Piston Slap: The Extended "Luxury" Period

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
piston slap the extended luxury period
Mehran writes:

First of all I wanted to thank you for your great blog, I read it daily. Now I recently have bought a 2010 Lexus RX 350 with 30K miles on the clock. the original warranty will expire this coming January, since I have bought the car I have put about 5K on it without any problems, now should I buy the extend warranty or not?

The car was a returned 3 year lease which I got a pretty good deal since the dealer was a family friend; at that time they quoted me $2000 for the 5 year 75K extended warranty.

Sajeev answers:

Thank YOU for contributing! Everyone who clicks/reads/writes to this series helps fuel Citizen Sierra and fund the rotisserie restoration on my other brown project from 1983, a Fox Body Lincoln Continental. But enough about me and my fantastically bizarre life with cars…

In general, consider these points:

1. Factory or no? Factory warranties can make life easier: problems with warranty claims goes smoother with a call to Lexus’ official 1-800 number compared to a no-name aftermarket warranty company. Will you ever have a claim problem with a factory warranty, fixed at the dealer? What about servicing at the dealership where there’s a shiny new Lexus loaner car, gourmet coffee and snacks, high-tech lounges, spa treatments and all the other luxurious crap this brand is (sometimes) famous for? Depending on the amenities of your local Lexus dealer, consider the luxuries before signing anything.

2. Do you need a warrantyany warranty?

  • Parts Cost: they shall be cheap, even the unique Lexus bits from the dealer. The RX is basically a Toyota Camry with a lift kit and a far nicer body/interior. Any wear items (unplanned, not brake jobs and the stuff in the owner’s manual) in the next 70,000 miles won’t necessarily “outspend” the warranty cost…including labor.
  • Parts Availability: I don’t expect significant downtime waiting for Lexus RX spares. The odds of having parts on backorder from a Japanese/American brand is less likely than the low-volume models from Europe with unique engines/interiors/etc.
  • Knowledge Base: who can actually fix your car properly? Is your local mechanic gonna cringe at the sight of an electrical problem on your Mercedes E350 Lexus RX? Again, refer back to the Camry heritage.
  • Labor rates: Some cars are harder to diagnose and remove/install parts. The Camry based RX isn’t making me sweat, compared to other vehicles with super-tight access and tons of mechanical bits like turbocharging plumbing. More to the point, there’s no need to swing open the RX’s face like a barn door to access the front of the engine like some Audi products.

Considering all these factors, I wouldn’t recommend an extended warranty on a vehicle that’s so cheap to fix, so reliable and so commonplace. Then again, if you want the piece of mind and the free loaner cars at the Lexus dealership…

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 44 comments
  • Jacob_coulter Jacob_coulter on Nov 04, 2013

    On this particular car, I would say it's a waste, you're better off just setting the money aside for potential repairs. There's other brands though where I would likely buy it but Lexus is about as good as it gets. I agree with the consensus that aftermarket warranties for just about any product are a rip off. When you do have to use them, they make your life miserable with the hoops and the denials. i ahd a few family members that went through this. But also keep in mind, even the manufacturers extended warranty will try and play games that they wouldn't on a new car warranty, at least that's what I've seen. Financially speaking, you're almost always better off taking your chances than buying any type of warranty for ANY product.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Nov 05, 2013

    You're not going to have some catastrophic failure before 75K miles, and the regular maintenance stuff like belts or struts isn't covered with a warranty anyway - so avoid.

  • 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
  • El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
  • RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.