They’re Still Doing It . . .

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It’s not enough, apparently, to sell you just the car. There is also the hard sell, once you’ve bought the car. The trying to get you to buy what you don’t need – because you just bought a new car, which ought to not need the things they’re trying to sell you.

Like “36 month scheduled maintenance,” for instance – for only $1,328. On top of what you just paid for a brand-new Subaru Crosstrek, as my sister in California just did. The thing is a brand-new Subaru does not need any “scheduled maintenance” for the first three years – other than the most basic/trivial services, such as engine oil and filter changes. These Subaru recommend be changed every 5,000-7,500 miles so maybe twice a year. Assuming two oil/filter changes annually at $50 per, that works out to about $300 out of pocket over the course of three years (36 months).

The rest of the “scheduled maintenance” offered by the dealer involves “checking” and “inspecting” things that will almost certainly not need maintenance of any kind. Or rather, any kind that costs – the dealership – that tried to sell my sister this wonderful “coverage.” Because brand-new cars are brand-new cars. They are made of brand-new parts.

And any brand-new part that fails during the first three years/36,000 miles will be covered by the Subaru new car warranty.

But never mind that. The dealer’s “certified, factory trained technicians and friendly staff stand ready to help ensure that you will be satisfied – and safe . . .”

Italics added.

Implication? The brand-new car isn’t safe. Unless, of course, you hand over $1,328 to the “friendly staff” to “ensure” it is.

Then the dealer then proffered an extended warranty on the brand-new Crosstrek, the brand-new car my sister bought so as to not have to worry about car problems. It’s the chief reason people buy a new car – and the main “sell.” You will not have to worry about the car breaking down and costing you money.

You know, like your old car.

The one you’re getting rid of because it is breaking down all the time and costing you money all the time,

Once the dealer has your money, though, the new car tune changes. The skies darken. That new car you just bought is suddenly fraught with down-the-road peril.

To salve your fears about how much you may have to pay if something should go wrong at some indeterminate point in the future is to pay the dealer – right now – $2,995 (sounds a little better than $3,000) for “coverage.” But the warranty coverage is only valid for 100,000 miles, while Subaru covers the drivetrain (the expensive stuff) for five years and 60,000 miles. What are the odds of something expensive going wrong with the car’s drivetrain – its engine and transmission – during those 40,000 “uncovered” miles?

Bet your bippie the extended warranty actuaries – more about them below – have calculated them and know them to be very, very low. Because the way the sellers of extended warranties make money on them is by not paying for “covered” repairs. And if something did go wrong and my sister had not bought the “coverage”? Well, she’d have $3,000 to pay for repairs, wouldn’t she?

Well then, how about some “carefree” paint protection? Yep. They’re still selling this one, too. And for only $1,150! But you are getting the “ultimate” in protection. “Molecular adhesion” will protect inside as well as outside from spills and stains. The “protection” is good for seven years, too!

How much is a can of Scotchguard fabric protectant and a bottle of high-quality wax down at the NAPA store? About $14 for the Scotchguard. A bottle of top-shelf wax such as Zymol will set you back about $17.  Put the $1,119 you just didn’t spend back in your pocket. It’s almost enough to pay for Ding Shield ($1,149) which “covers” cosmetic wheel repair and headlight refinishing, among other terrors you might otherwise need to deal with on your own. “Headlight refinishing” meaning they use rubbing compound on the plastic headlight covers when they yellow (as they will) from exposure to the sun. You can do this yourself, with a rag and a ten dollar tub of rubbing compound.

You might keep that tub and rag handy, too – so as to avoid paying another $1,295 for “smart” glass protection. It is sound practice to reflexively assume stupid – and needlessly expensive – whenever you hear about “smart” anything.

The “Smart” windshield protection coating – what that coating is remains mysterious – “improves your windshield clarity and helps protect against damage caused by road hazards.”

Interesting.

No doubt Subaru will be wanting to know that the windshield glass it installs is in need of “clarity” right from the factory. Lawyers, meanwhile, will appreciate the carefully weasel-worded “helps protect” part. Just like the “vaccines” – but more expensive.

You may have some cash left in your wallet for $995 in additional coverage for tire problems, already covered by the tire manufacturer’s warranty coverage.

How much would all this coverage have cost my sister, if she’d been mark enough to pay for it all? A mere $9,807 – or just a bit less than half the $23k the Crosstrek itself cost her.

Al of this “coverage” is provided by a third party entity called JM&A Group, which promises to “drive revenue” and “create efficiencies”  . . . for and with the new car dealerships it works with.

No doubt.

And they wonder why some call them stealerships.

. . .

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34 COMMENTS

  1. It’s sad how car salesmen take advantage of women and some men too.
    The add-ons are huge profit margin items. I have never purchased an extended warranty or service contract for any product in my life. The savings are large in the long run. Of course I buy brands that have high reliability ratings too.

