Extended Car Warranty

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We reviewed 10 extended car warranty companies based on business ratings, coverage options, claims, repair centers and cost. CARCHEX scored a perfect 10 across all categories and is this year’s winner for the best car warranty company.


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Top Ranked Companies

Below you will find the results of our exhaustive research to find the best extended auto warranty company. We compared over 35 different metrics and performed in-depth analysis on 10 companies. View our comprehensive comparison chart that compares each company’s business ratings, coverage options and much more.

CARCHEX

CARCHEX Highlights

  • A+ BBB Rating
  • BBB Accreditation
  • Available in 50 States
  • Choose Your Own Repair Facility
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Affordable Plans

AutoPOM!

AutoPOM! Highlights

  • A+ BBB Rating
  • BBB Accreditation
  • Available in 50 States
  • 60-Day Money Back Guarantee

Endurance

Endurance Highlights

  • A+ BBB Rating
  • BBB Accreditation
  • Available in 50 States
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee


Buyer’s Guide

When you buy a new vehicle it will come with a warranty that will cover certain things that may malfunction or break on the vehicle within a specified amount of time.  Most normal warranties are 3 years/36,000 miles.  An Extended Car Warranty or vehicle service contract as they are sometimes called, are purchased by many vehicle owners to either extend the manufacturer’s warranty once it runs out or to cover a existing car they have that they would like to get covered. It offers a lot of peace of mind for the vehicle owner in the event of a breakdown or malfunction in the car.

There are many things you need to know about extended car warranties to ensure that you choose not only the best plan but the best company to purchase that plan from.  There are many companies that offer extended car warranties and it can get a little overwhelming to sort through them all, along with all the plans to figure out which is the best value for the money that really offers you protection.


How Extended Car Warranties Work?

When a vehicle owner has an extended car warranty, the car is covered when mechanical failure occurs or a malfunction of some kind happens. Certain coverage plans cover specific things, so it is very important that the vehicle owner knows exactly what is covered and what is not to avoid any problems when repairs need to be made.

One of the most important steps of the process for buying an extended car warranty and really making it work for you is to understand exactly what type of coverage you are getting.  Most regular warranties and extended car warranties don’t cover repairs that are needed due to accidents, so the vehicle owner needs to understand the ins and outs of the coverage plan that is chosen so there are no disappoints later when repairs ARE needed.

how extended car warranties workThe process of the ECW (extended car warranty) is fairly straightforward although there can be some slight variations from company to company. When there is a repair that needs to be done, the extended warranty holder (vehicle owner) takes their vehicle to whatever repair facility they choose, as long as it is ASE certified. The repair facility contacts the contract administrator to report that a claim needs to be made BEFORE repairs are made.  Once the plan administrator verifies that the contract is current and up to date and that the needed repairs are covered under the plan, the repairs can be made and the contract administrator pays the repair facility.

You will be responsible for paying any deductible that is required for your plan. Most plans have a standard $100 deductible but some offer $50 and $0, so if you do owe one you will need to pay it, possibly before the repair bill will be paid by the contract administrator.

Mistakes that can cause your claim to not be paid are taking it to an unlicensed repair facility, having repairs done BEFORE the claims administrator is called and authorization is obtained, falling behind on your contract payments, and not following the terms of the contract in other ways such as not keeping up with maintenance requirements on the covered vehicle.


 

Comparison Chart

BUSINESS RATINGS
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
# Years in Business 15 5 8 4 16 20 12 3 11 15
BBB Rating A+ A+ A+ B A+ A C+ B+ C- D
BBB Accredited
COVERAGE
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
# of States Coverage is Available In 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
Many Plan Options
Exclusions Clearly Stated
Restrictions on Mileage
24/7 Roadside Assistance
Car Rental Benefit
Towing Service
Trip Interruption Reimbursement  
Optional Coverage Packages
Extended Towing Benefit
Lockout Benefit
Fuel Delivery
COST
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
Monthly Payment Plans
Money Back Guarantee 30 60 30 30 30 60 30 30 30 30
REPAIR
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
Choose Your Own Repair Facility
Company Pays Repair Facility Directly
CONTRACT AND QUOTES
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
Preview Contract Online
Contract is Transferable
Contract is Renewable
Cancellation Policy Easy to Find
Free Quotes Online
Free Quotes by Phone
Deductible
HELP AND SUPPORT
carchex-logoVISIT autopomVISIT endurance-warranty-servicesVISIT easy-care-warrantyReview easy-care-warrantyReview warrantydirectReview aa-auto-protectionReview awaReview pinnacle-automotive-protectionReview direct-buy-auto-warrantyReview
24-hour Support for Contract Holders
Live Chat
Telephone Support
Email Support
FAQs Section
Social Media

 


A Glossary of Common Terminology

extended-car-warranty-terminologyThere is a lot of terminology that is used in extended car warranty contracts that a vehicle owner may not be familiar with.  Outlined below is a list of the most common terms and their definitions.  Knowing what these are can help you understand what your contract includes and what the agent is talking about when you are purchasing your warranty.

