Should I buy an Extended Warranty for my Subaru?

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Subaru Repair Seattle; Should I buy an Extended Warranty for my Subaru?  

So you have made the decision to purchase a new Subaru, you did all of your research, and found the best price on the model Subaru you wanted.  Now comes the dreaded march into the finance office at the Subaru dealer, and this is where an entirely new sales pitch starts as the Subaru dealer and the finance company makes their money in add on sales, and nothing is more lucrative than selling an extended warranty and gap insurance.

But do you really need an extended warranty, and should you be buying a Subaru extended warranty or consider a third party option?

What Exactly is an extended warranty?  It’s a bet, a large expensive bet between you and the seller or provider of the warranty it’s very similar to buying an insurance policy. Your betting the Subaru you just bought is going to need a lot of repair work outside of the standard warranty and the seller of the warranty policy is betting you won’t or in some cases at least not covered items due to carefully worded language in the policy.

The first thing to consider is just how much is the warranty going to cost, and don’t forget to add in finance charges if you financed the warranty policy. Next did you buy a model that’s known for problems? Or longer term issues that won’t show up the first 3 years for most items or the first 5 years for powertrain components such as an engine or transmission related failure.  Will Subaru do anything for you without the warranty if something happens a little outside of the warranty they provided with the car? Where do you want to take your Subaru for service? If you buy a Subaru branded warranty your only choice will be the dealer and unless you want to constantly make several trips for service (one to a good independent for service and another to the dealer for warranty repairs) you will almost always pay more. If you don’t take your late model and still under warranty Subaru to an Independent how will you really know if you have a potential warrantable item? If you only go to the Dealer unless it states on the Work order”customer states”  It won’t get looked at, so how would you know you had a minor oil leak unless you got under your Subaru removed the splash pan and looked under it with a flashlight and doesn’t that defeat the purpose of paying someone to service you Subaru?

Recently Subaru has had some issues with oil consumption issues with some 2011-2014 FB engines, and some stalling due to the torque convertor in early model CVT equipped vehicles. In both of those cases the warranty period was extended without you purchasing anything else.  If you bought an extended warranty let’s say for the powertrain but then Subaru extended the warranty to 100k for customer satisfaction coupled with pressure form NHTSA what did you buy?

It’s generally going to be our advice to not buy an extended warranty if you are buying a new Subaru.  If you are buying a used Subaru without a lot of service history you may want to consider it, but buying an extended warranty doesn’t mean it makes the purchase wiser and may only make it a more expensive one. Where I reside there are so many choices and if a customer does a pre purchase inspection, I generally still think they don’t need to spend the extra money on an extended warranty. However if they decide to do so I would never suggest buying the Subaru branded warranty on a used Subaru and shop for one yourself, making sure you spend the time to read about what’s covered to make sure you obtain value out of it.   

 

Thanks for Reading

-Justin Stobb

All Wheel Drive Auto

“Helping you with your Subaru”

30 Responses

  1. would you consider a extended warranty on the WRX a high performance vehicle. quoted $2800 for 8 years/80,000, increasing our monthly payment by $30 for 6 years

    1. Hello Joyce,

      I am not really a fan of aftermarket or extended warranties. One they don’t actually start until the factory warranty is over. They limit where the Subaru can be serviced and repaired. Many times the selling entity has first right of refusal to service what if you don’t like their service and they wont release it for another entity to repair?

      If you are buying a new Subaru from the Subaru Dealer you are saying that all future service and repair will be done there, and the Dealer is the last place you want to take your Subaru for service and repair, there is no value.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  2. Hi Justin,

    I am considering the purchase of a 2016 Subaru Legacy. 21,500 miles, 7 oil changes…it is not certified but has 38,000 miles and 13 months left on original Powertrain warranty. Do you think it is a good bet to skip the extended warranty? Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thank you,

    Paul

    1. Hello Paul,

      Generally I do not suggest extended warranties, but that is also sometimes based on the car and the situation. I would still have a prepurchase inspection done, and let that be part of the decision.