    The wife is so afraid of getting ripped off for auto repairs that she will not even take her car in (alone) to Belle Tire where they repair tire leaks for free even if you’ve never purchased anything from them. I have to come and sit there for an hour or more tp protest her. I found out that was because her first husband had an unreliable Firebird and used to get ripped off big time by car mechanics, as a writer who knew nothing about cars. Coming home with huge credit card bills they couldn’t afford to pay at the end of the month. So high even she knew her husband had been ripped off. They’d tell him the care was not safe to generate extra repair income. Total BS.

    • “ The wife is so afraid of getting ripped off for auto repairs ”

      This can cut two ways – echoing your issue with wife and auto repairs, I sent The Commander in with my old Firebird single exhaust for the $19.99 installed muffler deal at Sears way way back in the 80s. I warned her they may want extra $$. She had the good sense to walk when they quoted her north of $100 due to “extra parts required for this installation”. I ended up doing that one myself for about $30.

      The flip side, my used 1979 Grand Prix had a rebuilt trans that came to me with high shift points. That summer of ‘85 I was really busy at work so sent her to a local transmission shop with a request for some trans governor parts that I would install. Got home and she was so proud of that plastic bag full of governors, springs, etc. “Woa, what did this cost”. “ Oh it’s all free!” “?” “What were you wearing?” “Shorts and my favorite summer top!, they were sooo helpful, I did have to lean over the counter to see what they were explaining and write notes, seems the whole crew were there to help”. Local “gentleman’s club” probably lost business that night.

  2. Hi Eric

    One of the reasons many seem to buy these plans are that the cars are leased/financed and the terms require dealer maintenance over the lease term. And thats not happening for 50 dollars an oil change !!

  3. “First they came for the cars, and I did nothing because I was not a car. Then they came for the trucks…”

    https://dailycaller.com/2022/12/25/epas-regulation-imperil-trucking-industry/

    “The EPA’s rule… will require large trucks, delivery vans and buses manufactured after 2027 to cut nitrogen dioxide emissions by nearly 50% by 2045, according to an agency press release. The agency’s rule is intended to push truckers to phase out diesel-powered vehicles and use electric vehicles (EV) instead…”

  4. Much like Google doesn’t sell “search,” car dealers don’t sell cars. They sell financing, upgrades and service. The car is there to get you on the lot.

  5. I took the max care plan on my Jeep grand cherokee trailhawk with 3.0 diesel for under $3k covers everything for 100k, included oil and fuel filters also for 100k miles so that softens the dent in the wallet. The JGC has way too many sensors and high end stuff like variable suspension, let alone the eco diesel engine. Now, contrast that with times ive paid cash for new, but basic vehicles, i dont pay admin fees, take the pin stripe, seat and paint protection off, i didnt order it or want it, dont pay delivery fee twice, get the invoice its usually included in the price, they double charge buyers, know what their hold backs are, etc…even when you tell them and get the invoices and show them, many corrupt dealers still try to lie and charge you with all kinds of stuff. My buddy sells cars and he will always look at the deal, send me the invoice, etc… I love their funny math when they wont break down every charge, and show the actual price for trade. Ive had dealers try to not give me back my car when ive walked out so i couldnt leave, some are nightmare dealers. If i cant talk with the numbers guy, i walk out, not playing that game. Its rare trades are a good deal, maybe last few years with retarded used car prices, but thats not the norm. I like paying cash, and getting up and walking away when they dont meet my terms. Im fair about it, i even say that up, “you need to make money, and i wont be ripped off”, sounds fair to me.

    • Paul Bunyan and Blue Ox says….

      Just talked to the manager…..and he’s willing to knock off $100.00 on that TruCoat…….
      W. H. Macy was the perfect “Jerk-Off” car salesman!

      There’s never a wood chipper around when you need one! 🙂

  6. I’ve never bought these warranties, since they’re usually a waste of money, but I’m regretting it on my current car. I bought a five year old Cayenne Turbo. The car is freaking awesome, 520HP V8 and it’s my tow vehicle. I was offered a two year CPO warranty which covers everything, for $5200, through Porsche, not some third party warranty company. I’ve had this car for 5 months and I’ve replaced more than that cost in parts alone, and I did all the labor myself. It would easily be three times as much if the dealer did it. I rolled the dice on this thing, and missed. It’s my first fancy car, and I guess you have to pay to play.

  7. People are so used to the hustle of “extended warranty” bs when it comes to just about everything these days. Buy some $20 gizmo in the Wal-Mart electronics department and get ready to be pitched a $5 warranty. It’s nuts. Suckers will gladly go for these dealer rip-offs.

