Haven’t been here much lately, been busy, but the posting about the 5 best extended warranties coupled with 2 cars we recently had at the shop made me want to post this. Just like anything else, as far as warranty companies there are good ones and bad ones. Sorry if this is long.
2005 Tahoe, customer brought in for an alignment and front end check, complaint was a vibration at 40-50mph. The alignment/chassis guy drove it and said it felt like a powertrain issue, kicked it over for a proper diagnosis. I drove the truck while watching engine and trans data with a scan tool, verified a torque converter shudder. Trans fluid full and clean. I write it up as needs a torque converter, but with no warranty on the job since the truck has 170,000 miles. I recommended a complete trans overhaul for a proper repair.
The front office put together estimates for torque converter only and complete trans replacement with reman unit. Customer says he has an extended warranty, contract is in the glovebox. Office calls warranty company, they agree that replacing the converter only is an incomplete repair and they authorize complete trans replacement. They pay our full labor rate, regular markup on the trans, and customer only pays the diagnostic charge of $114.00. A quick, easy, painless transaction for all parties. Well worth the cost of the coverage.
2012 Jeep Liberty is towed in, customer states car overheated then engine died and would not start after cooling down. I grab the keys, check the oil and coolant, radiator is low. Turn the key and nothing but a loud clunk and the sound of a starter straining to turn. I get a breaker bar and with my 265 lbs on the end of a pipe the engine still will not turn. Write it up as needing a used or reman engine. Front office puts together 2 estimates and calls the customer. Customer says she has extended warranty and asks us to contact them.
Warranty company refuses any coverage without a proper diagnostic which the customer must pay for. I wasn’t going to charge any labor time for finding a blown engine, but now since we’re pushing the car in it’s $114 to start off. I scan for fault codes and data. I find the engine will turn backwards almost 1 revolution and lock up, then forward the same before it locks again. I fill the radiator, pull all the spark plugs, find water in cyls 3 and 5. I write up a detailed description of finding fault codes for misfires on 2 cylinders, and how the engine ingested water into 2 cylinders and hydrolocked causing irreparable damage to the engine block and pistons. Since the engine is inoperable further testing is not possible.
Warranty company says still not good enough, customer needs to pay for more diagnostic time. Customer now has to pay another $342 for me to pull the oil pan for further inspection. I pull the pan and find pieces of broken piston in there and a connecting rod banging on the cylinder wall. Take pictures and email to warranty company.
Still not good enough. Warranty company needs to document the origin of the engine failure before they will even talk about what they will cover. They want customer to pay for removal of the left cylinder head to inspect the head and gasket for failure. Our service writer has finally had enough, tells warranty company in no uncertain terms that she will not waste any more of the customer’s money or the shop’s time on this, that they can send an inspector out without any further disassembly. Warranty company makes an appointment for inspector to come Wed at 10am.
Inspector comes at 12:30. Takes a couple of picture and asks which cylinder is the bad one. I don’t even look up from my lunch and say “The one with the broken piston.” He asks for the car to be lowered so he can look under the hood. He pulls the dipstick and remarks there’s no oil. I remind him the oil pan is off, he just took a picture, right? Then he asks me to show him where the coolant reservoir is. I point at it and he says “Oh, I thought that was washer fluid.” He takes a picture of the VIN tag and leaves.
Today we hear from the customer, who says the warranty will only pay $80/hour for labor (our rate is $114) and will only pay our wholesale cost for a used engine or ship one to us, and will not pay for fluids, oil, filter, thermostat, hoses, or a new radiator cap. Now the customer has to choose what to do, pay the difference between our estimate and what the warranty will pay or pay us for our time and tow the car to a shop that will do the work for $80/hr.
If this customer was given this extended warranty for free it still wasn’t worth it. If I could name these two companies on a public forum I would.