      To answer the question about the warranty I have to first ask Questions

      Is it Subaru branded? If yes understand you will only be able to take it to a Subaru Dealer
      If it’s not Subaru branded, will the selling dealer waive their rights to service?

      A big unknown in the marketplace is if the selling entity has a service department, they have first right of refusal to service the car, if its a used car lot, they may not have the most skilled techs and you could be stuck with an undesirable repair.

      Lastly what does the policy cover? Is it just the big stuff that wont happen, or does it cover all the minor things that do and what is the deductible amount?

      You need to factor in all of the above to really know if its a good idea, my gut says no.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

      1. Thanks Justin. No issues since I purchased other than the original battery went dead. I did not get the warranty and the car has been a really nice daily commuter.

        Thank you for all that you do.

        Paul

    1. Hello Cynthia,

      You need to drive both and see which one you like the best and have a prepurchase inspection done after that to ensure you are buying the right car. Not much difference other than some improved transmission function and Apple car play

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  3. Hey, Justin!

    I just picked up a 2019 Crosstrek Limited (no nav, HK audio or moonroof) two weeks ago and have been wrestling with the whole extended warranty thing. Much to my dismay, it turned out that the dealer-offered options were with a third-party provider (CNA National) and not the official SOA warranty plans.

    I’m a very low-mileage driver (maybe 5,000 miles/year) so my biggest cost will probably just be the 6 month servicings for the first 5 years (to maintain the powertrain warranty).

    However, I am concerned about the Eyesight and Starlink electronics systems since they don’t have a lot of years of history. I read the standard 36-mo. Subaru warranty but I can’t tell if they are covered or not (I think they are). But after the 36 months?

    I’m interested in your thoughts on my situation.

    Thanks,

    Evan

    1. Hello Evan,

      I would not buy the extended warranty for the Starlink or Eyesight systems.

      Extended warranties never cover diagnostics and typically do not cover calibration after repairs either. Eye sight has been out for a few (7 years) not a lot of known issues at this point.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  4. What’s is your definition of a coastal area when it pertains to servicing a vehicle ? Is there mile distance determining coastal and inland ? If living in a coastal area, then is a extended warranty a more needed option ? Thanks for the input.

  5. Hi Justin,

    I live in Toronto and love your “real talk” about extended warrantees. I have always bought the dealers offering up till now but only had to use them once with my latest car (Mazda CX5) and lo and behold the item wasn’t covered (small print!!!!). So no more of them!

    Anyway i’m now looking at a new Subaru Crosstrek with the manual transmission. We are ok with driving a manual (being ancient british) but what I read says fuel consumption is not as good as the automatic. Also our very first Forrester was manual and we had the clutch replaced about 3 times. Any thoughts on whether or not the manual is a good buy for us? we are mainly concerned with the reliability rather than the economy.

    Thanks again, you are on my regular reading list if we buy the
    subaru.

    Thanks in advance,

    Rob

    1. Hello Rob,

      Yes on the Manual transmission in the Crosstrek! If people dont continue to buy Manuals they will stop making them. Ive also observed the manuals get a little less fuel economy than the CVT. But the Manual transmission will last the life of the car with proper maintenance, and I will not make that statement about the CVT. I will add that a clutch should last 100k to 150k. Not sure if that is the life you achieved in the Forester but use will determine wear.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

    1. Hi Monica,

      I cant answer that without seeing the Warranty paperwork to see what it covers and the car to see if it should only be purchased with a warranty.

      Generally speaking no and $4700 is a huge investment.

      -Justin

  6. Hi Justin,
    Yesterday, I bought a 2019 Forester Sport with 5000 miles on it. Most of the standard warranty left and getting pressure from the nice young men at the dealership to go for the $2k 10-yr extended. The ONLY reason I would consider it (as we have relationships with some good independent mechanics in the area) would be to cover the electronic system. I read your thoughts about Eyesight and Starlink and am wondering whether I need to shell out for the EW now or could wait until the current warranty comes to a close. FYI, I tend to keep my cars a long time (unless they prove to have faulty electronics like my CRV did a few years back.) Don’t really want to shell out what amounts to $200/yr extra insurance if the Forester model isn’t known to have electronic issues.

