By on March 17, 2014

warranty. Shutterstock user Castleski

Mark writes:


I’m sure you’ve fielded similar questions in the past, but in the spirit of basic cable, here’s a potential re-run: I have a 2012 Mustang V6 with the performance package & a 6-speed manual. It’s coming up on 26k miles, so I’ve got 10k miles and/or about 9 months before the 3/36 bumper to bumper warranty expires. The car has had a couple issues covered under warranty so far, with the biggest one being a new steering box at about 15k miles. A nearby Ford dealer will sell me a Ford factory warranty (not an aftermarket roll of the dice) to basically double the 3/36 coverage for about $1200.

That comes with a $100 deductible, and if I sell the car before the warranty expires, I can have the unused portion refunded to me. Normally I wouldn’t consider buying an extended warranty, but I’ve had just enough trouble with the car up to this point, and read enough horror stories about the MT82 gearbox, to make me think about it. I’m really not sure how long I’ll keep the car, but I do like the idea of having that warranty security blanket as long as I do. What’s your take?

Sajeev answers:

Nothing wrong with revisiting a classic!  We’ve previously said that “scary” Euro-metal needs an extended warranty, provided you shop around for the best price. And that less scary metal might not benefit from any warranty, even the factory one with fancy Lexus loaner cars and plush Lexus lounges. So why not discuss in terms of Ford’s ESP plan?

This commonplace, low value Ford product (unlike the Lexus and BMW) is not an easy vehicle to armchair assess and judge.  Aside from the well known MT82, will an “unmodified” Mustang have significant failure in the next 72,000-ish miles and 3-ish years? I am guessing not.  And will the MT82 survive under the V6’s less aggressive torque curve and your shifting behavior?  That’s entirely possible.

Back to the unmodified part: assuming you aren’t skirting warranty issues with an non-stock engine tune (that pushes the boundaries of “safe” aftermarket air-fuel ratios) or aftermarket suspension bits, etc. you aren’t likely to break anything large enough to justify the cost of the warranty.

My gut says no, don’t get an extended warranty.  Instead get a local mechanic that you trust, and use places like Rockauto and eBay for getting spares. But if the peace of mind suits you, stick with the factory (i.e. Ford ESP) warranty and shop around: perhaps you can get it for less by emailing dealerships across the country.

[Image: Shutterstock user Castleski]

Send your queries to [email protected]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. 

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28 Comments on “Piston Slap: A Faltering Ford’s ESP?...”

  • avatar

    financially it probably doesn’t make sense, it is more a peace of mind thing.

    with dealer warranties I would be worried, tomorrow they are out of business, changed owners, or sneak fine-print in. All warranties are insurances, as such designed to generate money for the company, not you.

    Did you think selling it? I mean what will you do after that next warranty expires? Depreciation probably is prohibitive, I assume.

    Not sure if possible, but can you have it checked out thoroughly before warranty expires?

    • 0 avatar

      Dealer warranties are 99.9% underwritten by someone else besides the dealer. In this case, it’s by Ford Motor.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford’s warranty is only worth anything if you spend a bunch of money at the dealership on chintzy services. I found that out with my ’06 Mustang GT. I do my own oil changes and fluid services and they refused to acknowledge the clunking problem with my struts until the warranty ran out – when they suddenly stated there was a problem and it would cost $1800 to fix. I did it myself for $800 AND lowered the car AND added camber adjustment. Don’t even bother with Ford’s warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      OP can get a less expensive Ford ESP warranty (PowerTrain Care) and maybe save a dollar or two. Of course he should shop around for best pricing.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Its a no-brainer. I’m seeing a 7 yr 100K $50 deductible through an on-line discounter (flood ford) for $775. That’s the “basic” warranty that covers powertrain, and running gear, with the notable exception of fuel tank and radiator. Fully transferrable for a $75 fee.

      In reality, that’s a prepaid $500 repair. The other $250 is the insurance part. Well worth it. Ford’s active and heavily discounted extended factory warranty program is an excellent selling point for Ford in my opinion.

  • avatar

    FWIW, my experience with aftermarket warranties have not been good. OTOH, I’ve only ever bought four extended warranties in 30+ years of buying cars. But, the best treatment came from the factory warranty. If you feel you need one, spend the money on that. Also, like Sajeev said, shop around on the internet. A 10 minute Google search should provide you with some good choices.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ford ESP warranties are oftem priced better than 3rd party warranties. I get something in the mail from aftermarket places every week. I’ve called, just to see how much they are gouging people for, and its more than double the PremiumCare price I would pay on my C-Max.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t recommend buying a non-factory warranty in most cases. The whole point of a warranty is peace of mind, and in my experience, its much easier to handle problems with a factory warranty.

  • avatar

    $1200 for an extra 3/36 is too strong. There are plenty of dealerships that sell the Ford ESP warranties online. If you are only worried about the powertrain, check out a website like Flood Ford. PowertrainCare with a $100 deductible for an extra four years and 64K miles is $640. PremiumCare for the same mileage/years is $340 more.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re a Ford dealer that sell ESP’s at a reasonable price, they’ll also finance it for 12 months at 0% APR too.
      Just sign up for the email promotions before you buy to get another $100~ off or so.

