Even the most reliable new cars eventually turn into used cars with issues. Over time, various parts of your car start to age, sometimes not so gracefully, which can start to add up from a mileage standpoint. As your factory warranty expires, it’s time to decide if you want an extended warranty, but you can also make that decision after the car has cleared 100,000 miles. In these cases, a special high-mileage warranty can prevent big spending at the shop. Let’s take a look at why that is, and which warranty options are the best for your car.
When someone says high-mileage, they typically mean vehicles that have been driven more than 100,000 miles. All new vehicles are covered by a warranty to protect buyers from manufacturers defects or from early-life failure of components like the engine, transmission, and electrical systems. At some point, either by crossing a mileage limit or by aging past the warranty’s term, vehicles are no longer covered by the warranty and any needed repairs have to be covered by the owner.
This isn’t the biggest deal in the world for some cars, but most will start to need maintenance and replacement parts at an increasingly frequent rate as the miles climb. Some people are quick to act, and buy an extended warranty just as their factory warranties expire, but others make the decision later on. That’s where high-mileage warranties come into play. They are designed to provide a safety net for owners of well-loved vehicles with tons of miles.
Depending on the plan and company, extended warranties for high-mileage vehicles can be nearly as good as the one that came with the vehicle from the factory. Many warranty providers offer coverage for drivetrain components, electrical and climate control systems, and more. Some even include roadside assistance and other benefits as part of the package.
High mileage warranties make the most sense in these situations:
In some cases, an extended warranty makes sense to provide peace of mind. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that trust and low stress levels make for the happiest vehicle ownership experience, and for some people, an extended warranty can provide that.
Consider how long you’re planning on driving your vehicle. Do you want to drive it until there’s absolutely no way it’s going another mile? If so, an extended warranty may be a good move for you. On the other hand, if you’re planning on selling the vehicle, the warranty won’t add any value to your sale. It’s also important to account for the type of vehicle you’re considering covering. If you’re driving a high-mileage Toyota LandCruiser, for example, your experience with it as it ages will be drastically different than a questionably maintained German sedan from the same era.
Even the most durable cars will start to experience issues with various systems as they age.
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In general, the costs for the plans we’ve recommended will vary from place to place and vehicle to vehicle. Averages include:
It’s important to remember that your mileage may vary wildly, depending on your vehicle and where you live. You may also see a big difference in pricing if you select a plan that covers every part of the vehicle.
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Car Talk has spent the last year doing a deep dive into the warranties industry for the benefit of our readership and long-time listeners. Our process for deciding on the best warranty companies for the year was exceptionally thorough, involving in-depth research and our unique secret shopper initiative. We compiled over 50 data points across all reviewed companies to refine and inform our selection process. Car Talk reviewed the following important criteria for each company:
Consumer Satisfaction: Cross referencing multiple trusted resources to pull our fair and balanced customer reviews.
Cost: Utilizing our secret shopper initiative, we got comparable quotes across all companies so we can validly compare pricing.
Coverage and Offerings: Our research team delved into the coverage and offerings for each company, comparing what is available, including extras and discounts.
Official Ratings: We consulted a wide range of verified review sites to extrapolate a ratings score for each.
Yes, a few automakers offer long warranties on their vehicles from the factory. Kia, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi all come with 10-year/100,000-mile warranties that cover drivetrain components and related parts.
It might be tempting to pick up a warranty on the spot, but you should go into the discussion armed with knowledge on what plans typically cost and whether or not your vehicle actually needs a warranty. Since you’re a captive audience at the dealer, they sometimes don’t offer the best prices.
Warranties that cover cars over 100,000 miles offer many of the same benefits and protections that standard warranties do. Depending on the warranty selected, you may see powertrain, electronics, and climate system protections, among other things.
Every company has its pros and cons, but a few stand out above the rest. Endurance is highly regarded for warranties on older, higher-mileage vehicles, while others like autopom! Provide a simple quote process. The best company for you and your car may be completely different, so it’s important to shop around to find the one that meets your needs, your budget, and that makes you comfortable spending the money.
If your car is still under its factory warranty and the dealer can’t fix a problem, they may be obligated to buy the car back or compensate you in some way, but consumer laws vary from state to state. Extended warranties are even trickier, so it’s important that you ask these questions up front. Your warranty company may offer compensation or protection against a problem that can’t be fixed, but don’t count on it without getting it in writing first.
This one’s hard to nail down, because at that mileage, anything can happen. You’re most likely going to start seeing things like water pumps, seals, hoses, and other items wearing out as your vehicle ages.
The best way to get a good price is to compare offers. These are some popular options...