By Tom Torbjornsen
Tom Torbjornsen, Western New York’s automotive expert from Towne Automotive Group here, hoping you had a great weekend and drove safely! And now for my weekly automotive tip: People are always asking me if an extended warranty is worth buying, to which I respond, “Sure, providing you follow these tips.”
Make sure you know who is offering the warranty. Is it the car manufacturer or a reputable after-market company? Make sure you know who it is that's underwriting your policy. After your first mechanical breakdown is not the time to find out who your underwriter is!
Know what is covered and for how long. This is always the most misinterpreted area of any warranty. If you are not clear on the definition of terms such as power-train, drive-train or any electrical components covered, then get with someone who is and get educated. Also remember that mileage and time conditions of the warranty may vary for different systems of your vehicle.
Know what your responsibilities are in the warranty agreement and follow them. Remember that a warranty is an agreement, not an entitlement. There are certain things you must do! For example, make sure you know what systems require service and follow the manufacturer's recommended mileage intervals. Keep complete records of your service work (this is especially important when it comes time for a claim).
Find out the amount of the deductible in the event you have to file a claim. Also, how is the payment made to the repair facility? Some warranty companies have the insured pay the repair facility, and then they reimburse the insured. Other companies pay the repair facility directly.
Make sure you understand what is wearable (maintenance items), because your extended warranty will not cover such items. Some examples are brake shoes/pads, oil or air filters, tires, shock absorbers or struts, belts and hoses, just to mention a few.
The extended warranty industry has come a long way in the last 20 years. Many horror stories have been told about unsuspecting customers buying warranty plans that did absolutely nothing for them when it came time to file a claim. Not only did they have to pay for the repair, but they also were out the money they had paid for the "warranty."
However, there have been many positive changes in the warranty industry. There are warranty companies today that offer extended coverage even on private sales! This was unheard of previously. Giants in the industry such as AIG (American International Group), with offices in over 130 countries and jurisdictions around the world, have stepped into this arena and filled a need that had been ignored.
In summary, if you plan to keep your vehicle for a long period of time (beyond 36 months), and you want that peace of mind of a warranty beyond the factory coverage, then follow these tips and enjoy the benefits of an extended warranty.
It’s the end of year and dealers are dealin’! How about a new or pre-owned Hyundai? Dealers are looking to end the year on a positive note with lots of steel rollin’ over the curb! I know that for Hyundai, we have all kinds of “Holiday Cash” incentives to take advantage of, so I ask all my friends to look me up at Towne Hyundai/Autochoice on the corner of Southwestern Boulevard and Milestrip Road in Orchard Park. If you’re looking for a pre-owner vehicle, at Towne Automotive Group we scour every pre-owned vehicle with our 115-point inspection before it goes on the lot for sale. We’ve been doing this for a long time with a stellar track record of happy customers, so you can rest assured that you’re buying a solid, safe vehicle for you and your family.
When you come in, just ask for Tom T. You can e-mail me at: TomT@TowneAuto.Com or give me a call at 662-7400, ext. 534. I’ll help you find the exact vehicle you are looking for. Having been in the car business going on 30 years now, there’s not much I haven’t seen, so e-mail, give me a call or stop by to take advantage of my expertise and the great Hyundai incentives for the holiday season! I’ll put you into the right vehicle for you, your family and your budget.
Till next time … keep rollin’!
Tom Torbjornsen is an automotive journalist in good standing with the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) and the Motor Press Guild (MPG), Tom has been the repair and maintenance editor for AOL Autos, At Home Portals and many other websites. You can hear his radio show, “America’s Car Show,” locally on WKSN 1340 AM via the SSI Radio Network at 8 a.m. Saturday. Tom’s television show, “America’s Car Show,” can be seen on Buffalo’s WBBZ-TV. The show airs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and is re-aired at 9 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Saturday.
For more information, visit www.americascarshow.com, follow America’s Car Show on Facebook for frequent updates, or email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find Tom’s latest book, “How To Make Your Car Last Forever,” at Barnes & Nobel and Amazon.com.