Buying a new car is exciting but also stressful. The natural inclination is to protect your investment at all costs. Therefore, purchasing an Audi extended warranty on a new vehicle just makes sense, right?
It depends. Imagine you bought an Audi A7 a few years ago. You love the car so much that you’ve driven it every day and racked up a lot of mileage. You just passed 50,000 miles, and this means your basic warranty is no longer applicable. If your transmission or even air conditioning fails, then you are on the hook for thousands of dollars on top of your monthly payments.
This is a problem facing many owners who did not purchase an extended warranty. Even though they still have a seemingly new car, they now have to pay the full cost of any repair. Depending on how and where you drive, an extended warranty might be essential.
What Does Each Warranty Cost?
Every Audi comes with a basic warranty at no extra cost. Interestingly, although many competitors’ warranties have improved in terms of duration and coverage, Audi continues to stick with the same plan. Whether that is indicative of a lapse in quality or the overall popularity of the brand, Audi warranty options bear further investigation.
Every Audi comes with a factory warranty. While the basic length of time or mileage is four years or 50,000 miles, other parts of the Audi warranty are subject to different time constraints.
- 4 years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper vehicle protection
- Audi 24-hour roadside assistance for 4 years
- 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation
- First scheduled maintenance at 10,000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first
Audi includes several asterisks, indicating stipulations for each warranty point. For instance, although Audi offers corrosion perforation protection up to 12 years, you will need to provide evidence that you’ve serviced your car regularly up to that point either through Audi or an Audi-approved service provider.
Additionally, roadside assistance is contingent upon your keeping your Audi regularly serviced. If your Audi breaks down and the company finds you haven’t serviced it regularly, then you would be charged the full roadside-assistance and repair fees.
Audi offers an add-on, called Audi Care, to the basic manufacturer’s warranty. The basic warranty does not cover regularly scheduled maintenance such as oil changes, spark plug replacement, fluid top-ups and similar maintenance. Audi Care allows you to prepay for 10,000 miles or 12 months’ worth of scheduled maintenance.
The cost of Audi Care depends on what kind of Audi you drive and its age. Audi Care for smaller Audi sedans such as the A4 costs about $830 a year, and larger Audi vehicles such as an A8 or R8 cost a more than $1,110 a year. Audi Care Select packages allow Audi owners to extend the length of their coverage up to 85,000 total miles.
Lastly, it is important to note that Audi Care covers only regularly scheduled maintenance. Therefore, Audi Care is not a warranty but simply a protection plan that Audi claims can save you up to 20 percent.
Audi Extended Warranties
Audi does not offer one specific manufacturer’s extended warranty. Each dealer will offer a third-party extended warranty that may or may not be the same as other Audi dealerships’. Therefore, the benefits offered by these warranties vary widely.
Most third-party extended warranty providers will offer a fixed monthly rate anywhere from three to seven years, at differing levels of coverage.
Audi extended warranties, at their most basic levels, will usually cover the powertrain, where the costliest repairs can occur. All third-party insurers will offer premium levels of insurance, which can cover everything from brakes and steering to exhaust and body damage.
Common Out-of-Pocket Repairs
One of the problems most commonly reported in several Audi models, including the A4, is oil leaks. Specifically, the head gasket is prone to leaking in many Audi models. A head gasket is the rubber seal between the top of the engine compartment and the rest of the engine.
A head gasket replacement can cost more than $2,000. Although the actual gasket is not expensive, mechanics have to take a good portion of the engine apart just to get at it. Many service providers will charge much more for this repair. A head gasket is unlikely to leak within the time frame of the basic warranty, or within the 85,000-mile range that Audi Care Select covers.
Other problems include replacing the entire steering column, particularly in Q models, and faulty pistons. In both cases, the replacement of these parts costs in the thousands. It is highly unlikely that either of these major repairs would occur within the confines of the manufacturer’s warranty period.
How an Extended Warranty Saves Money
An extended warranty is a good idea when your basic manufacturer’s warranty and Audi Care expire. Although these warranties vary in length and what they cover, let’s use a 50,000-mile and zero-dollar deductible extended warranty as an example.
Suppose you’ve owned your Audi for four years, and the basic warranty has just expired. You have Audi Care, but it covers only regularly scheduled maintenance. Now imagine driving one day, and the engine sputters. You barely make it to an Audi Service Center. The center diagnoses the problem as a broken piston, which will cost $4,500 to repair.
An Audi extended warranty, bumper-to-bumper, can cost about $6,000 based on the terms outlined above. Therefore, you are already more than halfway to paying for the warranty. Assuming you have one more issue with your vehicle during those five years, you’ve paid for your vehicle and saved yourself at least a thousand dollars.
Keep in mind that you must read the fine print on any extended warranty to know exactly what is covered and what is not. Merely settling for a basic powertrain warranty—or worse, a drivetrain warranty—will end up costing you. A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty is a better bet, and you won’t be left arguing with your insurance provider about repairs it doesn’t cover.