  • Administrator – The company or people responsible for handling the day to day operations and management of the contracts. These are the people that take the calls from the repair facilities, authorize the repairs and take care of payment.
  • ASE-Certified – Certification testing that is done by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
  • Authorization – Means approval for specific actions. Any repairs that have to be done on the vehicle must be authorized by the administrators of the contract or they will not be covered.
  • Basic Warranty – another name for the manufacturer’s warranty. These warranties are typically only for a specified time period such as 3 years/36,000 miles, and cover most things except wear and tear items and maintenance items such as brake pads, spark plugs, tires, oil, filters, etc.
  • Bumper-to-Bumper – Most often seen in the full coverage plans, bumper to bumper means that almost every part and component of your vehicle is covered except for what is on the excluded list.
  • Certified Car – These are also called pre-owned vehicles and have been thoroughly inspected and reconditioned for re-sale by the manufacturer or a dealer.
  • Claims Reserve Accounts – This is an important one as they are funds that have been set aside specifically for the payments of current and future repairs of their contract customers. A company that has claims reserve accounts show their stability and ability to pay the customers’ claims.
  • Component – a part or element of a larger group of parts, such as a compressor of an A/C unit.
  • Consumable items – The items that fall under this category are typically not covered by an extended car warranty because of how often they need to be replaced. This list includes such items as wind shield wiper blades, oil filters, oil and power steering fluid, tires, air filters, etc…
  • Corrosion Warranty – This type of coverage can be seen in states that have extreme cold temperatures or harsh weather of any kind. Their purpose is to cover the cost of repairs for vehicle owners that encounter corrosion problems on the exterior of the owner’s car.
  • Deductible – This is the term that indicates what the vehicle owner is responsible for paying out of pocket towards the cost of the repairs. Deductibles can be $100, $50 or $0 typically in an extended car warranty. Some companies let you choose the deductible you want and others have a standard deductible that the vehicle owner will be responsible for. The deductibles can be per repair or per visit.
  • Drive Train – Also known as the Powertrain and is responsible for transferring power from one place to another in the engine. Items in the Powertrain include drive belt, running belt, rollers, motor and transmission. This is usually covered in even the most basic of extended warranties.
  • Emissions Warranty – The are a couple of companies that offer emissions warranty add-ons that cover the catalytic converter, the electronic emissions control unit and onboard diagnostic device. This is more than likely ALWAYS an optional add on and not part of a standard package.
  • Extended Warranty – This is a warranty that goes beyond the date of the original warranty that came with the vehicle. You can get extended car warranties from the car dealership or any number of third party extended warranty provider
  • Exclusionary Coverage – This type of coverage is the type that most customers want because it includes bumper-to-bumper style coverage for the vehicle. It is shorter to list the items that are excluded by the warranty than it would be to try and list the thousands of parts that are covered. This type of coverage is much better than standard named component coverage.
  • In-service Date – This date is when the vehicle was purchased and first driven off the lot.
  • Maintenance Guidelines – Each car manufacturer has their own specifications on the proper upkeep and maintenance of a vehicle. These will include things like the type of oil (weight) to use, the proper tire pressure to maintain, and dates that regular oil changes or tune ups should occur.  The specifications will vary from car to car. These maintenance items are the responsibility of the vehicle owner and are not covered by extended car warranties.
  • Named Component Coverage – These are more basic level warranties that cover only certain named components. This type of coverage can neglect a lot of the items that are usually covered by the exclusionary type warranties.
  • Optional Coverage: This is coverage that can be added to the standard programs already packaged and can include electronics, towing services, and vehicle parts. A vehicle owner does not have to purchase optional coverage plans.
  • Powertrain Warranty – A warranty that covers the main mechanical systems that power the vehicle. Many car manufacturer’s will offer a Powertrain warranty along with the regular manufacturer’s warranty and can offer coverage for more mileage and for a longer time than the regular warranty does.
  • Recall – If a part or component of a vehicle is discovered to be dangerous or defective, the manufacturer often issues recalls on the vehicles with the item or component. In many cases they will recall the vehicle to the dealer to be fixed.  If you ignore these recall notices, it can void your entire warranty.
  • Repair Facility – Used a lot in extended car warranty contracts, a repair facility is any ASE-certified mechanic, body shop, national chain repair center or other similar type of facility.
  • Rental Benefit – Most extended car warranty companies offer some form of car rental benefits in their roadside assistance packages. These can be called rental benefits, car rental reimbursement and simply car rental. The benefits vary from company to company.
  • Roadside Assistance – Most extended car warranty companies offer additional benefits with their programs that include some kind of roadside assistance. This is usually a 24-hour benefit that the vehicle owner can use once every 72 hours but this will vary from company to company.  Roadside assistance most often includes towing benefits, car rental, emergency gas or tire changes and other services.
  • Technical Service Bulletin- TSBs are documents that are distributed by the auto maker to the authorized dealers. The purpose of the document is to inform service technicians of known problems and how to fix them. These documents can save a lot of time during the diagnostic process. The issues listed in TSBs are not always covered under extended car warranties.
  • Transferable – Many extended warranties are table to be transferred to a new owner when a car is sold. There are restrictions, but most extended car warranties are transferable one time during the course of a contract as long as the stipulations are met.
  • Trip Interruption Reimbursement or Benefit – Many companies offer trip interruption reimbursement which means a benefit will be paid to cover costs associated with a trip that was not able to be completed due to a breakdown that is covered. Included items are hotel fees, airline fees or deposits that are lost due to not being able to meet check in deadlines, etc. the benefit will only be a certain dollar amount and not the entire amount.
  • Vehicle Identification Number – Also known as the VIN, this is your vehicle’s identification number that is assigned when the car is manufactured. This number is used for many things and will be needed when you purchase an extended car warranty as well as for any repairs that need to be done.
  • Wear-and-Tear – A term used to describe the normal use and wearing out of certain parts and components and are generally not part of the covered parts of the vehicle because they have to be replaced frequently.

Coverage Options

There are many different types of coverage options that a vehicle owner can choose when purchasing an extended car warranty.  Each company will have their own variations of coverage options but in general each company will have a form of a basic Powertrain warranty, a middle of the road coverage option that includes a lot of named components and not just the basic powertrain, and then a form of full, bumper-to-bumper coverage that is also called exclusionary coverage.  What this means is that the list of items NOT covered is shorter than the list of what IS covered. Exclusionary coverage is usually the most popular and sought after since it offers the most peace of mind and coverage.

