This is precisely what a car warranty addresses; in its essentials, it is purely there for the peace of mind of the consumer. The fact that you are guaranteed at least a certain amount of quality for a certain amount of time, tips the balancing scales into taking money out of your pocket to purchase a car. This does not mean a warranty is only part of the evil schemes of the profit machine; rather think of it as the manufacturer's confidence in its own products taking a manifest form.
But do you really need one?
But do you really need one?
The short answer is: Whatever helps you sleep at night. The entire basis of the warranty is that no one (not you, the auto manufacturer, the dealer nor the company selling the warranty) actually knows if your car is going to break down. After all, if they were certain your car was going to break down within a certain time frame, there would be no one selling warranties. This is why they do not sell extended warranties for cars beyond a certain age: things are far more likely to break down at that point.
When looking at a car warranty, a detailed examination of what the warranty covers should come first. Parts and labor should be covered, as well as the length of coverage in both mileage and years should be spelled out (batteries and tires are usually excluded). You should also find out if wear-and-tear is included in the warranty.
A quick check of the company selling the warranty should also be conducted. Comments at the Better Business Bureau, ratings from Standard and Poor's, and WebAssured.com will give you quick insight into whether the company is gold or gloss.
Whether the warranty is a manufacturer backed warranty or a dealer warranty is something else you should be clear on. Manufacturer warranties will be honored at any of the manufacturer's dealerships in the country. Dealer warranties may be limited to a specific dealership alone. Independent warranties generally allow you to go to any licensed repair facility of your choice. Ideally, you want a warranty that will allow you to visit any mechanic or dealer of your choice. The bill should be paid entirely by the warranty company, and should cover everything including labor, parts and sales tax.
There is also the matter of who pays the bill upfront. Some warranties have you pay out of your own pocket first, and then later reimburse you. But any rock solid company will usually foot the bill right off the bat.
The maintenance required in order for the warranty to stay valid should also be noted. While standard maintenance should definitely be done, how much will it cost you over time? Also some warranties require that all maintenance work be done at specified dealerships.
Cancellation fees are common with warranties, if they can be canceled at all. Some warranties can be canceled during an introductory grace period without charge.
Remember that warranties are not insurance policies. Misuse or accidents are not covered by warranties, and there is no better way to void a warranty then by neglecting routine maintenance.