Should I Buy an Extended Warranty on a Used Car?

Get Car Financing
Even with poor credit.

By

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - October 29, 2019

Used vehicles are typically sold as is, but dealers often offer extended warranties, also known as service contracts. Whether or not you should purchase an extended warranty is up to you, but here are some things to help you make an informed decision.

Choosing a Used Car

Buying a used car means that you need to pay extra attention to the condition of the vehicle at the time of purchase. If there are any issues, you should know about them so you can decide how important that issue is, and whether or not it affects your decision to buy the car or an extended warranty.

Financing a vehicle with known issues isn’t the best way to begin the process, but if it's likely to cause more problems down the road, you might be glad having that extended warranty.

Before you purchase any used or certified pre-owned car, you should thoroughly check it out:

  • Do a walk-around – Walk around the vehicle and really look at it to evaluate its condition. Do a visual assessment and check for body damage, signs of wear, scratches or dents, and signs of repair.
  • Make sure all buttons, dials, and switches work – Turn all the dials, press all the buttons, and make sure everything works the way it should. Make sure the doors, windows, trunk, and hood open, close, and lock properly. Check the air conditioning and the heat, and don’t forget to make sure the seats move the way they should, and that all the seat belts work.
  • Look under the hood – Before you hit the road for a test drive, also look under the hood. Does the engine compartment look clean and well cared for? Are there any leaves or bare wires, or is oil covering everything? It’s often easy to make the inside and outside look nice, but if the car looks run-down under the hood, take heed.
  • Take a test drive – On your test drive, you should drive on the same type of roads you take every day in order to see how the vehicle handles. It's also a good idea to take it on the freeway to see how it drives. While on the test drive, make sure to turn off the radio and listen to the way the car sounds. If the salesman is riding along, don’t let them talk so much that they distract you from discovering any potential issues.

Now that you know what you’re looking for with a particular used vehicle, you can have it inspected by a trusted mechanic and then decide if it's the right car for you. If so, do you need to purchase an extended warranty to help cover service and parts?

Extended Warranties Offer Peace of Mind

Perhaps the biggest perk of extended warranties is that they give drivers peace of mind, knowing that should something happen to their vehicle, covered repairs typically don’t have to be paid for out of pocket. Of course, service contract coverage varies by issuer, so make sure that you know if the plan you’re purchasing covers the car bumper to bumper, or only covers certain mechanical failures.

In some cases, dealerships offer coverage you can customize, so that issues you’re more likely to encounter are covered. When you’re purchasing a used vehicle, it’s important to do your homework, and know the kinds of known issues other owners of a particular make and model have had. This way, you can be sure to get coverage you’re most likely to need.

Getting a used car warranty is always a gamble – you may never need it. Whether a service contract is a good investment for you depends on if you’re the type of person that would rather have coverage and not need it, or don’t mind paying if something happens.

Choosing the Right Coverage from the Right Dealer

When you’re financing a vehicle, the dealer usually offers you the option of a service contract at the time of purchase. If you opt for this dealership add-on, you can typically pay in cash or roll it into the loan. Keep in mind that this increases the overall cost, but you can rest assured knowing that you can bring your car back to the dealer if it needs a covered repair.

If you have bad credit, not only do you need to choose the right coverage for a service contract, you have to make sure you’re going to the right dealership. This is because not all dealers work with lenders that can finance people who struggle with credit issues. Those that do, called subprime lenders, only work through special finance dealerships.

Here at CarsDirect, we can help you find the special finance dealer you’re looking for. We work with a nationwide network of these dealerships that have the lending resources you need.

Don’t wait any longer to find your next vehicle, and don’t let bad credit stand in your way. Simply fill out our easy, fast, and free car loan request form today, and we’ll get to work matching you with a local dealer.

Free Credit Score

Get your free credit score now! Get a copy of your most recent credit score.

Get Your Free Score

Auto Insurance

Get competitive quotes on insurance in your area.

Sell Your Car

We will buy any car, running or not, with or (in most cases) without the title.

Get My Price

Need a Car Loan?

It only takes a minute.

Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


Loan approval is not guaranteed and is subject to credit application and approval of the lender. Individual loan terms may vary. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of CarsDirect.com's Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

Privacy Policy|Terms of Use|Cookie Policy|Disclaimer
COPYRIGHT 1999-2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com