Since every company will have their own coverage options, the only way to truly find out about all of the coverage choices you have is to do some comparison shopping with different companies.  This isn’t as daunting a prospect as it may seem and there are many things you can do to make the process easier.

Some companies will have multiple providers that offer plans and other companies will handle and underwrite their won contracts.  Just because a company has a lot of different plans, that doesn’t mean that, it is the best choice to purchase from. There are several factors that make up a great extended car warranty company.


Comparing Multiple Coverage Providers

comparing extended car warranty companiesFinding the right extended warranty company will take a little bit of research on your part but it will be worth it when you find the best plan for your vehicle. There are several factors that should be compared when you’re measuring one company against another.  Don’t just look at dollar amounts, because a cheaper service contract does not necessarily mean you got the better company or deal if the company has a problem paying claims or approving repairs. Following the steps outlined below will help you find the company that most closely meets your needs.

You will need to get on the phone with the agents of these companies to do an accurate comparison.  Don’t base it off of their websites alone because you won’t have the answers to the questions you need to ask in order to make a good decision.   Don’t be put off by having to talk to anyone. If you are serious about getting the best extended car warranty you can get, you’ll need to be willing to do your homework so there are no disappointments and surprises later.

Start by putting together a list of companies that you are possibly interested in.  This can be easily accomplished by doing an internet search.  Make a list of 3-5 that you would like to check out more thoroughly.  Once you have your list, get their toll free numbers and grab a notebook and pencil and get ready to do some comparison shopping.


Questions to Ask Prospective Warranty Companies

Once you’re on the phone with the company’s representative, it’s important that you get your questions answered.  Below is a list of important questions to ask each company. Have a notebook handy and write down each company’s answers to the following questions.  This will help you have accurate and detailed information to make your decision with.

You will also need to have your vehicle’s year, make, model and mileage when you talk to the companies.  They will need this information to give you a quote that you can compare to the other companies.  Make sure you ask for the same type of coverage from each company. You can’t compare the quotes if you ask for one type of coverage from one and something different from another.

  1. How long has the company been in business? – This may seem like an odd question but a brand new company will not have the experience that an established company will. Being new doesn’t make a company bad, but some consumers just prefer longevity and experience.
  2. What types of coverage do the conpany offer? – Each company will have their own coverage plans that they offer. Some will be simple and others will have a lot of choices for you to pick from. More than likely they will give you their plans that match the
  3. What are the mileage restrictions on the company’s plans? – Sometimes used cars don’t qualify for coverage because they are too old or have too many miles. There are companies that will give contracts to older/higher mileage vehicles but you may have to pay a little more for the coverage.  Have the company explain the mileage restrictions and rules clearly to you so you understand.
  4. What qualifies as wear and tear and is there anything covered for wear and tear in the company’s plans? – Wear and tear can be a tricky thing to decipher, but most plans have it spelled out so be sure to get each company’s definition of what constitutes as wear and tear. Very few companies have wear and tear coverage, but there are some that do and this can provide additional savings that can make a difference in what you have to pay out for car maintenance.
  5. How long are the extended car warranties that the company offers? (how many years) – there may be options on how many years you can get coverage for, so be sure to ask how many years the contracts can be purchased for and if they are renewable.
  6. Does the company offer car rental/loan when owner’s vehicle is being fixed for longer than one day? – If your car is going to be in the shop for longer than one day does the company offer any kind of car loan or replacement that they can offer you so you can still get to work and around.
  7. How long does it normally take to get claims authorized? – Fast claim processing and payment is important to get your car in and out and back on the road. Find out an approximate time frame for claims processing.
  8. What kind of payment terms does the company have for their plans? – Most extended car warranty companies offer payment plans. Find out the required down payments as well as the monthly payments for the plans that are offered.  Also find out how long of terms they offer. There are some that offer 18 months to pay.
  9. What deductibles are required? – Most of the plans have deductibles that you will be responsible for. The standard deductible is $100 but there are some companies that offer $50 and $0 deductible choices as well.
  10. Can you take your vehicle to any repair shop you want? – Most companies have service contracts that are accepted nationwide at any ASE repair facility. Make sure that there are no restrictions on the places you can take your vehicle and if there are restrictions, find out what they are.
  11. Does the company offer additional benefits at no extra cost? These will include things such as towing, trip interruption reimbursement and 24-hour roadside assistance. Find out all of the stipulations and restrictions on using these services.
  12. Are the contracts transferable? – If you sell the car that has the extended car warranty coverage still in effect, find out if the contract is transferable. In most companies, it is transferable as long as the rules and restrictions are met.  Make sure you find out what those are as well.
  13. Are they members of the BBB? The BBB will have information about most companies and can give you their “grade” as well as why they were given the grade they were. You will also find out whether there are any complaints that have been filed with the company and if they have been resolved.  Check and see if they have any other consumer or business ratings as well. If the agent doesn’t know the answers to this, don’t penalize them, just look the company up online and see what kind of information is available.

This is not an all inclusive list above, so if there are other questions you think of to ask, be sure that you include them when you talk to the companies to get your quotes. The main thing to remember is that you need to find out as much as possible about the coverage you are purchasing and the business practices and policies BEFORE you purchase a contract, and find out all the conditions that apply so you don’t end up surprised later on.

Don’t feel guilty or like you are being a bother by asking a lot of questions.  If a company doesn’t want to answer them or gets short with you, it’s not the right company for you. There are plenty of extended car warranty companies out there that value their customers and potential customers and will be happy to spend the time with you to ensure you understand what you’re getting.


Costs and Payment Plans

extended-car-warranty-costsWithout specific vehicle information there is no way to determine what your extended car warranty will cost.  They can average around $1500 to $2000 dollars for an extended car warranty but this number is not really a good indication of cost.   One of the reasons for the quote is to determine what you would have to pay.  When you have a quote done, you are under no obligation to purchase. Beware of companies that try to force you into purchasing.