    I clicked on the JM&A link you provided and went to the “About Us” section. It’s enough to make you want to puke. All the “give back to the community” horse puckey. Such giving people, ripping off consumers from sea to shining sea and spraining a rotator cuff while patting themselves on the back for their generosity and “caring”

    • I picked up an open box subwoofer at Best Buy a few weeks ago. Of course I was asked about the extended warranty, which was 1/2 the cost of the sub itself.

  8. I declined the extended coverage when I bought the Grand Cherokee, bandits wanted nearly 3k then. Electronics is my concern after the neighbors Toyota truck nav unit failed, covered under warranty she said the bill would have been close to 4k if not for warranty! My GC dash display went blank one day, the dealer “reprogrammed” to get it functional.

    So, one day the Jeep blog discussed getting a discounted factory extended coverage package and named the dealers offering it. Some dealer in Michigan, all done online, got my factory coverage for around $1700. Already paid off for a new radiator at 40k miles, that bill would have been $1500.

    I never bought extended coverage before this Jeep, the electronics is why I did it this time although so far it’s been that radiator!

    I know the repair prices I showed above seem outrageous but welcome to modern automotive repair. The Jeep radiator isn’t pull and replace, the front bumper grill etc. removed, AC discharged since the condenser is sandwiched with the radiator, what a mess. I was lucky the dealer mechanic/tech got it back together with no damage, no leaks, and a functional AC.

    • ‘a new radiator at 40k miles’ — Sparkey

      Are radiators made like aluminum beer cans now — so paper-thin you can accidentally pop a hole in one just by sliding it across a shelf?

      Sounds like another piece of value-engineered dogshit.

      • Yes the wonders of modern engineering. Our 91 Silverado has a composite radiator too, original failed year 7 the plastic tank split behind the inlet. Got a deal on another composite made in Thailand, was shocked it fit perfectly and as the years roll on, it’s still leak free and no signs of failure in the plastic where the original GM split. I use quality GL05 antifreeze perhaps it’s plastic friendlier than the gasket eating Dexcool.

        Jeep radiators have numerous complaints for failure.

  9. More tell-tell signs society as a whole is regressing. My generation (generation X) is split on taking out these “extra protections” on new autos/appliances. My parents generation (baby boomers) knew better than to be fleeced and most of the time sales people knew better than to even ask. Many of today’s younger generations are suckers and many businesses see extra $$$$’s to be had. The independent spirit, self-reliance and know how are valuable commodities that are disappearing fast from this nation.

  10. Reliability engineering is one part science and one part black magic. Within some confidence level they know exactly when widgets that make up a system will fail & ensure warranties expire before then. Extended warranties are pure profit.

  11. Back in the day when we bought appliances from Sears they would really push the “extended warranty”. My reply always was “if I’m gonna need that maybe I should buy a different brand”.

  12. ‘“Headlight refinishing” meaning they use rubbing compound on the plastic headlight covers when they yellow (as they will) from exposure to the sun.’ — eric

    Both of my late 90s vehicles have headlight covers made of … you won’t believe this … GLASS. This miracle substance is still as shiny and clear as the day they left the dealer’s lot.

    You’ve probably heard that the Consumer Price Index is hedonically adjusted to account for the (alleged) improving quality of new products. Strange that they don’t make anti-hedonic adjustments for degradations like $1,200 plastic ‘headlight assemblies’ that involve maintenance and higher repair costs; ditto for windshields and mirrors with electronic crap embedded in them.

    On a side note, in today’s New York Slimes, dipshit eclownomist Paul Kurgman asks, “Did the Tesla Story Ever Make Sense?”

    This is actually a contrary indicator. When a blithering ink-stained wretch like Kurgman finally notices that Tesla is getting beat to a bloody pulp, it’s probably due for short bounce.

    • Where was Paul Krugman for the last decade or even during the unveiling of the Cybertruck boondoggle prototype, deliberately timed by Musk to take place during the month/year setting for the story in “Blade Runner”?

      No, that’s just pure coincidence.

      • …and those glass sealed beam headlights only cost a buck or two. Found one still in the box while cleaning out my garage recently, price tag yellowed but readable – &1.00!

  13. Ford realizes that they have a problem with the stealerships and will refund their own extended warranty plans if sold with the vehicle. I speak from experience. However, getting that money back and applied towards your loan will take work and lots of time using a fax machine, even with people in Dearborn on your side. Plus be aware that the refund window is very narrow.

    OTOH, after recently replacing a water pump on a 2016 Explorer which involved labor that essentially required partial disassembly of the engine — $3000 labor to swap a $150 part — in some cases, the stealers may have a point offering the warranties, especially with all of the recalls Ford has seen lately.

    Caveat emptor.

