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Warranty Renewal?

My engine warranty on my 2004 VW Golf runs out Sept 29. Should I get a renewal warranty? I have 17,500 miles on the car. Last week VW cleaned the carbon out of the throttle to stop the engine hesitations; other than that, I’ve had no trouble. I’m a widow and need advice

No, you should not.

The warranty provider knows that the odds are great that you’ll pay out much more than you’'ll ever recover in “covered” problems during the period of coverage. It’s important for you to consider this truth also.

Take the money you would have spent on the warranty and put it in a seperate bank account. Call it your “warranty”. Then if you need to fix something, your “warranty” will cover it. If not you’ll have the money rather than them.

I agree with TSM. You may find yourself ahead by just keeping a seperate fund for future problems. I think the VW Golf was somewhat prone to electrical problems but I may be wrong. Nothing real serious but just cost a little to fix. Hopefully yours won’t have a problem. You shouldn’t have any worry about wearing the car out at the rate you are going.

Extended warranties are mostly profit generators for the seller, and often provide very little coverage for the buyer.

Take the money you would spend on a warranty and put it in the bank. Don’t touch it unless you have a MAJOR problem with the car.

If you never need the money, it’s still yours. If you give the money to someone selling a warranty, it’s his.

Get rid of the car before it is too late.

No, you don’t need extended warranties.

The extended warranty may not have covered cleaning the carbon out of the throttle stop. These warranties usually cover internal items in the engine such as the bearings, piston rings, and so on. The throttle plates are external to the engine. Keep your VW serviced according the the manual–you may want to use the severe service schedule. You don’t drive many miles, but it sounds like your driving consists of short local runs. This may be why you had the problem with the carbon. Use the money you would have spent on the warranty (actually an overpriced insurance policy) on keeping up the maintenance and you will be fine.

Thanks. This was very helpful. I didn’t understand why the throttle cleaning wasn’t covered by the still-in-force warranty. From a previous CarTalk response, I understand I should run the car at least 12 mi. per week at high speeds (65) to burn the carbon, and get Shell or Chevron gas instead of ARCO. Thanks for your advice.

Thanks for your good advice!

Thanks for your good advice!


Other than agreeing completely that you do not need additional warranty on this car, I would add that with the type of driving you do that things like throttle body cleaning may come around on a regular basis and that you should change the oil very often. (since the miles driven are very sparse, maybe go by months - say 3-4 months)
The type of driving you do is about the worst that can be done with a car because it appears that it seldom ever reaches operating temperatures.

You should not have to drive the car at speed to clean out carbon deposits. An extended trip will help to burn out crankcase moisture vapor, etc. and act as an aid in fighting oil sludging.

Warranties are for SOMETHING THAT BREAKS! Cleaning carbon out and other activities, such as changing fluids, are MANTENANCE ITEMS. The guy who sold you the warranrty would not tell you this, even if he understood the difference between maintenance and repairs.

Most purchasers of these warranties are rudely surprised to learn how many things are not covered, mostly because they do not read the fine print.

This is wonderfully helpful. I will, then, have the oil changed every quarter–that’s been done maybe once a year when I’ve taken it in for a checkup. I’ve just been adding oil as needed. Also, thanks for the warning about how hard on my car I’ve been with the diddly-squat mileage I’ve put on it. An extended trip isn’t an option–I’m a widow without children at home–but at least I can drive 40 miles to visit friends at the beach. (that’s probably not “extended”) I really appreciate your advice!

Forty miles is EXTENDED ENOUGH! The idea is to warm the car up thoroughly so that all the nasties are burned of or evaporated. My mother-in-law is 92 and her son visits once a month and gives the car a fast 20 mile trip on the freeway. You get the idea. Cars, like people, get bunged up if they don’t get any excercise.

Great suggestion. Thanks! I do it.