The factors that go into determining the cost of your plan include:

  • The age of your vehicle
  • The mileage of your vehicle
  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • How much you drive the vehicle each month
  • What kind of coverage do you want? Powertrain only? Full Coverage?
  • What is your budget?
  • What deductible do you want to pay?
  • What kinds of optional coverage do you want, if any?

The answers to these questions will help the company come up with a very accurate quote that you can look at to see if it fits into what you’re looking for. They will do their best to find something that is economical for you as well as useful.

Most companies offer payment plans to make getting the coverage you want much easier and more cost effective.  You can make monthly payments, sometimes up to 18 months or more, so be sure to find out all your options when you’re getting your quote.  They will also require a down payment so make sure to ask about the down payment amounts as well.

There are one or two extended warranty companies that offer price match guarantees which can lower the amount you have to pay for your extended warranty. Ask them if they have any price match programs and let them know of any quotes that you have from other companies so they can offer you something comparable with the same coverage.


How the Claims Process Works?

extended auto warranty claimsMost of the extended car warranty companies have similar processes when it comes to filing a claim.  The steps are simple and as long as you follow them, there should be no issue with getting your claim approved and paid for. The steps to filing a claim are outlined below. They may differ slightly from company to company, but all you need to do to be sure is ask them when you are getting your quotes.

  1. When something malfunctions on your vehicle do NOT continue to drive the car and potentially make the problem worse. Get it to a repair shop right away. The administrator of the contract can refuse to cover it if it is obvious the malfunction has been allowed to continue for awhile.
  2. You can take your vehicle to any licensed ASE-certified repair facility in the United States. It can be a dealership, national chain style repair shop, a body shop or even a local mechanic. The main thing is to make sure that they are ASE certified or your claims will not be approved.
  3. Give the service station/repair shop your contract so they can call the administrator and get the ball rolling on your claim.
  4. You administrator will check to ensure that everything is okay with your extended warranty including:
    • Are the payments up to date on your contract?
    • Have you been following the maintenance requirements for your contract?
    • Is the repair covered under the plan you have?
    • Is the car being checked the right car?
    • Is the person getting the car fixed the owner of the contract?
  1. As long as everything is fine with your account, the repairs will be approved.
  2. Pay any deductible that you are responsible for if applicable.
  3. The administrator will pay the repair shop and you get your vehicle back.

Those are the basic steps that most companies follow.  Your part is to keep up with your contractual obligations and to take the vehicle to the right type of facility. (Licensed) Most companies try their best to make the claims process easy and fast for the vehicle owner.

What an Extended Car Warranty will do for you?

Having extended warranty protection on your vehicle will give you a lot of peace of mind and will also save you money on expensive repair bills that can hit without warning. The plans are flexible and you will be able to find just the perfect one for your vehicle that will have it looking and acting as good as new for a lot longer.  If you plan on selling your car at some point before the contract is done, having one in place gives added value to the vehicle and can get you a higher sale price.  With all of the choices and prices available there’s a great plan for every budget.


Common Auto Repairs

Routine Maintenance

common-car-repairsHow much does it Cost to Replace the Air Filter?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 – $24
  • Parts – $11 – $32
  • Symptoms – Poor gas mileage, reduced engine power due to the air flow being restricted.
  • Extras: Air filters need to be replaced about every 12,000-18,000 miles. Dirt and debris should also be removed from the air filter housing. If you live in a dry, dusty or sandy area, you will need to check/replace your filter more often.

How much does it Cost to Change an Automatic Transmission Fluid?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $68 – $87
  • Parts – $140-$197
  • Symptoms – Rough or delayed shifting
  • Extras – Transmission fluid changes need to be done about every 30,000 to 40,000 miles and if the vehicle has a filter, it will be changed then too. (Or should be) Situations such as weather, a lot of stop-and-go traffic or towing changes the frequency to every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Not getting the transmission fluid changed at the regular recommended intervals can cause serious degradation of the fluid which can cause problems later on.

How much does a Brake Fluid Replacement/Flush Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $50-$63
  • Parts – $13-15
  • Symptoms – Soft or spongy brake pedal, brake light may come on sporadically or come on and stay on
  • Extras – If the fluid is dirty or the brake system has any rusting or corrosion, getting the brake fluid replaced or flushed will keep the brake system running smoothly. Since brake fluid absorbs moisture and loses its effectiveness after several months, it is recommended that the fluid be changed about every two years. This is a good preventative measure that can prevent other more costly repairs.

How much does it cost to Replace a Cabin Air Filter?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $25 – $32
  • Parts – $28 – $32
  • Symptoms – Musty, moldy odors in the car that don’t go away and are not caused by specific incidents
  • Extras – The cabin air filter can also be called a pollen filter, micro filter, or A/C filter. Its job is to prevent dirt and pollen from entering the passenger compartment of the vehicle. This filter should be replaced once a year or every 10,000 to 15,000 miles.

How much does a Coolant Replacement/Flush Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $56 – $71
  • Parts – $16 – $25
  • Symptoms – No heat when the heater is on, engine overheats, coolant loss (leaking) and a sweet odor inside the passenger compartment
  • Extras – The cooling system on older vehicles needs to be flushed about every 30,000 miles or so. That is usually about every two years. New vehicles have extended life coolant which can last as much as 100,000 miles. Coolant that has broken down needs to be replaced to prevent corrosion build up which can result in leaks and accumulation of debris which will restrict coolant flow. Both of these things can cause the engine to overheat.

