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  #1  
Old 08-05-2010, 10:36 AM
erm
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Default So Does An Extended Warranty Pay For Itself? Yup...

I know many folks wonder if it's worth buying an extended warranty, such as Chrysler Service Contract's 7/70 MaxCare warranty.

Look at it as buying insurance. If you need it, it is nice to have. If you don't have it and need it, that can get expensive.

A couple cases to illustrate this and some suggestions to consider if you are shopping for one.

1. In 1982 I purchased a K-Car wagon. Yup, Ioccoca's Wunder Car. 2.2L 4 cylinder, 4 speed manual. I had heard that the lower control arm bushings were a problem on the car. So, for around $500 I purchased something similar to today's MaxCare extended warranty.

I had to replace those lower control arm bushings 5 times at around a shop price of $200 per repair. I also had a front transaxle problem that was around $900. My deductible on that warranty was $25. Six repairs @ $25 was $150 vs. the estimated $1900 I would have had to pay had I not had the warranty.

2. In 1986 I purchased a Ford Taurus wagon. (I've owned 4 Fords...3 blew up on me and one tried to kill me.) I purchased a powertrain warranty with a $50 deductible. Three times within 12,000 miles the transaxle in that POS literally came apart, destroying not only the gear set but also the axles and the case. $150 bucks is all I paid for three transaxles. That car was such a piece of crap that I let my ex-wife have it as part of the divorce settlement. They deserved one another.

I have had warranties on other cars or trucks that didn't pay off because there were no catastrophic failures although it did cost me $150 to have the entire differential replaced on my '95 Impala SS. That was a $2500 job. The warranty on that car cost me just under $1,000 so I'd say it paid for itself.

So we move on to my '07 Ram. I purchased the MaxCare warranty on that vehicle for right at $1500. My deductible is $100. I also have it on my '06 300 SRT8 with the same terms. I haven't collected on the SRT8, yet, but I expect I will shortly. One or both of my cooling fans has given up.

Anyway, the warranty on the truck is starting to pay off. I've been suffering from a vibration in the rear. Thinking it was a tire or wheel problem, I did 4 road force balances, replaced two tires, did 2 more road force balances, replaced the shocks (the stockers needed to be done in any event), did a rotation, checked the wheels for runout to make sure they weren't bent and even went with an entirely new set of wheels and tires. All to no avail.

The first time I took the truck into the dealer on the issue, it had the Ultra wheels with the Cooper tires. The service ticket came back with, "Cannot duplicate customer's complaint" and I was told it was just the nature of a lifted truck with knobby, oversized tires. I bit my tongue and worked the tire and wheel issue, knowing that I had no tire and wheel issue but wanted to eliminate that as a cause and document it.

So I take it in, talk to my service advisor, describe the issue, point out all the things I had done to eliminate the tires and wheels as a contributor to the problem and stated that the very same vibration occurs at the exact same highway speeds.

This time, the "customer's complaint" proved out. The tech drove the truck and had the service manager with him. They did feel the vibration. They put the truck on the lift, noted that the rear u-joint was worn and the intermediate driveshaft carrier bearing assembly was "rough". They replaced both parts and test drove it again, proclaiming that the vibration was gone.

I picked it up last night and went for a test drive.

By Golly, they were right.

It cost me $100, estimated cost would have been right around $400. I have $1200 in covered repairs to go for the warranty to pay off. I won't mind if I never have to collect on it but it's nice to have it, just in case.

So if anyone asks me if an extended warranty is worth it, I'll respond with "YES!"

Sorry for the length of this post...I just get all excited and giddy when stuff like this happens and my decisions to do certain things are validated by the results.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:00 AM
iRESQu iRESQu is offline
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That's awesome, Michael. I am already considering buying one for my Ram as well. Very nice write up! You make some very valid points. Why do we buy $25k-$50k vehicles and can't do $1k Extended Warranty to protect it? A little ironic, isn't it? Glad it worked out for you and way to document your complaint! GREAT JOB!
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:14 AM
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That's awesome! Glad to hear the good news!
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:42 AM
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Glad to hear you're getting your truck fixed, but at the same time, an extended warranty is one of those things I think it would actually be better to NOT get your moneys worth. That being said, I do have it on my truck as well.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:11 PM
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I had purchased the extended warranty on my 300M . Lost the a/c in it . The repairs were extensive : new evaporator (dash had to be removed) , new compressor , new expansion valve , and new dryer . Basically everything got replaced . I knew it needed the compressor and evaporator . I paid my $50.00 deductible . Bill was submitted for close to $1500.00 It paid off for me .
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:22 PM
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Forgot this one : Bought my 2003 Cadillac Deville from Carmax . Took it back with a list on it before my 30 day warranty was up . They fixed everything . Took it back about 2 years later . Bunch of issues with it . If you let Carmax do the repairs , it's a $25.00 deductible . If you let a independent garage fix it , it's a $50.00 deductible . I had a bad r/f wheel bearing , coolant leak (water pump area) , inoperative seat heaters , miss in engine . Thats the big money issues . I thought it was a $25.00 deductible for each item . It turns out it would be a $25.00 deductible per visit . The bill on the car turned out to be just under $4000.00 . I happily paid my $25.00 . They ended up replacing both front wheel bearings , rack and pinion and a hand full of other things . On top of that , they used factory parts . I love my extended warranty .
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:30 PM
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This is good to know, I've never bought an extended warranty, mostly because I modify my vehicles so much that I normally fall into the 'customer caused failure' section
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:02 PM
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My rule of thumb is if it costs more than $1000 to replace my purchase, I buy the extended warranty. This included vehicles and other consumer goods.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:12 PM
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so just an update on the most recent fix/problem with the vibration.

They didn't get rid of it, but it does ride better. The vibration is still there, at the same speeds.

So it went back to the dealer on Wednesday and they still have it.

They said they aren't guessing but after talking to them this afternoon, it is apparent they are running out of ideas.

First they wanted to know when I lifted it. I told them they sold it to me lifted.

Then they wanted to know about the new wheels and tires. I went through the whole litany of doing 4 road force balances, replacing two tires we couldn't get in spec, two more road force balances, replacing the wheels and tires THEY put on the truck before they sold it to me and that the same condition exists.

So they were measuring pinion angles, they suggested they pull the wheels and tires off and put a stock set on which I questioned. How do I know how that's gonna turn out and even if the stock wheels and tires they would use are in good balance? I know the ones that are on there are in good balance and I gave them the road force balance results from the shop. I told them that swapping tires and wheels was a waste of time (after seeing the road force results they agreed) and that they needed to keep working on a mechanical solution.

I know they are trying but I wonder how much longer they are gonna be willing to work on this problem before they throw their hands in the air and tell me, "It is what it is." or "We can't find the problem." Or "We can't find the problem but we're pretty sure it's the lift and that's not a warranty coverage item." Or...well, we'll see. No use borrowing trouble..LOL

More later on this continuing saga as it develops... <sigh>
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2010, 10:24 PM
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Did they have the drive shaft balance checked?
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