    1. Hello Bonnie,

      So one of the things to keep in mind with EW’s is they actually do not kick in until after the manufacturers warranty expires, and if at that time you decide “hey this car has had some challenges” or “this car hasn’t been in for a thing” you can wait until the current warranty expires to decide whether or not you need one based on the car after 5 years. I promise you will find a list of companies willing to see you one, there is no need to do so today.

      Hope that helps and congrats on the new Subaru

      -Justin

  7. Hi Justin,

    I’m stumped right now and doing this car purchase on my own. One dealership is offering me a 2016 with 38,800ish miles, but it has had one minor accident on the front end, which has been repaired. They offer a free 10 year unlimited warranty. The other dealership is offering a 2017 with 44,400ish miles on it, no accidents, but only offer an option to purchase an extended warranty. If you see this, I would love to get your feedback on which one you think may be a better choice. Thanks so much!

    1. Hello Jada,

      Car buying is a hassle for sure. The 2017 seems on the surface a better way to go, but either one of those cars should have a Pre purchase inspection as its about the car in front of you, not the idea.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  8. I’m buying a pre-owned certified 2017 Subaru With 45k miles.

    The Subaru Dealer wants $2k for extended warranty bumper to bumber up to 100k miles or 7 years. So that balance is 55 k miles or 3.5 years.

    The car comes with power train warranty at no cost.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thank you!

    1. My thoughts are always the same when it comes to answering any questions about used car purchases. Don’t fall in love until you have had a Pre Purchase inspection by Someone familiar with Subaru that is not a Dealership.

      If the car checks out okay, you can at that point consider if $2000.00 in your bank account looks better than not.

      Only thing that might come up is the CVT which is an expensive repair, but Subaru has been extending these for people without you paying any extra.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  9. I’m buying a 2014 Forester with 110K miles. Touring package. Would you recommend any extended warranty if it currently shows a clean inspection? Any know problems that I should prepare for or justify a warranty purchase?

    1. Hello Nancy,

      I normally do not suggest aftermarket or Subaru branded extended warranties, however there is some gamble with a vehicle with 110k, especially if you haven’t had a pre purchase inspection dome prior. Now if you pay for a independent inspection and it checks out okay I wouldn’t spend the money on one.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

  10. Hi Justin,

    Thank you so much for your post, it’s helpful to know that extended warranties aren’t always needed. After reading, though, I would just like your opinion on something. I just bought a 2017 subaru wrx, and they sold me on the extended warranty, which covers “everything” (as they say) but regular maintenance items. This vehicle was a certified pre-owned car from subaru, with only 7k miles on it. I also took it to my mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection before buying. My question is, do you think the warranty is truly needed? The finance manager was telling me about how some of the wrx’s have problems with the turbo- which the warranty would cover. This warranty tacked on $3,000 to my total bill, increasing my monthly payments by $30.
    The car still has a 4 year powertrain warranty left on it, should this be enough to cover me?

    Thank you so much for your post, and advice!

    1. Hey Hannah,

      So the extended warranty that costs $3000 wouldn’t start until the Powertrain warranty expires. Which like you pointed out is in 4 years, and I don’t know about you, but in our world a lot can change in 4 years. Also keep in mind selling warranties is where all of the money is made right now in the finance department.

      Most of the 2015+ WRX issues we have seen with Turbo’s have been maintenance related or on modified vehicles. The same dealership trying to sell $3000 extended warranties are also telling Subaru owners it can go _____ between oil changes. Some that sell maintenance packages make it worse. Id skip the warranty. Even if the Turbo fails in 5 years $3000 would cover it.

      Hope that helps

      -Justin

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