How much does it Cost to Replace the Differential Fluid in the Front?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $43 – $55
  • Parts – $32 – $72
  • Symptoms – Abnormal noises when turning the vehicle, high pitched howling, it drags when you’re just coasting down the road, clunking whenever you accelerate or shirt between drive and reverse.
  • Extras – The gears and bearings in the differential are lubricated by oil. Just like with all the fluids and oils in a vehicle, these should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. It will require it more often if you use your vehicle to tow or carry heavy loads often

How much does it Cost to Replace the Differential Fluid in the Rear?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $50 – $63
  • Parts – $32 – $72
  • Symptoms – The same as for the front differential fluid replacement – Abnormal noises when turning the vehicle, high pitched howling, it drags when you’re just coasting down the road, clunking whenever you accelerate or shirt between drive and reverse
  • Extras – Same as for the front differential fluid replacement – the gears and bearings in the differential are lubricated by oil. Just like with all the fluids and oils in a vehicle, these should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. It will require it more often if you use your vehicle to tow or carry heavy loads often

How much does a Drive Belt Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $56 to $71
  • Parts – $31 to $89
  • Symptoms – Dry, cracked or glazed belts or belts that make a chirping or squeaking sound indicate that they need to be replaced.
  • Extras – The drive belts will need to be replaced if the show signs of wear or if they have over 30,000 miles on them. If any other related parts are repaired, replacing the drive belts is also a good idea. Leaking valve cover gaskets can cause the drive belt to fail earlier than it normally would. Leaking coolant can also damage drive belts and timing belts too.

How much does it Cost to Replace a Fuel Filter?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 to $24
  • Parts – $14 to $34
  • Symptoms – The check engine light could come on, you might notice a lack of power in the engine, fuel leaks may occur, and the engine may run lean, which puts more strain on the engine due to running more air than fuel.
  • Extras – A good rule of thumb is to replace the fuel filter about every 30,000 miles. Higher quality filters keep contaminants out of the system. Not replacing the fuel filter can cause expensive repairs to be needed on the fuel pump and injectors.

How much does a Manual Transmission Fluid Change Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $25 to $32
  • Parts – $ 32 to $72
  • Symptoms – Difficult shifting, grinding noise when shifting, transmission slips out of selected gear, check engine light may come on, inability to shift into certain gears, abnormal noises
  • Extras – The manual transmission fluid should be replaced according to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations. Whenever the transmission fluid is changed on a manual transmission vehicle, the condition of the rear main engine oil seal, the clutch, and the flywheel will be inspected also.

How much does an Oil and Filter Change Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor and Parts – $28 to $62
  • Symptoms – The check oil light may come on, abnormal knocking in the engine, sludge build up, low oil pressure gauge.
  • Extras – It’s good to get the oil and oil filter changed every 10,000 to 20,000 miles or every 6 months. If you oil light comes on it is important to NOT drive the car due to the permanent engine damage this can cause. Oil is needed to lubricate the parts of the engine and without it the engine can seize.

How much does it cost to Rotate the Tires?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 to $24
  • Parts – $ 0
  • Symptoms – Uneven wear showing on the tires, may ride rough
  • Extras – Tires should be rotated about every 3,000 to 10,000 miles. This ensures that they wear evenly. It’s not always possible to rotate tires if the rims are different or the tread is directional. Rotating the tires also gives the mechanic the ability to check for worn spots that could cause a blow out later on.

How much does a Transfer Case Fluid Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $25 – $32
  • Parts – $ 12 to $16
  • Symptoms – a strange noise coming from the center of the vehicle while driving, will chatter during turns, fluid leaking and service 4WD light may be on.
  • Extras – The gears and bearings of the transfer case are lubricated by oil so it is important to have this fluid changed just like with all the fluids in your vehicle. Go with the recommended changing schedule from the manufacturer. If your vehicle is used to carry or tow heavy loads you may want to do this more often.

Brake Repairs

How much does an ABS Control Module Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $31 to $40
  • Parts – $703 to $1119
  • Symptoms – the ABS warning light may come on, sometimes the speedometer will stop working, can cause abnormal braking when braking at low speeds.
  • Extras – The ABS control module operates the system based on the data the sensors receive. It is able to perform self diagnostic checks and if it finds an issue it will shut down the system. Usually a light will come on when this happens.

How much does a Brake Booster Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $155 to $198
  • Parts – $128 to $315
  • Symptoms – Rough or high engine idle, check engine light may come on, more force from the driver is needed to stop the vehicle, brake pedal feels “hard” when pressed, you may hear a hissing noise when the brakes are applied. This noise will come from the brake pedal area.
  • Extras – A defective brake booster can be caused by engine vacuum leaks, glazed brake rotors and drums, sticking or rusty brake calipers and drum brake components and excessive brake pedal stopping effort. Use an OEM brake booster replacement and the shop will also ensure that the brake master cylinder isn’t leaking brake fluid. If it is, the new brake booster can fail early due to the fluid working itself into the brake booster housing of the new booster.

How much does a Front Brake Caliper Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $118 to $150
  • Parts – $238 to $552
  • Symptoms – vehicle can pull to one side, brake fluid may be leaking, brake pads on one side may wear unevenly
  • Extras – Brake calipers should be replaced in pairs and when the calipers are replaced, the brake hydraulic system should be flushed as well. When one or more of the caliper pistons have gotten stuck, this indicates that they need to be replaced; also when they are leaking fluid.

How much does a Rear Brake Caliper Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $105 to $134
  • Parts – $224 to $538
  • Symptoms – Same symptoms can be exhibited as with the front calipers – vehicle can pull to one side, brake fluid may be leaking, brake pads on one side may wear unevenly
  • Extras – The same rules apply as when replacing the front calipers – Brake calipers should be replaced in pairs and when the calipers are replaced, the brake hydraulic system should be flushed as well. When one or more of the caliper pistons have gotten stuck, this indicates that they need to be replaced; also when they are leaking fluid

How much does a Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $68 to $87
  • Parts – $85 to $213
  • Symptoms – Sinking brake pedal, spongy feel and it can be unresponsive when pressed. It can feel like the pedal goes all the way down to the floor when you’re braking. Do not drive the car when this is going on, it could be very dangerous.
  • Extras – Flushing brake fluid every two years can extend the life of your brake master cylinders. It can leak internally or externally. If your brake pedal sinks all the way to the floor, there’s more than likely an internal leak.

