Tag: warranty

By on November 27, 2011

 

Kevin writes:

Sajeev & Steve:

I am currently cruising through all four Canadian seasons in my 2008 6MT Audi S5. Could be worse, I know. The car is owned by Audi Finance, and apparently they want it back at the end of November – something about the lease term coming to an end. As of late, conversations about the S5 have gone something like this:

Q1. Do you like it?
A1. Unequivocally It’s amazing.

Q2. Are you going to buy it out or extend the lease?
A2. [email protected]!%inglutely not.

Q3. Why not – you just said you loved it?!
A3. True, but it’s a constant reminder of the adages (i) never buy a first year vehicle (ii) never lease a car out of warranty and (iii) someone, somewhere, is tired of her sh!t. Well, maybe just the first two.

The car itself is amazing to drive in any conditions on any road – almost too good. It’s very, very fast, comfortable, handles beautifully (with the usual Quattro understeer), beautiful to look at, has rear view camera, parking sensors, iPod integration, heated seats, bluetooth, navigation, B&O sound system, etc. I’ve had it at the track a number of times, drive it to work in traffic every day and have dedicated rims and brilliant snow tires for winter (making snow and ice something to smile about). The trunk is massive; I have taken two other people and all our ski and snowboard gear to Blue Mountain, and often take a passenger and two full hockey bags two the rink once a week. Hell, I have even managed to escape the concentric circle of hell that is IKEA with a twin mattress in the back and still been able to see out the back window. For some inexplicable reason, I still hand wash it and park it far away from anything or anybody; it looks and drives like it’s brand new.

That said, it also has had at least $5000 worth of work done to it under warranty, including new front control arms, an entire new clutch assembly and master slave cylinder, new blower motor and fan and new window regulator. On top of the repairs, the 4.2L V8 is a very thirsty beast and it costs a second king’s ransom to lease and insure every month.

So – the question isn’t whether or not to buy it out or extend the lease. I won’t own this car one second out of warranty and I don’t see any point extending the lease on a 2008 when you can spend the same money leasing a newer model.

The question is – where do I go from here? November isn’t exactly the best time to be putting a new car on the road in this part of the world. Hell, I’m not even close to being convinced that I want a brand new car. This was my first new, never driven by anyone else, vehicle. Definitely the nicest car I’ve ever owned as well. I previously had a nice 2004 Infiniti G35 I picked up off of Leasebusters after some chump put $7000 down, didn’t drive it and then walked away. Prior to that I had a well used Integra that simply wouldn’t die no matter how much it was abused. Previous rides are of varying levels of embarrassment and, for that matter alone, deemed irrelevant.

What else has the style, handling and versatility of the S5? I’ve toyed with the idea of a GT-R, but those things are now almost $130K here (taxes in). I am going to have a hard time justifying spending $100K on anything given the (i) state of the roads (i) lack of parking lot manners (iii) inadequacy of driver training and (iv) lack of traffic violation enforcement for anything other than speeding in a straight line on an empty road.

Do I insist on AWD? I think it’s brilliant. especially after driving the G35 (not to mention having to dig it out of the driveway numerous times). Do I suck it up, put on my big boy pants and get a 9114S? Do I buy a winter AWD vehicle like a used FJ Cruiser and then look for a three season, perfectly balanced, gently used and good for the occasional track day, as yet to be determined, second car? I find myself looking at 993 Turbos online fairly often.

This isn’t about money. It is, however, about smart money. I’m barely over 40, gainfully employed, have my own hair and am financially secure. That said, I don’t need a bright orange lambo in the driveway in order to impress the neighbours, the ladies or both.

Next steps?

Steve answers:

I see you are suffering from Audi syndrome. Symptoms include but not limited to…

1) Bitching about the lack of reliability.
2) Bitching about the cost of repair.
3) Delusions of grandeur involving even more expensive vehicles… all of which have abysmal ownership costs.
4) Inability to perform simple addition
5) Bitching, bitching, moaning, whining, and even more bitching!

So let’s get to the point…

Do you like the car?

If so then keep it. The maintenance costs will likely cost less than the monthly payment. Plus if we’re talking about ‘smart money’ then leasing should be as far away from your vocabulary as Mercury is from Pluto.

I would look at lowering the overall costs by opting for a good independent shop that specializes in Audis. Subscribe to a few forums that are Audi-centric. Figure out what parts companies offer high quality replacements for the lackluster and under-engineered components… and have at it.

Sajeev answers:

Wow, that’s a nice list of things to fix under warranty! I am sure Jack Baruth had a similar level of torrid romance with his S5, pictured above.

