It’s inevitable. You drop 30 or 40 large on a shiny new Nissan, only to be dragged into the finance office where they try to extract more money from you before you drive home. While it’s usually a fairly safe bet to say “no” to everything they pitch, some pause when offered an extended warranty. Is it worth it, or a waste of money?
As with any extended warranty, Nissan’s is, first off, not a warranty. A warranty doesn’t cost any extra money; it’s included in the price of the car. Nissan’s “extended warranty” is a service contract and as such, it’s not necessarily going to cover the same things as the factory warranty. Sometimes that’s bad, if something breaks that isn’t covered. But sometimes it’s good too; for instance the factory warranty doesn’t generally cover road hazard damage, whereas the extended warranty might if you get the right package.
A Nissan extended warranty is coverage offered by Nissan via its dealerships. You’ll almost always get the offer when you buy the car. Somewhat redundant branded “Security+Plus,” there are 3 main tiers of coverage to the extended warranty options. Depending on the plan you choose, it’ll give you up to eight years and 120,000 miles of coverage for the powertrain, air conditioner, and on the higher-tier plans, many other components.
The main difference between a Nissan extended warranty and the factory warranty is twofold: First, you have to pay extra for it. And second, you may have to pay a deductible when you use it. Both of those differences are typical for extended warranties whether bought from a dealership or a third party provider.
Nissan extended warranties come in three main tiers; Powertrain Preferred, Silver Preferred, and Gold Preferred.
Coming in at the lowest available tier, Powertrain Preferred covers, unsurprisingly, the powertrain, which includes many of the components making up the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. But it also covers certain suspension, steering, electrical, and air conditioning components, as well as the brakes (minus pads and rotors) and the fuel system.
Stepping up to the Silver Preferred package gets you around 690 more covered components, including expanded transmission, suspension, and drivetrain coverage. Perhaps the most potentially expensive repairs now included in coverage involve various electrical components including computers, the sunroof, mirror, and power seat motors, and the ABS part of the braking system. You’ll also step up to coverage for rental car reimbursement, towing, and trip interruption benefits should a covered breakdown happen.
And the top tier of coverage is the Gold Preferred package. Unlike the two below it, the Gold Preferred plan is an exclusionary contract. That means that anything which is not specifically excluded in the contract is covered. Not only does that make it easier for you to understand what isn’t covered, it also covers the most components.
An option for all the packages, or standalone, is the Ultimate Platinum Protection program, which is essentially Nissan’s version of AAA. It gets you round-the-clock roadside assistance and towing, windshield repair coverage, road hazard protection for the tires and wheels, paintless dent repair for scratches and dents, and several other coverages as well.
|Powertrain Preferred||Silver Preferred||Gold Preferred|
The cost of a dealership-offered extended warranty is often highly negotiable, and will depend on how long you want the coverage to last, which Nissan you buy, which plan you choose, and other variables. While we’re unable to obtain exact figures, we do recommend that you not consider the finance salesperson’s first offer to be set in stone. Negotiate it down, or negotiate other add-ons to be included or discounted in exchange for buying the warranty. One way to decrease the cost of the warranty is to raise the deductible that you’ll have to pay any time you use it. Of course, that means if something does break, you’ll owe more money before they’ll fix it.
If your Nissan is new, or still within the factory warranty period, it’s eligible for a Nissan Extended Warranty. More specifically, you can buy a “new” Security+Plus plan until the 3 year, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty expires. After that, you can buy a “used” Security+Plus contract until the 5 year, 60,000 mile powertrain warranty expires.
On paper, Nissan’s extended warranty plans compare fairly similarly to third-party contracts. Coverages are broadly similar for both the inclusive (i.e., “only covers what’s included in writing) lower-tier contracts and with the exclusionary highest tier contracts. Both styles of extended warranties are commonly available from third party vendors as well.
Of course, given that they’re being sold by dealerships, we’d expect a higher initial price for Nissan’s contracts, meaning it’d be a good idea to get some quotes from third party companies to bring into the finance office when you buy the car.
Whether or not you need a Nissan extended warranty is going to come down to your preferred level of risk. While Nissans are known to be reasonably reliable - RepairPal ranks their cars 9th out of 32 brands - that site also notes that they incur an average of $500 worth of repairs per year. That means on average, if you spend less than $2,000 and the contract covers your repair for at least 4 years beyond the factory warranty coverage, you might come out financially ahead.
Of course, as with any extended warranty contract, it’s designed to keep that from happening as much as possible, which makes sense; if Nissan weren’t making a profit on their extended warranties, they wouldn’t offer them. This means that on average, a buyer of a Nissan extended warranty, or any other service contract, will end up spending more on the contract than they save.
However, for some people, the likely net expense might be acceptable in order to get peace of mind. If you’re the type to stay up nights worrying about potential repair costs if your car does break down, and an extended warranty lets you sleep, it might be worth it to you.
Here at Car Talk, we’ve prepared a number of reviews of extended warranty companies. While the full list is available here, we’ve got some highlights for you:
autopom! has gained a reputation for responsive customer service. Their reputation is high enough that they earned our coveted Golden Wrench award.
CARCHEX has been around for 2 decades and is one of the largest service contract providers out there. They, too, have received a Golden Wrench award from Car Talk.
Liberty Bell is our third Golden Wrench award winner. Their customer service ratings are quite high, and they’re known for covering more vehicles than other companies.
Yes. Nissan offers several tiers of extended warranty coverage; Powertrain Preferred, Silver, and Gold.
That’s a question only you can answer. You’ll likely spend more on the warranty than it will pay for, but the peace of mind it gives might make it worth it to you.
Financially you’re usually better off saving money in an interest-bearing account and using that to pay for repairs. But if worrying about repair costs keeps you up at night, it might be worth it from a psychological perspective.
Costs vary widely depending on amount and length of coverage, as well as the predicted reliability of your car model. And they’re negotiable - feel free to try and bargain the salesperson down!
That’s a somewhat subjective question depending on your service contract needs. We recommend checking out our extended warranty overview to research plans that meet your expectations.
The best way to get a good price is to compare offers. These are some popular options...