Extended car warranties -- worth it?

My current car has recently reached voting age and I am thinking that it will soon be time for me to start looking for a replacement. I’ve done some research and so far my top pick is Honda CR-V with EX or EX-L trim. That car has a decent amount of complex electronics and sensors that my current mechanic would probably not be able to work on if an issue comes up, so I am trying to decide whether purchasing an extended warranty on such vehicle would make sense. I’ve also done research into HondaCare and know that there’re dealers like College Hills Honda, Saccucci Honda or Hyannis Honda that will sell the warranty for significantly smaller markup than others. My question to the community is whether people think it makes sense to purchase an extended warranty for a relatively complex modern car like CR-V EX (I’d not be considering an extended warranty on Toyota Yaris L).

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Honda CR-V? Not worth it.


If you do get an extended warranty, make sure it is one that is offered by the car manufacturer itself, not a third party. Even the dealer could be selling third party warranties. And above all, throw away all those offers you get in the USPS mail about extended warranties for your new car.

I like Clark Howard’s take on an extended warranty for your car. Think of it as an insurance product to get you through an unexpected major repair bill that might otherwise leave you without transportation for an extended period of time, because you can’t afford to fix the car. If that scenario is possible, buy the extended warranty to avoid that scenario. But otherwise, if a repair bill would not be devastating and impactful to your ability to produce income, then stay away from them … your expected return is far less than what you paid.


If you’re considering buying a warranty for your used car, listen to this podcast done by a lemon law attorney about the subject. As you can probably tell from the title, it’s a bad idea.


I agree. Skip it. My dealings was I bought a 2009 Audi and my friend who was a mechanic said “Those cars are complex, you better get the warranty” (kind of like what you’re facing), so I did. I think it was $3k or something for an additional 5 years.

The only time I was considering using it, I read the fine print and it basically says you need to have ALL the supporting documents for any repair you’ve ever done and it needed to be done by an official mechanic at the dealership. (This was a 3rd party extended warranty, not something through the Audi dealership). It also said that you have to show documentation that you did all the required scheduled maintenance, at a dealer (no Walmart oil changes…) and have proof of that as well.

Basically, a TON of reasons on why to not include it. The car had a bad oil leak, fortunately, it was covered under a recall or it would’ve cost $15-20k for an engine. Yep… They replaced the short block, and I have a practically new car (well, new engine at least!) thanks to the recall.

I’ve never used the 3rd party warranty, and honestly, I’ve always been able to find a mechanic (not my friend, unfortunately) that was willing to do the repairs for much cheaper than what the dealership charges – and some of them are mechanics FROM the dealership that do side work, so they know what they are doing.

Just my $.02, but I’d skip it. Honda’s are built very well and I’m sure you’ll have much ease.



Thank you for all the comments so far. Few points I wanted to bring up after reading posts above.

HondaCare from a decent online dealer would cost around $900-1000 for 7-8 / 100,000 plan. (Less than ~4% of the price the car tends to sell for).
HondaCare does appear to allow to have maintenance done by the third party and still keep warranty eligibility (according to FAQ here: Honda Care - Everything you ever wanted to know.)

My primary concern is that this vehicle will have issues with electronics / cameras / sensors that require extensive diagnostics and special equipment at the dealer, and given the dealership labor rate and parts cost a single issue with those components will set me back over $1000. I recognize that this kind of issue will most likely crop up early (and it does, according to what I’ve read at the CR-V forum so far), but if it shows up at 40k miles I’ll be a pretty unhappy camper. I am at least a few month away from the purchase, so I’ll keep collecting data.

Another point I found interesting is that HondaCare for CR-V LX (no Honda Sensing) and Touring trims have the same warranty cost. Wonder if the actuarial model assumes the potential repair cost for an ‘average’ trim or a Touring trim.

“My primary concern is that this vehicle will have issues with electronics / cameras / sensors that require extensive diagnostics and special equipment at the dealer, and given the dealership labor rate and parts cost a single issue with those components will set me back over $1000. I recognize that this kind of issue will most likely crop up early (and it does, according to what I’ve read at the CR-V forum so far), but if it shows up at 40k miles I’ll be a pretty unhappy camper.”

Highlighted a very valid point which is that electronic problems usually show up early, which means they’d be covered by your regular warranty. And IF it’s a larger problem across the product line it will be covered by a Manufacturer’s recall.

So why bet against the people selling the warranty, unless it will help you sleep at night?

Another option is to trade the vehicle in, instead of dealing with fixing it.

I think there are cases where an extended warranty maxes sense, however your case is probably not one of them.

I think it makes sense to buy an extended warranty on a highly unreliable car (i.e. Mercedes S-class, Range Rover, etc) where buying a used car without this warranty wouldn’t make much sense. Carmax seems to be quite a popular place to buy these pre-owned unreliable cars from.


Not worth it. Manufacturer’s warranty is sufficient for any major issues to present themselves.

If a warranty company can sell an extended warranty for a specific amount of money, its because its statistically very likely that on-average the true cost of repairs over the covered time-frame will be less than the cost of the warranty – plus the cost of administrative overhead – plus profit.

I stopped buying extended warranties years ago when I realized that I’m essentially pre-paying for a modestly expensive repair that seldom ever happened. At best, the warranty would be a “win” after the SECOND modestly expensive repair and I found that I frequently never had even the “first” modestly expensive repair.

Today I treat cars like “transportation appliances” that I love about as much as I love a good vacuum cleaner or toaster-oven. I want a vacuum cleaner that’s pleasant to use and one that works well. However, I’m not trying to impress anyone with it and it’s not a status symbol.

Over time I’ve gotten lots and lots more brave about fixing cars when they give me troubles and it has become somewhat of a science project to see if I can learn how to fix them faster than they break down. Trust me, I don’t necessarily enjoy fixing them and getting all dirty, but I do get a sense of satisfaction over my success. I recommend that everyone should have a similar attitude.

Even if you don’t fix them yourself, make yourself knowledgeable so you can manage your mechanic and avoid being ripped off. Over time, the odds are good that you’ll be able to maintain your car(s) far more economically than an extended warranty company or the dealership can.

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I bought one on my 2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L with RES from Saccucci for like $1200, 7-8 year 120K. I’m not entirely sure when or if I’m going to use it I’m at 5 years and 50K. So far I’ve had 1 issue I wanted to use my warranty on, a steering issue. I pushed to get it covered, was told no, it wouldn’t be covered as it was essentially them taking the steering column apart and greasing it with special grease, if there was a part to replace, it would be covered. I was annoyed, but it fixed the problem for $100.

I had a 2003 accord where the radio went out and the AC compressor, out of warranty. After that I was a little gun shy on an Odyssey with electronics as well. My Subaru STi is flying without an extended warranty, i don’t think I’m keeping it long term

As with most things , there’s no universal rule . Warranties can be excellent buys for some cars , I frequent the Mercedes forums and people were routinely getting $20k of warranty work buying a $3000 warranty from Chrysler on 8 year old used cars (back when it was Daimler Chrysler )

This. Most cases you will be fine without, but the brands mentioned it might be worth considering. Especially used. Doug Demuro’s video about his carmax range rover : Range Rover Catastrophe: Another CarMax Warranty Update - YouTube

I hate that Doug calls that car his best purchase ever. Sure, the warranty was the best purchase ever. But how could you call a car that has that many problems a good purchase? I’ve had my share of crummy used cars and good used cars and I absolutely consider the ones that I didn’t need to take in to get repaired better cars than the ones that broke all the time. And I would still feel that way even if the repairs on the ones that broke all the time were 100% covered by a warranty.