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Can I Use a Mobile Mechanic for Extended Warranty Claims?

BY: Adam Karner
Mobile mechanic in the back of his work van looking at a tablet

The advantages of having an extended warranty can’t be overstated when a surprise car repair pops up. Coverage can make a difference during a breakdown, thanks to protection against expensive parts and high labor costs. But can a mobile mechanic service handle covered repairs? Or does authorized work have to be performed through a licensed shop?

We’ll examine how mobile mechanics operate, explore the details of extended warranties, and see how the two work together (or don’t).

What Is a Mobile Mechanic?

The idea of a mechanic who makes house calls may be new to some, but it’s simple: an automotive technician who provides vehicle repair and maintenance services at a customer’s location (like their home or office) instead of a fixed location (a repair shop).

The use of mobile mechanics has exploded thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did people like having meals and groceries delivered, but there was a new appreciation for not having to sit in a dingy repair shop waiting room.

According to industry data, mobile repair business volume in 2022 more than doubled over 2019. That’s substantial growth for any industry. Entrepreneurial mechanics also liked the idea of delivering their trade without the fixed overhead of a building and related costs.

Mobile mechanics usually focus on common maintenance and repair tasks, such as:

You don’t see extensive repairs that require a vehicle lift or complex diagnostic equipment. Mobile mechanics typically don’t perform significant engine or transmission work because they’re not equipped to do so. Mobile mechanics are oriented towards basic maintenance and minor fixes.

3 Benefits of Using a Mobile Mechanic

For many, the appeal of a mobile mechanic is obvious. Here’s why this portion of the auto repair industry has seen such growth.

1. Convenience and Flexibility

Think about how long it took for your last oil change. Did you wait around for an hour or more? What about the back-and-forth driving time to the shop? Or did you just drop off the car and arrange a ride or loaner car? All these steps waste time and aren’t an issue with a mobile mechanic. Mobile techs provide flexible scheduling (including evenings and weekends) at your chosen location, so there’s no downtime whether you’re at home, work, or the mall.

2. Personalized Service

Another advantage of a mobile mechanic is focused attention. There are zero distractions from other employees or customers — you have this technician all to yourself. This personalized attention translates into immediate answers to your questions and faster repair times.

3. Potential Cost Savings

Many mobile mechanics provide services at lower costs than brick-and-mortar shops because of lower overhead and reduced markups. This isn’t always the case. So, be sure to compare prices against other mobile services and conventional garages. Of course, the time savings of a mobile mechanic enables you to continue work or personal activities with minimal disruption.

Extended Warranty Claims: The Basics

With the essentials about mobile mechanics covered, let’s look at an overview of extended warranties and the claims process.

What Is an Extended Warranty?

An extended auto warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract or auto protection plan, provides repair coverage after the manufacturer warranty expires. This protection helps pay for mechanical breakdowns and part failures later when out-of-pocket repair bills can be expensive. Most plans offer repair deductibles ($0-$500) to help offset premium costs. A zero deductible option has higher costs but means no out-of-pocket expenses for a covered repair.

A vehicle service contract can be purchased from an automaker or an independent company like Endurance. Third-party vehicle service contracts tend to be more flexible in terms of vehicle mileage and age. In comparison, an extended warranty from an automaker usually has more restrictions (and costs more).

Coverage terms, costs, and claims procedures vary between the different companies. Overall, an extended warranty helps reduce the risk and cost of future repairs while providing peace of mind.

Typical Claims Process and Requirements

The first step in making a claim against an extended warranty is identifying the mechanical issue or failed part. This provides insight into whether the problem is covered under the plan’s terms, as all vehicle service contracts have limitations and exclusions.

While you may think you know what’s wrong (and you could be correct), the diagnosis must come from a professional repair shop. Once this task is complete, the problem can be compared against the warranty terms. It’s not unusual to reach out to the warranty company to confirm coverage details—many mechanics and service department managers will handle this part (be sure to have a copy of the contract on hand).

Once the background details are covered, it’s time to submit a claim. Most companies, including Endurance, provide a toll-free number to their claims departments. Endurance goes further by offering a customer smartphone app to make the claims process quicker.

With a claim on file, the warranty company will review the problem and determine if the repair work and/or replacement parts are covered. The claims administrator will review the documentation and accompanying information to determine if the work will be paid for. In the case of expensive or complex repairs, an inspector may be sent to the repair shop before the claim can be approved.

Many warranty companies will only cover repairs performed at pre-authorized facilities. However, Endurance only requires that a shop be licensed by the state to operate as a business that repairs motor vehicles. In other words, you can’t go to a plumber or neighbor who’s a shade tree mechanic. This standard protects all parties.

Once a claim is approved, the repair shop will fix the car and order parts as needed. Some warranty companies require the car owner to pay the shop and submit receipts for reimbursement. On the other hand, Endurance customers are responsible only for the deductible as outlined in their contract. Endurance pays the shop directly for covered work.

Can Mobile Mechanics Be Used for Warranty Claims?