We all know that modern German cars are crap relative to their Japanese and American counterparts. Fine. But I am still dumbfounded as to why modern German cars eat through control arms in the infancy of their lives. Two Benzes in the Mehta family, a friend’s BMW, another friend’s VW, and your Audi. And here I was bitching because the complex suspension in my Lincoln Mark VIII needed a full rebuild after 10 years and 130,000 miles on the road!

Short answer? Just least another Audi. You need them, and I don’t know if a BMW will charm you enough to justify jumping ship. I suspect your gut is telling you the same thing, especially if you love AWD.

As to your reference of smart money? Join me in the ranks of Ford Ranger ownership, but go ahead and spring for a quattro-like 4×4. Keepin’ it too real? Stick with the four ring brand, buy according to your pocketbook and what has the sweetest lease deals at the time.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to [email protected] , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

By on November 7, 2011

TTAC Commentator A Caving Ape writes:

I have a 2001 VW Jetta 1.8 with 130,000 miles on it. It has its shortcomings that I can’t fix (front drive, rear legroom), but for the most part it’s a fantastic vehicle for me. But I worry that it’s a time bomb.

I do most of the small/easy maintenance myself, and and happy to pay an independent for stuff I’m not comfortable with (timing belt, front end stuff, clutch when the time comes). This will likely be true with any car I own. I’m very satisfied with the running costs of my car, but from what I can tell I am the only person in the world with a well-functioning early 2000s VW with more than 100,000 miles. This makes me worry that it will crap out on my one day. It’s my only car so this would be very bad.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2011

It was Tamara’s first new car. A 2003 Saturn VUE AWD with a 4-cylinder and all the options. Out the door at $25,000.  Overjoyed to have finally afforded her very own new car, Tamara splurged and spoiled it. Saturn seat covers soon adorned the interior and a chrome grille guard was added to give her cute zonker yellow ride a bit more gravitas. The Vue would be her absolute pride and joy for the next seven years.

Until it died. Seven years, two transmissions and only 69k miles, Tamara got fed up with being one of many victims of an under-engineered CVT. Besides she couldn’t afford the $5000+ bill.

Yet she wasnt alone. Far from it. Tamara is just one of thousands of folks who have been given the stiff arm by a manufacturer. All the major manufacturers do this to a degree and no, it’s not because they are evil and uncaring. You have to draw a line somewhere.

(Read More…)

By on August 23, 2011

TTAC commentator stephada writes:

Hello I drive a 2010 C4S, bought new, now with 42k miles and I am considering an Extended Warranty through a company called Protected Life, sold through the Porsche dealership. My service manager said they used to not offer this because they had trouble finding one that could cover things well enough, until they found Protected.

I’d like the Best and Brightest to weigh in on the specific example I’m facing. I’ve read the original B&B thread but it dealt with the issue philosophically and generally. I trust the B&B can help out again in my choices, as they did on the question of ”S or 4S?” [Ed: follow-up here].
(Read More…)

By on February 5, 2011


Kurt Wiley writes in:

Having been a long time reader of TTAC, I now pose a question to the Best and Brightest:

Should one who likes the driving experience offered by German brands, but abhors their reliability and maintenance expense, seek safety with an extended warranty? Or will purchasing one of those warranties be an utter waste of money?

Considering I’m about to embark on a weekend roadtrip in a 12-year-old M Coupe, I’m hoping the answer to this question is “no.” At the same time, I’m willing to admit that I bought the car I wanted and that a little bit of risk was part of the deal. But then, I’m just a callow youth with no kids to worry about… I’ll let TTAC’s Best and Brightest bring their wealth of experience to this question while I pray that Mr M doesn’t blow a gasket this weekend.

By on July 14, 2010

In hopes of convincing consumers that buying a battery-electric car will not be a financial disaster for them, GM is announcing an eight-year, 100k mile transferable warranty for its Volt battery. According to GM’s release, Volt batteries have undergone

more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation testing of Volt battery packs since 2007, as well as each pack’s nine modules and 288 cells. The development, validation and test teams have met thousands of specifications and validated each of the Volt battery’s components.

Tests include short circuit, corrosion, dust, impact, water submersion, crush and penetration, and extreme temperature swings combined with aggressive drive cycles, also known as  “Shake, Bake and Roll.”

GM does not, however, specify a minimum-performance range for the battery, saying only that it can run on battery power for “up to the first 40 miles.” That makes it tough to understand what kind of defect or level of performance would deserve a warranty repair or replacement, which is really the key consideration. GM’s claim that this

is the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle

is technically true, but it is also the same warranty period enjoyed by Toyota’s Prius hybrid. Full release after the jump.

(Read More…)

By on June 2, 2010


Many people (especially on this site) worry that Toyota might become the new old GM. I beg to differ. Toyota is a well run company, it turns a profit and builds good cars (not great, but good ones). When GM was swirling around the porcelain throne, people were desperately seeking ideas to recall lost customers back to GM. One thought was the “5 year, bumper-to-bumper warranty.”

