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Preparing for Summer Car Adventures: Extended Warranty Tips for Outdoor Enthusiasts

BY: Amanda Walter
Pick-up truck with travel trailer and kayaks drives on a mountain road

Things are heating up, and if you’re a car owner, chances are you’re itching to get out on the road. Everyone loves a long summer road trip, traveling across the country to see some sights and soak up some sun and outdoor adventures, but sometimes things don’t go so smoothly.

Hours of driving in warmer weather can put your vehicle under a ton of strain, causing component wear that ultimately ends in a breakdown. If it happens to you, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll wait for the worst possible moment, leaving you stranded hundreds of miles from home and faced with a repair bill you couldn’t possibly afford.

To make sure nothing gets between them and adventure, drivers across America are purchasing extended warranties or auto protection plans for added assurance. If you’re one of them — or you’re thinking of joining them — you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the benefits of an extended car warranty and share our top tips for getting the most out of yours so you can enjoy your next road trip with total peace of mind.

What Is an Extended Warranty?

First things first, we need to explain an extended warranty and why it’s one of the best investments a driver can make. To give you the simplest possible explanation, it’s a fantastic way to save serious money on the rising cost of car ownership. But to provide you with the whole picture, we need to go all the way back to the production line.

When a car is first assembled, it comes with what’s known as a factory warranty or manufacturer’s warranty. This effectively acts as the automaker’s promise to repair or replace any components that fail due to manufacturing fault within a predetermined number of years or miles traveled (whichever comes first). How long this lasts will entirely depend on your manufacturer and vehicle model, but whatever the case, once it’s over, you, as the owner, are financially responsible for any future repairs.

This isn’t an ideal situation, but don’t worry too much — there are a couple of ways you can continue to enjoy the peace of mind that you’re used to. The first of these is what’s commonly known as a traditional extended warranty, which is usually purchased via your dealership or sometimes directly from your manufacturer. Having one of these in place does what the name implies: extending your factory warranty coverage beyond the expiration date.

While this sounds great on paper, there are some significant drawbacks to this kind of coverage. For example, they’re usually expensive, and you may never quite get your money’s worth.

On top of that, all related work must be carried out at an authorized dealership, which isn’t great if you break down hundreds of miles from the nearest one. To make matters worse, a traditional extended warranty can only be purchased while your factory warranty is still active. Leave it just a single minute late, and you’ll no longer qualify.

Third-Party Extended Warranty Providers

With all of the good with none of the bad, most people opt for the second option instead: a vehicle service contract (VSC) from a third-party provider. A third-party warranty company may be incentivized to offer similar comprehensive coverage at an attractive price point, often adding valuable perks to give you even better value for money. Better yet, work can be carried out at the certified auto shop of your choice, and you don’t need an active factory warranty to be eligible. Great news for used car owners!

Also, it’s worth mentioning that a vehicle service contract and auto insurance are two very different coverages. To go into more detail, an extended warranty or vehicle service contract explicitly protects you from repair bills incurred as a result of unexpected component failure. In contrast, auto insurance protects you from repair bills incurred as a result of a collision or other such incident. Purchase both, and you’re fully protected from all angles, so it’s highly recommended that you do.

Essential Vehicle Components to Check and Maintain

Long summer drives put cars under even more strain than they’re used to, so before you head out, maintenance is a must. Keeping your components in top running condition won’t just prolong their lifespan but the lifespans of the components around them, too. The longer things last, the less likely you are to experience a breakdown when out on the road — and also the repair bills that follow.

While it’s good to give some care and attention to as many parts as you can, there are a few vehicle components that are essential to maintain. For example:

  • Four-wheel drive system: If you own a 4WD vehicle and plan to take it off-road, you’ll want to be sure it’s in good shape. While there isn’t a lot you can do yourself to maintain your four-wheel drive system, you should absolutely have it checked out by a certified mechanic before you put it to the test.
  • Tires: A flat while you’re out on the highway can be a real pain, but a tire blowout can be catastrophic. Check the integrity and tread of your tires, which are up to scratch, and if they’re OK, bring them up to the correct PSI. Under or overinflated tires can be dangerous, especially in extreme temperatures.
  • Brakes: It goes without saying, but the brakes are one of the most critical systems in any vehicle. You want them fully operational at all times, so check your brake pads and rotors, then replace any parts/fluids if necessary. If you aren’t sure how to do this, always seek the help of a professional.
  • Cooling system: Driving in the summer heat means your air conditioning and cooling system needs to work extra hard to keep everything under the hood at an optimal temperature. Check fluid levels and flush/replace them if necessary. Cleaning your radiator is always a good idea, and you may need to have your thermostat checked/replaced, too.

