Can I buy a warranty for a used car?
December 29, 2010 2:49 PM   Subscribe

If I buy a used car at a private sale, are there mechanics that sell warranties for this car?

I've looked online, but it's not super clear how it would work with a warranty purchased online.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to take the car to a mechanic who would say:

"Yup, this car is in pretty good shape. I'll give you a 2 year bumper to bumper warranty for 2 thousand dollars."

Does anyone know if this is done a lot, and if so if it's worth your while?

posted by fantasticninety to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the UK at least you can buy warranties separate from the manufacturer's warranty on cars (within limits) of any age. It's just like a regular insurance contract. I assume that if it's financially sound here in the UK, someone in the US or wherever you're from will also offer it.
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2010

You can buy a warranty, but the people you buy it from are usually going to make money on the deal. Consumer organizations generally recommend not doing this.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:07 PM on December 29, 2010

I doubt you'd get a full-car warranty directly from any mechanic. Most mechanics will warrant any work they actually do, of course, but offering an up-front bumper-to-bumper warranty on a used car without a known, detailed service/repair record is just asking for trouble.

There are, of course, lots of companies out there offering exactly what you're looking for. I can't vouch for their usefulness, though. Frankly, they all smell fishy to me. Kind of like the ads that offer complete family health insurance for $200/month.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:09 PM on December 29, 2010

This is really nothing more than you making a bet with a mechanic. They get to look at the car and bet whether or not it will break down in a given time frame. You can be assured they will only take the bet if it's likely they will come out ahead on the deal. Also, any warranty you get is likely to require you to have all your service done by them. The manufacturer's original warranty serves as a reassurance to the person who buys the car new. Any "aftermarket" warranty is just designed to separate you from your money.
posted by cosmicbandito at 5:18 PM on December 29, 2010

If you buy a used car at a private sale any worthwhile warranty would cost you the price of a good used car.
posted by Floydd at 6:31 PM on December 29, 2010

If you're prepared to make this kind of bet with a mechanic, it means you're not confident enough in the quality of the car you've just bought to justify having spent the money on it. So, just have the car checked out by a mechanic you trust, and if there are foreseeable expensive repairs in its future, don't buy it. Then make the warranty bet with yourself instead: stick the thousand bucks a year's warranty would have cost you up front into a bank account, and dip into that account for stuff you think should have been covered under the warranty. That way, both of you come out ahead. You'll also find yourself much less trouble to deal with than a claims adjuster.
posted by flabdablet at 11:08 PM on December 29, 2010

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