How much does a Rear Brake Pad Replacement and Resurface Rotors Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $136 to $174
  • Parts – $83 to $111
  • Symptoms – If you brake and hear a loud grinding noise or squeaking, this will be an indication that your brake pads need replacing. If you act quickly, your rotors will not be damaged by the metal of the pads grinding against the metal of the rotors.
  • Extras – Your rotors will be inspected at the time of the brake pad replacement to see if they are damaged and need replacing as well. Once you have the new pads on, brake easily for the first 50 miles or so of driving for them to adjust to the rotors. This will also help prevent squeaking.

How much does a Front Brake Pad Replacement and Resurface Rotors Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $124 to $158
  • Parts – $93 to $139
  • Symptoms – Worn front brake pads will have the same symptoms as rear brake pads – If you brake and hear a loud grinding noise or squeaking, this will be an indication that your brake pads need replacing. If you act quickly, your rotors will not be damaged by the metal of the pads grinding against the metal of the rotors
  • Extras – Will be the same as for the rear brake pads – Your rotors will be inspected at the time of the brake pad replacement to see if they are damaged and need replacing as well. Once you have the new pads on, brake easily for the first 50 miles or so of driving for them to adjust to the rotors. This will also help prevent squeaking.

How much doe a Brake Shoe and Drum Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $161 to $206
  • Parts – $410 – $527
  • Symptoms – When the brake shoes and drums need replacing, your vehicle may pull to one side when you brake. You may also hear a grinding or quaking noise when braking as well.
  • Extras – If the drums are defective or the wheel cylinders are leaking, this can damage the brake shoes. The drums should be resurfaced when the shoes are replaced.

How much does a Brake Wheel Cylinder Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $136 to $174
  • Parts – $58 to $152
  • Symptoms – Brake fluid may be leaking and the brakes may not stop the vehicle. This is a dangerous situation, so if there is any question that there is something wrong with you brake wheel cylinder, do not drive your vehicle.
  • Extras – a leaking wheel cylinder can contaminate the brake shoes and cause them to have to be replaced as well so as soon as a leak is detected, get the vehicle to a repair shop to get it fixed. Wheel cylinders should be replaced in pairs. It is recommended to have the brake hydraulic system flushed at the time the wheel cylinders are replaced.

Drive Train Repairs

How much does a Front Axle/Half Shaft Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $93 to $119
  • Parts – $340 to $528
  • Symptoms – When going around corners you may hear a clicking sound and there will be quite a bit of vibration when traveling at highway speeds.
  • Extras – It is recommended to use new replacement CV Axle shafts due to the reliability being much better than it is with rebuilt parts. It’s also recommended to get a half axle replacement if the part has been removed due to another repair. If it shows that it is worn, definitely have it replaced.

How much does a Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $68 to $87
  • Parts – $71 to $93
  • Symptoms – Clutch may not work properly or at all, clutch pedal can sink to the floor, you may find it hard to shift gears and the clutch fluid may leak or need to be topped off.
  • Extras – clutch fluid should be flushed until clean and clear during this replacement. On some of the newer vehicles, the clutch master and slave cylinders and the hydraulic line are all combined as one unit and serviced together.

How much does a Clutch Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $291 to $372
  • Parts – $519 to $990
  • Symptoms – If the clutch is going bad, you could experience the clutch slipping or shuddering, have difficulty shifting gears, or the engine will rev up but speed will not increase.
  • Extras – Riding the clutch, which is easy to do without even thinking, can cause the clutch to wear out much faster. When getting the clutch disk replaced, it is recommended that the flywheel be resurfaced as well.

Engine Repairs

How much does a Fuel Injector Replacement Cost? 

  • Average Cost – Labor – $93 to $119
  • Parts – $101 to $132
  • Symptoms – Engine hesitation and misfire can occur when a fuel injector is in need of replacement. In addition the check engine light will come on and fuel may leak.
  • Extras – fuel injector problems can be caused by using lower quality gas. The fuel injector seals will also need to be replaced.

How much does a Fuel Pump Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $211 to $269
  • Parts – $578 to $972
  • Symptoms – Engine will crank but not turn over, there may be internal leaking from the pump, excessive noise, lack of power in the vehicle, when the vehicle accelerates, it may hesitate.
  • Extras – Allowing your car to run out of gas or consistently be on or below empty can damage the fuel pump. The fuel filter should also be replaced when replacing the pump. Clogged fuel filters or problems with the electrical system can also result in symptoms that appear to be a fuel pump so be sure to have them check it before replacing it.

How much does a Head Gasket(s) Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $855 to $1091
  • Parts – $464 to $584
  • Symptoms – Engine will run roughly when the vehicle is first started, the engine will overheat, coolant or oil will leak, white smoke with a sweet scent will come from the exhaust.
  • Extras – This can be a very expensive repair, so preventing it is the best possible course of action. Head gasket failures are often due to the engine being overheated. It can also be caused by high mileage or age. When the headgasket leaks, it can leak engine coolant into the oil making what looks like chocolate milk. You will notice that the oil level is higher than usual.

How much does an Intake Manifold Gasket Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $99 to $126
  • Parts – $12 to $18
  • Symptoms – coolant and oil can leak, the check engine light may come on and the engine idle may be unstable.
  • Extras – Most of the fluids that leak from the intake manifold can be fixed by replacing a failed gasket, but it still may require a replacement of the intake manifold as well. Some vehicles have both an upper and lower intake manifold gaskets. When leaks occur it will most commonly be the lower intake manifold gasket that needs replacing.

