. Namely, they tend to break more often, and unless you’re in the habit of maintaining a savings account specifically for unexpected auto repairs, the extended warranty could make life easier for you. A common refrain on our Car Talk Community forums is that if you buy a German car, sell it once the warranty expires. Getting that extended warranty might let you keep the car longer without having to worry too much about paying for repairs, if that’s something you want to do.
We’ve determined that, in our opinion, good extended warranty companies to consider include CARCHEX, autopom!, and Liberty Bell. All three won our Golden Wrench awards this year. You can read an extended discussion of those companies and more here, but the general breakdown is that we believe those companies will sell you products that, while they make a profit on them, will deliver what they promise to deliver.
There are several tiers of extended warranty coverage available from Audi, and all of them cover different levels of components. Scroll up to see a chart breakdown of their offerings.
Financially, on average, probably not. But if you’re the type to spend a lot of time worrying about potential unexpected expenses, it might be worth the peace of mind an extended warranty would bring.
We usually say no, from a purely financial perspective. From a tranquility perspective, having that coverage might ease worries about unanticipated fixes.
Yes. Many can be purchased while the original factory warranty is still in effect. Some can even be purchased later than that. Check with the companies you’re considering to see what their cutoffs are.
That’s a very subjective question that depends on your needs. We recommend doing lots of research and then settling on a contract that you feel best fits what you’re looking for. Check out our informative article on the Best Extended Warranty Companies here.
The best way to get a good price is to compare offers. These are some popular options...