Utilizing Extended Warranties for Pre-Adventure Preparations

A warranty will usually only cover repairs after the fact, but your coverage can be a good guide for getaway preparations. You may decide to look over what’s covered by your warranty and pay closer attention to those components that aren’t. For example, wear and tear components like brakes, tires, and windshield wipers are rarely covered under warranty terms, so if you inspect and maintain them before you leave, you won’t need to worry about paying for new ones out on the road.

For example, the $3,500 of annual maintenance costs included in Endurance Warranty’s market-leading Advantage plan can also come in handy here. Just book any routine maintenance that needs to be scheduled at a certified repair shop, and as long as it’s on our list of covered work, we’ll foot the bill. There’s never been a better way to get set for summer driving!

Navigating Warranty Claims While on the Road

Sunscreen isn’t the only thing you need in sunny, high temperatures. Keep your fingers crossed that you don’t encounter any bumps in the road. However, if you experience a breakdown and need to make a claim, it helps to have an idea of what to do ahead of time.

First, make sure your provider’s contact information and your contract details are always close at hand. Your glove compartment is the ideal place to store this, or if you’re an Endurance customer, download the handy Endurance app to have everything you need at your fingertips. Your phone is your best friend in emergencies, especially if you’re out somewhere more remote. Remember to take phone charging cables and a battery pack, so you’re never caught without a charge.

As soon as you break down, pull over in a gas station or another safe spot. Not only does this get you out of harm’s way, but it prevents any further damage to your vehicle that may not be covered under the terms of your warranty contract. Call your provider to inform them of the issue, and while roadside assistance is on the way, pop the hood and take pictures of the problem part. Chances are you won’t need them, but they could be helpful later on in the claims process.

It’s important to remember that your warranty will only cover unexpected component failure and the components included in your plan. Your auto insurance provider will handle repairs necessary after a collision or other such incident.

4 Additional Benefits for the Adventurous Spirit

Purchase a vehicle service contract from a third-party provider like Endurance, and you can expect useful benefits that will make summer road trips all the more enjoyable. For example, all Endurance plans include:

  1. 24/7 roadside assistance: Wherever you are when the worst happens, we’ll come to your rescue and tow you to the certified auto shop of your choice. Also includes fuel delivery and lockout services.
  2. Rental car reimbursement: If your vehicle is in for repair for a more extended period, arrange a rental car, and we’ll reimburse you.
  3. Trip interruption costs: We won’t let a breakdown ruin your summer plans. We’ll also reimburse other expenses incurred as a result of your trip being derailed.
  4. Low-cost deductibles: Endurance offers deductibles from $0 to $200, which you can choose based on your needs and budget.

Tips for Keeping Your Warranty Intact on Rugged Roads

An extended warranty can be a lifeline, but you can void your coverage if you aren’t careful — especially when pushing your vehicle to its limits. You must familiarize yourself with the terms of your contract, including what’s covered, what isn’t, and what could bring the protection to a premature end.

For summer adventures, in particular, some providers may stipulate that off-road driving isn’t permitted. You’ll almost certainly be required to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in the letter and only use certified service centers for any maintenance work. You don’t want to risk being far from home without valid cover, so read your terms through, then reread them.

The Only Way to Roadtrip with Total Confidence

Preparing and maintaining your vehicle is a surefire way to avoid breakdowns, but nothing can prevent them altogether. Component failure is an unfortunate inevitability of car ownership, and when things go wrong, warranty coverage can save you time, stress, and (most importantly) money. If you’re planning a summertime adventure and want someone to watch your back, look no further than Endurance — America’s most trusted vehicle service contract provider.

Since 2006, Endurance has helped thousands of drivers protect their wallets from unexpected repair bills. We pride ourselves on our unrivaled eligibility, offering customizable plans aimed at an even more comprehensive range of drivers. Whether you’re a casual commuter, a rideshare driver, a high-mileage vehicle owner, or even a luxury car driver, we have you covered.

On top of the most comprehensive coverage around, you can also expect the best benefits in the business. All Endurance plans come with 24/7 roadside assistance (including towing, fuel delivery, and lockout services), rental car reimbursement, and trip-interruption costs as standard. If that wasn’t enough, new Endurance customers also get a year’s access to our Elite Benefits, adding on up to four tire repairs or replacements annually, key fob replacement, up to $500 in collision discounts, up to $1,000 in total loss protection, and more.*

Call a knowledgeable Endurance plan advisor at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote, or shop online to see your price now. Our extended warranty blog has plenty more helpful articles like this one, so head over if you’d like to read more.

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