How much does an Oil Pan Reseal Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $87 to $111
  • Parts – $63 to $148
  • Symptoms – Oil will leak from the engine and be present under the vehicle where you normally park.
  • Extra – Since the oil pan is on the bottom of the engine, any leaks can run down and look like oil pan leaks. All leaks have to be verified before the oil pan is resealed.

How much does a Radiator Fan Motor Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $56 to $71
  • Parts – $157 to $393
  • Symptoms – The engine might be overheating, and the A/C is not cold. In addition the check engine light may come on.
  • Extras – The repair shop should inspect the fan blade and the cooling fan operation whenever fan motors or cooling systems are replaced.

How much does a Radiator Hose Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $93 to $119
  • Parts – $107 to $341
  • Symptoms – Fluid leaking is one of the most common symptoms of a radiator hose needing to be replaced.
  • Extras – It is preferable to have molded coolant hoses rather than universal hoses. Universal hoses have a tendency to fail sooner than ones that are designed to fit your vehicle due to the deformities that can be caused by pressure and heat. Hose clamps should be replaced as well.

How much does it Cost to Replace a Radiator?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $81 to $103
  • Parts – $219 to $334
  • Symptoms – temperature gauge readings can get very high, engine may run hot or overheat completely, engine temperature light may come on, and coolant can leak or boil over.
  • Extras – The plastic parts of a radiator can become brittle and crack over the years making the radiator need to be replaced. This is not a simple repair and can involve removal of the front bumper as well as removal of the engine bay components including hoses, ducting and additional plumbing are often required to fix this particular problem.

How much does it Cost to Replace Spark Plugs?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $43 to $55
  • Parts – $48 to $72
  • Symptoms – Your check engine light may come on or blink and you may notice the engine running roughly. There could also be an abnormal engine noise due to a loose or missing spark plug.
  • Extras – When spark plugs need to be replaced, you will notice that the engine runs rough and misfires, which can make the check engine light. If you continue driving the vehicle it can damage the catalytic converter. The spark plug terminals wear down and need to be replaced. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

How much does it cost to Replace a Thermostat?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $68 to $87
  • Parts – $28 to $63
  • Symptoms – Leaks may come from the Thermostat housing, engine could either overheat or never reach the normal temperatures, your vehicle could produce higher exhaust emissions and it could have poor fuel mileage as well.
  • Extras – Replace the thermostat any time major repairs are performed on the cooling system to ensure that it works properly with the new repairs.

How much does a Valve Cover Gasket Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $50 to $63
  • Parts – $25 to $85
  • Symptoms – Oil may leak and there could be a burning smell due to oil on the exhaust manifold as well as engine misfires.
  • Extras –When gaskets and seals start to leak oil, it’s time to replace them. Leaking seals and gaskets can damage other engine components, causing other repairs to become necessary. High quality value cover gaskets reduce the chances of leaks happening. Have a value adjustment performed whenever the vale cover gasket is replaced.

How much does a Water Pump Replacement Cost?

  • Average Coast – Labor – $99 to $126
  • Parts – $100 to $152
  • Symptoms – Coolants may be leaking and you could hear noises from the engine, including rumbling. The engine could overheat as well.
  • Extras – Replace the water pump if it begins to lose coolant or if it becomes noisy. Leaking water pumps can lead to damaged drive and timing belts, so it’s important to get it fixed as soon as it’s discovered. Problems in the cooling system, like a head gasket or failing thermostat can damage the water pump

How much does it cost to replace a Catalytic Converter?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $229 to $292
  • Parts – $516 to 917
  • Symptoms – may not pass emissions inspections, exhaust gas may have an odd smell and the vehicle may lack power. The check engine light may come on as well.
  • Extras – Finding out why the catalytic converter failed is very important because this component failing is almost always due to something else being wrong. If it’s not fixed then the new catalytic converter will be ruined as well.

How much does an EGR Valve Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 to $24
  • Parts – $132 to $206
  • Symptoms – may fail emissions tests, have a rough idle and the engine may ping on acceleration. The check engine light may also come on.
  • Extras – the entire EGR system needs to be cleaned if necessary and inspected when an EGR value is replaced. A false lighting of the check engine light and a rough idle can be caused by the EGR being installed backwards.

How much does it cost to Replace an Exhaust Manifold Gasket?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $105 to $134
  • Parts – $12 to $18
  • Symptoms – A tapping or ticking noise when the engine is cold may be heard, an unusual smell from the exhaust, the vehicle may fail an emissions test and the check engine light may come on as well.
  • Extras – resurfacing a warped exhaust manifold is not recommended due to the fact that the manifold will be prone to cracking and warping. If the exhaust system allows carbon monoxide gases to enter the passenger compartment, which can be extremely dangerous, it can cause drowsiness or even death.

How much does a MAP Sensor Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 to $24
  • Parts – $27 to $41
  • Symptoms – A hesitating engine or one that runs roughly are two symptoms that a MAP sensor needs replacement. In addition, the engine may have poor power, poor fuel economy and excessive tail pipe smoke.
  • Extras – If the MAP sensor vacuum lines, the MAP sensor electrical circuit and the engine mechanical condition may result in a failed repair attempt.

How much does an Oxygen Sensor Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $19 to $24
  • Parts – $49 to $125
  • Symptoms – vehicle may fail an emissions test and have poor gas mileage. The engine light may come on as well.
  • Extras – Oxygen sensors can fail if they get oil, coolant or silicone on them. If the sensors have been contaminated by fluids, it is important to know exactly what fluid and the source from where it’s leaking so new sensors are not ruined as well.