      If your in a Mopar product, Harold Ziegler does the same thing, but on Mopar protection plans

      They’re are several similar solutions for Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Hyundai/KIA

      • 0 avatar

        Google is our friend. So many Ford dealerships off ESPs for decent prices. Many, like Flood or Lombard, will tell you the price online without having to talk to anyone.

  • avatar

    Your powertrain warranty goes to 60k. I wouldn’t worry about it till then.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Powertrains are almost the least likely thing to fail on cars these days, especially something as basic as a V6 Mustang. In this case, I’d just stick the $1200 in the bank for a repair fund, and feed it another $50 a month or so.

  • avatar

    Ford is becoming the new VW, where throngs of fan boys declare their undying love for their Foci, Fusions, Festivas, Mustangs, Escapes, etc., even as their steering boxes, Getrag transmissions, cooling systems,’steering boxes, DSGs, etc. fall off/grenade/catch fire/eat themselves/launch spontaneously across the vehicle hood at 15,000 miles.

    “It’s been a fantastic vehicle except for [insert problems 1 through 8 that the occurred within the first 24,000 miles of new purchase].”

    • 0 avatar

      As a multiple Ford product household, I will do no such thing. I really like both of the FoMoCo products I own, but I cannot defend some of the stupid problems as of late. My early build Focus was a mess, even if the ST I owned briefly was much better. I try not to worry about my MKT, even with the 3.5EB shudder issues that have been occuring on the F150 and the PTU failures. My C-Max has been rock solid. I knew it wouldn’t get 47 MPG, so I’m not mad. Ford even sent me a check for $550. I’d make that deal again.

      • 0 avatar

        bball, you are not a “fan boy” of the type that I speak of.

        You are an honest person who proclaims an affinity for Ford products while acknowledging Ford’s quality control & reliability issues that have stained the badge according to credible sources citing credible & vast data, such as Consumer Reports.

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          I love my Ford and I have had no problems with it. But c’mon. Let’s use our noggins. a 100K warranty that covers the stuff that will keep you from getting to work for only $775 is a bargain. What happens if you sell your car in year six with say, 20K left? I’m guessing you get 80 percent of that purchase price back.

    • 0 avatar

      DeadWeight…..don’t forget the corroding aluminum hoods on the Mustang that causes the paint to flake off. Ford won’t even acknowledge that issue warranty or not.

      The absolute best warranty to get on a Ford is to not have one. They are garbage.

  • avatar

    I say see if you can get five years for a little more and buy it. I’m not anti-Ford by any means but product not named Fx50, Econoline, or Panther seems to be hit and miss the last decade or so. $1200 at the dealer goes real quick. I spent $700 for a tune up and front shocks at my indy.

  • avatar

    As a lot of people said, shop around. Absolutely.

    It’s mostly emotional. These warranties have to be priced at a profit. Just to guess, assume that they are marked up 100%. So a $1000 warranty has an expected loss over all vehicles of $500. You are paying $500 for peace of mind and a known cost for a highly variable cost. In other words, insurance

    And, like something like life insurance, there is no reason that you WANT to collect or get your money back on this particular car. You just want to avoid the relatively rare situation where something major breaks.

    One last thought is I like dealer service — with the exception of the cost. A factory warranty excludes that extra cost — so you can just take it to the dealer, which I would personally prefer.

    Which brings me back to the emotional considerations. If it makes you feel better about a car that you like — then buy it. I don’t think it is an bad deal. Especially if it makes you feel better about the car.

    Having said all that — I have never bought one and don’t know how they work out in real life.

    • 0 avatar

      I just checked on the internet ….

      5 Year / 100,000 base care.
      $300 Instant Rebate (before options): $830.00
      Or just $49.67/month for 12 mo. with only $149 due today (before options)

      5 Year 100,000 Mile PremiumCare – Genuine Ford ESP
      Our Low Price: $1,335.00 (before options)
      $300 Instant Rebate (before options): $1,035.00
      Or just $69/month for 12 mo. with only $207 due today (before options)

      This was 10 minutes on the internet, so don’t rely on this for anything but a rough idea of what someone is willing to sell it for.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Looks like Floodford is a little cheaper, but your price might include the cost of a rental car. My guess is Ford makes only 12 percent or so on the warranties. One of the discounters let it slip that they sell for 65 bucks over the wholesale price from Ford. That’s pretty darn efficient pricing.

  • avatar

    No one has commented on the classic awesomeness of the picture that accompanies this post?

    Chevy Chase (who played President Ford on SNL) at a Ford/Dole Campaign Event in the 70s, or perhaps President Ford on the set of SNL? (Even better IMHO.)

  • avatar

    How much more is a $0 deductible? If you really think you’ll use it, the $100 deductible (per repair or per trip?) can get eaten up and get pricey in a quick hurry. I had a $0 on my Contour SVT and it paid for itself probably 10 times over (I also bought at dealer cost due to a friend’s father owning a Ford dealer). Also, will the little things irritate you and you want the dealer to fix (e.g., creaks, sticky window switch)? That would be another reason to get the extended warranty.

    Search dealers online as other posters have suggested – I bought our Honda extended warranty from a dealer in Mass for half of the list cost and below Honda invoice (Honda gives kickbacks to dealers who exceed a certain quantity so they work on volume).

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