If you’ve read the previous section, you may have already guessed that mobile mechanics can’t be used for an extended warranty claim. Here’s a deeper look at why:

Warranty-Approved Facilities

As mentioned, every extended warranty company specifies who it authorizes to make covered repairs. This ensures access to qualified technicians, proper tools and software, oversight of the repair process, and administrative processing for claims. These are skill sets often missing from mobile mechanics, especially with more elaborate repairs.

Documentation and Verification Challenges

Warranty companies must validate every claim by reviewing diagnosis details, replacement parts, labor hours, and confirming the work was performed correctly. Mobile mechanics often lack the computer processes, administrative experience, and digital maintenance records common to dealership service departments and reputable independent repair shops.

Administrative Burden

The claims process requires back-and-forth communication, approval requests, documentation submissions, and other activities. These tasks can be burdensome, especially for a mechanic focused more on repairs than administrative duties. Professional service advisors and managers are well-versed in warranty claim protocols and related duties. This experience minimizes delays and speeds up repairs.

Limitations of Mobile Repairs

While mobile mechanics are great for maintenance work and minor repairs, they lack the equipment, infrastructure, and capabilities to perform complicated repairs. Work like engine rebuilds and transmission overhauls require many resources not geared toward the mobile mechanic business model. The last thing an extended warranty company or car owner wants is a mobile mechanic to get halfway through a job only to find the work can’t be completed.

Understanding the Importance of Mechanic Certifications and Expertise

One vital reason extended warranty companies don’t use mobile mechanics is that the quality of the repair comes down to the technician’s skill (of course, this applies to regular repair shops). Indeed, some mobile mechanics may be highly qualified, but confirming these skills can be more challenging if there’s no physical operation involved.

ASE Certifications

Many warranty providers want proof that technicians carry relevant ASE certifications for advanced diagnoses and repair work. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) conducts certification testing for master technicians in areas like engines, transmissions, suspensions, brakes, and electrical systems.

Brand-Specific Training

Extra training and manufacturer certifications are necessary for repairs on certain vehicles,  especially for European brands and high-end models. Mobile techs usually don’t have this background because they’re not employed by a dealership, which facilitates brand-specific training.

Varying Skill Levels

The capabilities of individual technicians can vary within a mobile mechanic business—experience can be hit or miss. Reputable shops, especially ones that are part of a franchised dealer or national chain, often do a better job of setting standards and providing oversight to ensure expertise. And while not every brick-and-mortar mechanic has the same skill level, chances are there’s a co-worker nearby with the necessary talent.

Are Other Options Available?

While mobile mechanics are off the table for extended warranty repairs, other approaches remain for keeping your car running or getting it back on the road.

Hiring Mobile Services for Standard Maintenance

A professional mobile mechanic is fine for basic maintenance services like oil changes, fluid checks, battery swaps, windshield wiper replacement, and non-warranty-related repairs. It’s an ideal way to take advantage of the convenience of these types of services.

Filing Claims at Independent Shops

Independent repair shops can provide more flexibility and convenience than going through a dealer service department. Just ensure the garage you choose is licensed to make auto repairs in your state.

Using Pick-up and Drop-off Services

Some dealers and specialty shops offer pick-up and drop-off services for major repair work, simplifying logistics and saving time.

The Endurance Difference for Extended Warranties

There’s no need to worry about where to get your car serviced when you have an Endurance extended warranty. Endurance makes it easy; pick a neighborhood licensed garage, a national auto repair chain location, or a dealer service department.

Endurance offers numerous coverage options, ranging from an affordable powertrain plan to protections similar to a new car warranty. There are programs for select luxury models and commercial-use vehicles.

Best of all, every Endurance extended warranty provides 24/7 roadside assistance (with towing coverage and lockout assistance), rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption support. Customers also enjoy flexible payment terms and a 30-day money-back guarantee (request plan cancellation during the first month of coverage to receive a typically full refund).

Discover all the details of an Endurance auto protection plan. Ask for a FREE online quote or visit our online store for instant cost and coverage information. Need personalized help? Call (800) 253-8203 to speak with an Endurance advisor. Explore the Endurance blog for insightful articles about vehicle maintenance, DIY repairs, car reviews, warranty advice, and more.

Extended Warranty FAQs

Can my local mechanic do warranty work?

Yes, local mechanics can perform repairs covered under extended warranties as long as the state licenses their facility for repairing motor vehicles. The shop does not need to be an authorized dealer.

How do I file an extended warranty claim?

You start the claim process by contacting your warranty provider and taking your vehicle to an authorized repair facility. From there, the steps include getting approval for the repair and having the shop submit the completed paperwork.

What is the difference between an extended warranty and a service contract?

There is no difference. Extended warranties and service contracts refer to the same type of auto repair coverage.

What is the difference between a warranty and an extended warranty?

A manufacturer’s warranty covers repairs for defects during initial ownership, while an extended warranty provides repair coverage after the factory warranty expires.

What are the benefits of an extended warranty?

Extended warranties protect against expensive repairs after manufacturer coverage ends, saving you money and providing peace of mind.

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