  14. I won’t own a late model car without a ‘factory’ bumper to bumper warranty on it.
    A $100 deductible past the OEM coverage is OK with me to lower upfront cost.
    So if OEM is 3-36, and I plan on owning it 5-60, I always extend it to that timeframe.
    Most OEM warranties also pro-rate it if you sell the car early.
    I typically have paid $800 to 1400 to extend these to 5-60 or 5-70 (on $50-60K trucks).
    Once and a while I sell it early and have gotten back from $300-600 relative.
    But a big BUT, it must be a OEM warranty, never ever a 3rd party.
    My experience over 25+ years (15-20 vehicles?) is I have overpaid a little compared to what I got in return, but it’s not a big number, maybe a 2-3 grand over 25 years, and I can just drop the car off and say ‘see ya, call me when it’s fixed’.
    Well not true, I just remembered a ‘certified’ truck I bought a long time ago, cost $15K to fix, and so I am in the black big time over the long-haul. (I think it was a flood truck that got re-titled somehow and the dealer got hosed or was the one doing the hosing).
    Just how it works for me.

  15. I ordered a GV-70 last week. Reminds me, I didn’t get a receipt for the deposit — I better contact the guy again today. But anyway, the GV-70 comes with dealer service for the first 3 years. Which makes sense for Genesis to throw-in for “free” because it’s, as you said, very unlikely anything beyond oil and filters will need changing.

    There’s a couple guys that I work with that are huge fans of Subaru. I hear that their dealer service is super shady. The really old Outback (which was a wagon) was actually pretty cool looking (from the outside anyway) but the new Outback or Forester SUVs are just hideous IMO. There’s nothing Subaru sells new that I’m interested in.

    Alas, it’ll take 3 – 6 months for my GV-70 to arrive from the factory. But that sweet service, roadside assistance, valet service — all complementary — along with that 100K mile drive train warranty is gonna be sweet!

    Today, I’m picking up my ’02 A6 Avant from the shop. New alternator and brakes are gonna set me back almost $1700! That’s from a local shop, not Audi which would be probably double or more. They tell me I need exhaust work. Estimated at $1800. Gonna handle that next Spring.

  16. If the extended warranty covers the computerized bits and pieces for a long enough time period it might just pay off. On used cars it might be a good idea but make sure you get the car’s manufactures warranty and not aftermarket.

    From what I can see changing your oil more often might also save money in the long run. I only change my oil at the 5,000 mile mark (usually once a year), that said half of my driving is highway and the rest of the driving still gets the car hot. Toyota is recommending 10,000 mile oil change intervals and that sounds crazy to me.

    Yearly rust proofing makes sense if you’re in the rust belt but probably not in California.

    I could say more but car guys and gals probably know this already.

    • I tried using full synthetic oil and only changing at 10,000 miles once. Just once.

      The oil came out just this side of sludge, I got it just in time, and the engine sounded better after changing it.

      After a little more experimentation I found that 5-7k appeared to be a good interval for full synthetic. I prefer every 5k miles, or twice a year.

      I change it every 3k for synthetic blend or straight dino juice.

      YMMV but that’s what I personally would recommend.

      And don’t forget to change the other fluids (transmission, coolant, diff, etc.) regularly, also!

  17. The dealer is not going to offer you anything unless it generates profit. Which makes any kind of “enhanced” warranty immediately suspect. Even on used cars. Keep in mind, no warranty is any better than the company that sold the product to you. Most will fight tooth and nail to NOT pay for covered expenses. Or to make exceptions to coverage buried deep in the fine print. Fine print most of us don’t have the patience, inclination, or the time to read. Even though the “bad” things in contracts are ALWAYS in the fine print. They aren’t going to put them on the face of the contract, that would make it hard to sell.

    • John, I have never had a factory warranty claim denied. Never even got in an argument over one. I guess I believe in ya gotta pay to play, and I’m ok with people making a profit as long as the service is held up.
      Forgot to add a biggie, so I am really in the black. Bought a used-certified caddy DTS, 15 years ago. it was 2-3 years old, paid 25-30K? I demanded the car be ‘certified’ and they fought me, so I knew something was up. I should have walked. but they relented, and 2-3 months in, the engine came apart. Took it to my local caddy dealer and what they dug up was amazing. car was in a major wreck that literally bent the crankshaft and why the engine came apart, but boy did someone do a good job making it look good cosmetically. The GM Rep was astounded that the out-of-state dealer made it a certified car. Cost them big bucks for a brandy new engine. They actually took the old damaged engine apart to see what was up. Huge labor costs. And I had a new caddy loaner to drive around for a month.
      So in the end, two major major repairs on cars that shouldn’t have been certified but were.
      So I saved 20-30K, on people trying to con me? See why I believe in factory warranties now? Just my experience.

      • ChrisIN,

        “I have never had a factory warranty claim denied.”
        Nor have I. Exactly as I said, any warranty is only as good as who sold it too you. Car makers could not survive denying claims. Those selling “extended” warranties can.

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