Mechanic reveals whether he thinks the extended warranty is worth it

@royaltyautoservice/TikTok KMPZZZ/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Check it out before you spend thousands’: Mechanic reveals whether he thinks the extended warranty is worth it

'CarMax warranty is by FAR the best one I’ve ever had.'


Phil West


Posted on Mar 15, 2024   Updated on Mar 15, 2024, 12:43 pm CDT

An auto shop representative has some warnings about extended warranties, as well as some concerning stories about what your mechanic might encounter as you’re trying to use one.

The TikTok video delving into extended warranties comes from Royalty Auto Service (@royaltyautoservice), an automotive shop based in St. Mary’s, Georgia. The account claims it’s “giving you a glimpse into the automotive repair industry,” and the video from Jan. 28 is one of its most popular videos of the year, bringing in more than 1.2 million views.

The nearly four-minute video dives into extended warranties, with the worker saying there are two kinds—ones that come from dealerships and others that are otherwise offered to customers, usually with monthly payments.

He opines, of the latter, “I would not recommend those,” and then adds, “And a lot of the ones that you buy at the dealerships are not much better. Here’s what you’ve got to remember: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the warranties per se. You just have to know there’s a contract; you need to read that contract very closely.”

As an example, he says a warranty might cover elements of an air conditioning system going out. If the compressor goes out, he claims the accumulator also needs to be replaced, even though the accumulator didn’t technically fail—and therefore, that part of the repair wouldn’t be covered.

He recommends having someone experienced with warranties read through them. While your mechanic is not a lawyer, if you have a mechanic you trust, that person has likely seen enough warranties to be able to gauge whether yours will help you in times of need. He did mention, offhandedly, that CarMax’s extended warranties are good.

He also notes that warranty providers aren’t necessarily the easiest for mechanics to deal with.

“I’ve seen one of my employees sit on the phone over there literally for eight hours on hold with the warranty company, with that phone sitting on speaker doing their work while they’re waiting for someone to pick up because it’s almost like a war of attrition,” he says. “They’re just waiting for us to hang up and give up. We jump all the fiery hoops for our clients because we want to get the stuff taken care of.”

He also reveals at the end, “If you don’t use them, there’s ways to get out of them and get some of your money back. Just throwing that out there.”

This is true, according to a Forbes article on how to cancel extended warranties. The article notes, “As a buyer, it is within your right to cancel an extended warranty at any time. The process may not be simple, but it is possible. Once you cancel your plan, you will receive a refund for the unused portion of your extended warranty’s policy. You will not receive a check in the mail, but the amount of the policy will be removed from your principal’s balance.”

@royaltyautoservice Replying to @Zac Johnson Just have someone who knows what they are looking check it out before you spend thousands.. #warranty #carwarranty #mechanic #mechaniclife #technician #cartok #autorepair #automotive #tips #advice #help #viral #duet #stitch #car #fyp #foryou #scam ♬ Pop beat BGM / long version(1283324) – nightbird_bgm

A Car and Driver article from November 2022 doesn’t conclusively answer the question in its title, “Is an Extended Car Warranty Worth It?” It does, however, float some scenarios in which you’d be more likely to get value out of it, including whether your car is unreliable, whether you’re anxious about your car, if you’re willing to pay for a service you might not use, and how long you plan to keep your car.

Commenters had thoughts.

“My CarMax warranty had expired 20 days prior to automatic lift gate failure,” one shared. “CarMax said, ah, that’s close enough and they repaired it and provided.”

Another said, “CarMax warranty is by FAR the best one I’ve ever had.”

Someone else shared, “I did in fact use an extended warranty once to replace a whole engine.”

But not all were fans. One shared, “Husband got suckered into extended warranties at the dealer. So far NOTHING has been covered by said warranty.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Royalty Auto Service via online contact form.

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*First Published: Mar 15, 2024, 5:00 pm CDT