Electrical Repairs

How much does an Alternator Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $87 to $111
  • Parts – $344 to $459
  • Symptoms – battery warning light may come on to alert you of a problem, the dashboard lights and headlights will be noticeably dimmer, you may have trouble starting the car and need repeated jumps because of a dead battery. The engine may stall as well.
  • Extras – Before the alternator is replaced the starting and charging system, should be checked to eliminate other problems that could be affecting the alternator such as a weak battery or battery cables.

How much does a Starter Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $81 to $103
  • Parts – $96 to $239
  • Symptoms – Engine may not turn over when you try to start it and there may be an abnormal noise when the starter is engaged.
  • Extras – Sometimes weak or dead batteries can show the same symptoms as a bad starter. Be sure to check the battery first before replacing the starter. Corroded or loose battery terminals can also exhibit the same problems a faulty starter will. In addition, a faulty ignition switch may also mask as a starter problem. All of these things should be checked before replacing the starter.

Suspension and Steering Repairs

How much does a Power Steering Pressure Hose Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $50 to $63
  • Parts – $62 to $96
  • Symptoms – Vehicle may be harder to steer, power hose may leak, low fluid level could cause a strange noise to come from the power steering pump
  • Extras – An oil leak may be mistaken for a power steering hose if the power steering fluid is getting old. Once it starts to get old, it gets darker in color and can look like oil. It is recommended to use factory power steering hose replacement parts because they have an exact fit and can last longer that aftermarket parts

How much does a Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost?

  • Average Cost – Labor – $74 to $95
  • Parts – $148 – $194
  • Symptoms – The power steering pump may leak or produce a lot of noise and steering may require more effort
  • Extras – It is recommended to inspect the belt is the power steering is belt driven and replace it if needed. Also, flushing the power steering fluid when the power steering pump is replaced is a good idea as well.

How much does a Rear Strut Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $130 to $166
  • Parts – $217 to $241
  • Symptoms – Vehicle may continue to bounce more than normal after going over a bump and there can be knocking noises as well. Oil may be leaking from the shock and your tires will wear unevenly as well. There could also be worn or damaged shock bushings.
  • Extras – Replace shock absorbers in pairs whether you are replacing the front or rear. They can sometimes contain an air bladder which adjusts the ride height either manually or automatically. When your shocks need replacing you’ll know it by the bouncy ride you’ll experience in your vehicle.

How much does a Front Strut Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $217 to $277
  • Parts – $162 to $298
  • Symptoms – symptoms are the same for the front shocks as they are for the rear shocks – Vehicle may continue to bounce more than normal after going over a bump and there can be knocking noises as well. Oil may be leaking from the shock and your tires will wear unevenly as well. There could also be worn or damaged shock bushings.
  • Extras – same information as for the rear shocks – Replace shock absorbers in pairs whether you are replacing the front or rear. They can sometimes contain an air bladder which adjusts the ride height either manually or automatically. When your shocks need replacing you’ll know it by the bouncy ride you’ll experience in your vehicle.

How much does an Inner Tie Rod End Replacement Cost?
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $93 to $119
  • Parts – $66 to $160
  • Symptoms – vehicle may pull to one side and there may be uneven tire wear present. The steering wheel could be off center as well.
  • Extras – Tie rod ends should be replaced in pairs for both the inner and outer. Replacing one or more of the tie rods will change the alignment settings and a 4 wheel alignment should be done to keep things running smoothly.

How much does an Outer Tie Rod End Replacement Cost? 
(Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $37 to $47
  • Parts – $74 – $140
  • Symptoms – symptoms are the same as for the inner tie rods – – vehicle may pull to one side and there may be uneven tire wear present. The steering wheel could be off center as well.
  • Extras – Same as for the Inner tie rods – Tie rod ends should be replaced in pairs for both the inner and outer. Replacing one or more of the tie rods will change the alignment settings and a 4 wheel alignment should be done to keep things running smoothly.

How much does a Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost?
(Front Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $186 to $237
  • Parts -$196 to $324
  • Symptoms – The hub bearings will make a grinding or groaning noise while driving, particularly when turning.
  • Extras – if the bearings fail it may require the whole hub assembly to have to be replaced. Be sure to keep the hub free of rust and debris to give the brake rotor a smooth mounting surface.

How much does a Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost with Disc Brakes?
( Rear Disc Brakes, Both Sides)

  • Parts – $286 to $358
  • Symptoms – same as the symptoms from the front wheel bearing replacements- The hub bearings will make a grinding or groaning noise while driving, particularly when turning.
  • Extras – Same as for the front wheel bearing replacements – if the bearings fail it may require the whole hub assembly to have to be replaced. Be sure to keep the hub free of rust and debris to give the brake rotor a smooth mounting surface.

How much does a Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost with Drum Brakes?
(Rear Drum Brakes, Both Sides)

  • Average Cost – Labor – $62 to $79
  • Parts – $28 to $84
  • Symptoms – same as the symptoms from the front wheel bearing replacements- The hub bearings will make a grinding or groaning noise while driving, particularly when turning
  • Extras – Same as for the front wheel bearing replacements – if the bearings fail it may require the whole hub assembly to have to be replaced. Be sure to keep the hub free of rust and debris to give the brake rotor a smooth mounting surface

Resources

  1. CARCHEX – http://www.carchex.com
  2. Endurance – http://www.endurancewarranty.com
  3. Easy Care – http://www.easycare.com
  4. AA Auto Warranty – http://www.aaautowarranty.com/
  5. Pinnacle Automotive Protection – http://www.carefreedriving.com/
  6. The Auto Warranty Agency Review – https://www.autowarrantyagency.com/reviewcontracts.htm
  7. Direct Buy Auto Warranty – https://www.directbuywarranty.com/
  8. Warranty Direct – https://www.warrantydirect.com/index.aspx
  9. Federal Trade Commission – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0138-auto-warranties-routine-maintenance
  10. Wikipedia.org – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_warranty
  11. Repair Pal – http://www.repairpal.com