Latest Reader Question (Nov. 26, 2017)

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Here’s the latest reader Question – along with my reply:

Greta asks: Eric, I took your suggestion that a Toyota Highlander would be a good replacement for my Acadia. Bought 2017 new for good price? $33,234.Skillful salesmen added tire and wheel warranty for $345, theft guard for $155, pro coat $205. $8500 for Acadia with 147,000 miles. Still pending is whether I should buy service for $595. And extended 125,000 for $1,795. In retrospect would not have purchased lesser warranties. Succumbed to pressure and feel that what I “saved” I will spend on various safeguards on a car that I am hoping is of higher quality than previously owned car. Are these profit strategies or do I need the additional warranties? Thanks for your help, Greta.

My reply: The tires that come on a new vehicle should carry a warranty from the tire manufacturer and the wheels are part of the car and should be be covered by the new car warranty. I am not sure what “theft guard” constitutes; the vehicle comes with a factory anti-theft system; did the dealership add a separate alarm system or similar? What is the “pro coat”? I am guessing it was a dealer-applied paint protection package; basically, a coat of wax. The factory paint is very durable and the finish is covered by the new car warranty.

So – unfortunately – I think you got taken for a ride on those items, which are all either superfluous or duplicative.

What does the $595 “service” entail? The vehicle should not need anything in the way of service beyond basic oil and filter changes and tire rotation for at least the next 30,000 miles. Around 30,000 or 40,000 miles, you may need brake pads. That should be the extent of it. Any non-wear item/service requirement should be covered by the new car warranty.

So I would skip this $595 price padder.

The extended warranty – which kicks in after the factory comprehensive (“the whole car”) and/or powertrain (the engine and transmission, axle, etc.) can provide peace of mind and might save you money in the event of a major failure (for example, the transmission needs to be replaced).

However, if the vehicle is a good bet – and the Highlander is a good bet – I would personally not buy the extended warranty. Instead, I would put that money aside in the cookie jar. Add a a couple hundred bucks each year to this “rainy day fund.”

If something does goes wrong, then you will have funds to deal with it. If something doesn’t go wrong, on the other hand, you will have all that money to use for other things!

 

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