The logic was watertight. Stop saying that your cars are as good as the competition (I’m looking at you, Mr Lutz) and put your money where your mouth is. Why should a customer commit tens of thousands to a car, if you can’t commit to a measly 5 years? But GM never did it. We had a powertrain warranty, but not a bumper-to-bumper one. Now compare this to Hyundai, who where, and let’s not mince words here, a joke in the car world. A commitment to quality and a 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty (in the UK) later and Hyundai is up there with the best of them. So, if it’s good enough for Hyundai…. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2010

The ticking timebomb? (couretsy:gio-trading.com)

TTAC Commentator PG writes:

Sajeev, In their December 2009 issue, Car and Driver has a great article about how extended warranties — such as those offered by U.S. Fidelis and others — are largely scams that deceive customers, don’t really cover the cost of repairs at all, and don’t give refunds at cancellation.

My parents own a 2002 BMW X5 4.4. They bought it from Carmax and have the extended warranty from that dealership. It’s a fantastic car, but it’s had some very costly repairs — thankfully, those have been covered in full or at least in part by Carmax’s warranty. The thing is, that warranty expires this month and can’t be renewed.

The ‘rents are thinking of getting an extended warranty for the Bimmer, but after reading that C&D story I’m pretty convinced they would be throwing their money away. My question: are there ANY extended warranties out there that they can use? What can they do to help avoid the full cost of repairs?

Buying a new/different car isn’t really an option right now, because they want to keep the X5 as long as they can. The car has about 80,000 miles on it and still runs well, except for the occasional hiccup, but those can be pretty pricey on a BMW.

If you or the best and brightest have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

(Read More…)

By on January 7, 2010

It was a very good decade...

This graph of Hyundai’s market since 1993 is a refreshing antidote to yesterday’s depressing Detroit market share picture. And it doesn’t take a whiz kid to deduce the single most important factor in Hyundai’s success. Notice a bit of an uptick starting in 1998? That was the year Hyundai introduced its 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty. It’s been suggested before on these pages that GM should address its “perception gap” with meaningful improvements in warranty coverage rather than more talk. After all, if it could fix Hyundais weak 1990s-era rep, it couldn’t hurt The General’s. This seems to be conclusive proof that warranties matter as much as the products they cover. After all, what good are a few extra horsepower or more interior room to a consumer compared to insulation from risk?

By on November 30, 2009

Anonymous writes:

I have a 2008 Kia Sorento with the 3.3L, about 11k miles.  The other day, I took it to my local mechanic for an oil change. Drove it all over town during the course of the following couple days.  Then, last night, as I am about 3/4 mile from home, my low oil pressure light goes on.  At that point, I roll down my window to listen to the car and can hear a grinding type noise (valves sticking?) on acceleration.  I limp the rest of the way home and turn off the engine.  This morning, I call the mechanic and they send the service manager right over.  No oil on the dipstick whatsoever.  He adds oil to the engine and drives it down the street to the shop.  They inspect, and tell me it is a bad o-ring on the cone filter that caused all the oil to leak out over the course of 2 days, and that it is possible that they had not tightened it sufficiently when the changed the oil.    They said no other damage had been done, replaced the o-ring, changed the oil and filter and sent me on my way.

So my question is this…what is the possibility that other (long term) damage could have been done?  Should I have the vehicle checked out by another mechanic, or even the Kia dealership?  Should I not even inform the dealership, as they may use it as a way to deny future warranty claims?  The vehicle is no longer making the grinding type noise, and seems to be fine.  I may drive it lightly the next few days just to be sure.

(Read More…)

By on November 27, 2009

Picture 3

Ben writes:

Hello Sajeev, my father owns a 2005 Ford Focus wagon. The car has 100,000 km’s on it (Canadian) and it has been well maintained. The car has never given him any issues and runs very well but the paint is in horrible condition. He purchased the vehicle after the lease was up and soon after the paint started peeling. He didn’t think too much of it, but recently it has gotten much worse… Ford did not apply primer on the car.

(Read More…)

By on November 12, 2009

0910_4wd_03_z+2008_dodge_ram_2500_buildup+cummins_diesel_engine

Times are tough. Margins are tight. Carmakers are looking for savings anywhere they can. As mechanical work performed by a dealer under a manufacturer’s warranty comes straight off the automaker’s bottom line, it’s not all that surprisingly that we’re getting reports that certain manufacturers (cough Chrysler cough) are dragging their heels on paying for warranty work. In specific, we’re hearing that owners of Cummins diesel-powered Rams are having to stump-up for the cost of engine repairs, as the mothership blames “issues” on driver negligence, poor operating conditions and the knock-out punch “contaminated fuel.” Are you having any trouble getting warranty work on your vehicle(s)?

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