Americans are holding on to their cars in record numbers, hoping that their clunkers will survive the long recession. While this is a smart move during downturns, motorists could save more if they match their plan with an extended wear and tear warranty.
The research firm R. L. Polk & Company says that the average age of cars in the U.S. was 9.4 years in 2008, up from 9.2 the year before. But with many car dealers offering full warranty packages only up to three years, that means six more years of worries and repair payments to keep the cars running.
Older cars incur high maintenance costs, and when their warranties expire, keeping them can seriously strain personal finances. The American Automobile Association lists 10 things to check regularly, including engine air filters, engine oil, battery cables and clamps, tire treads and drive belt tensioners. It’s a good checklist, but for cars without extended warranty, it’s a bit of luxury.
Many car parts wear down over time — they don’t break — which makes them ineligible for coverage under mechanical breakdown warranties. With an extended auto warranty, motorists can pamper their cars with the same check-ups as new cars in a cost-efficient way.
And when the right time comes to sell or trade them, well-maintained cars obviously command higher prices than jalopies. That’s real money, and enough reason to buy an extended auto warranty.