Back in the 1960s and 1970s, vehicle odometers would cap out at 99,999 miles, denying you of the oddly satisfying pleasure of seeing all those zeros, before then rolling back to the beginning.
These days, you can roll right over 100,000 and keep on driving. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for cars to be driven well over 100,000 miles – and keep their value while doing so.
A 2017 Edmunds study debunked the concept that once a vehicle hits 100,000 miles that it begins to rapidly depreciate. The study found that the highest drop off in your car’s value is actually during the first 20,000 miles. The study also found that the rate of depreciation between 100k-150k miles is similar to 50k-100k miles.
With cars lasting longer than ever, 100,000 miles may only be the halfway mark for your vehicle. Consider that a 2019 IHS Markit study found that the average age of vehicles across the country is 11.8 years old. But that number doesn’t tell the full story.
According to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the average US driver covers a whopping 13,476 miles per year.
If the average age of an American vehicle is 11.8 years old, and the average American drives 13,476 miles per year, we can conclude that the “average” American vehicle has 159,017 miles on it!
So, if your car is getting up there in miles, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
These days, it’s not about how old your car is. It’s more about how well maintained your car is. My mechanic drives a ’99 Chevy Tahoe with over 300,000 miles on it and it still runs great.
But he’s not the only one.
I drove my first car into the ground. She was an old, dependable Honda Accord. But, being a broke teenager, I didn’t do much maintenance and she ended up dying at around 130k miles.
Meanwhile, my sister’s Accord is still going strong with well over 250k miles. She took good care of her car, taking it to all the scheduled maintenance intervals in the owners handbook, and then continually taking it back to the dealership for regular repairs.
That’s the key for you as well. You need to do the maintenance, no matter how expensive it might be. You can pay less for repairs though, with a vehicle service contract.
Better yet, you can get a vehicle service contract for your high mileage car.
In fact, TheDRIVE has called Protect My Car the “Best Value High-Mileage Car Warranty Provider” for vehicles with over 100,000 miles.
So let’s take a look at what a high mileage warranty really is so you can get a better idea if it’s for you or not.
The High-Mileage Warranty Explained
By the time your car crosses the 100,000-mile mark, your manufacturer’s warranty will have expired.
Most manufacturer warranties last around 5 years / 60,000 miles, with the notable exception of Hyundai’s 10 year / 100,000-mile warranty. There are no factory providers we’re aware of that cover you after 100,000 miles.
A high mileage warranty continues to cover your car after your manufacturer warranty has expired. Think of it like insurance for your car’s mechanical parts. For example, if your transmission fails, the potentially pricey repair cost will be covered by your extended warranty.
Having an extended warranty protects your bank account from having to pay out of pocket for the surprise cost of repairs, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Having an extended warranty from a reputable company also saves you the negotiating on repair costs, which we (or another similar company) will handle for you.
In fact, Protect My Car employs many former ASE certified mechanics so we know how to get you the best deal.
It’s important to note that 3rd party warranties, including our own, have different inclusions and exclusions than your factory policy. We can help explain these differences, you just need to know the questions to ask, which we’ll get to in a second.
By the time your car has cleared 100,000 miles, your engine and drivetrain are going to show some wear and tear. Now, this doesn’t mean that a break down is imminent, so don’t worry.
It just means your car with 100,000 miles is more likely to suffer a breakdown than a brand-new car off the lot.
Again, if you’re keeping up with your maintenance, you won’t have a problem.
Is a High Mileage Warranty a Scam?
A high mileage warranty can be worth having for your vehicle. I know we’re a little bit biased as a source here but hear me out.
When we hear about auto warranty scams, it seems like people are talking about 1 of 2 things:
- The idea that auto warranties aren’t worth it in the sense that they promise more than they deliver.
- OR the idea that auto warranties companies are legitimately scam companies, like those Nigerian Princes that pop up now and again.
The good news is both of these aren’t true!
While you’ll occasionally see negative bits of news like this piece, this isn’t the norm.
The clutch pack repair mentioned would have been covered by most other plans, including our own! What we usually hear is a horror story about how the transmission wasn’t covered and someone ended up with a $2,000-dollar repair bill.
The good news is, these instances are thankfully very rare, as evidenced by the high customer satisfaction ratings of the best of the best in our industry.
Most of the confusion comes from misunderstandings during the contract process about the level of coverage. Fortunately, you can view our coverage and exclusions ahead of time, so you can figure out what level of coverage is perfect for you.
Having the right coverage ensures that the problems your car could run into at over 100,000 miles are covered and you don’t have to sweat the repair costs.
This year alone, we’ve already paid for over $30 million in car repairs, and we want that number to go even higher!
Problems Your Car Will Run Into With Over 100k Miles
I’ve noticed that other car warranty companies want to sell you on 100,000 miles being the point of doom and gloom where your car is virtually guaranteed to have an issue.
I think we can both agree that this isn’t the case. No two 100k mileage autos are the same. The type of miles matters more than the total. Local driving is more taxing on your car than highway driving.
With that being said, there are some major components of your car that will start to wear out as you approach and exceed 100k miles.
Lifetime: 100,000 miles
Cost to replace: ~$700. The cost is mostly labor – as it takes a few hours to replace.
Lifetime: 100,000 miles
Cost to replace: Between $400-$700. This repair is often done at the same time as the timing belt.
Lifetime: 100,000-150,000 miles
Cost to replace: $600-$4,000+. A minor repair, such as a new compressor will only run you $400-$600, while a more major repair like the compressor and condenser can run significantly higher.
Lifetime: 150,000-200,000 miles
Cost to replace: $1,800-$3,400. Costs on the lower side for a rebuild/salvaged transmission and higher for a new transmission.
Is an Extended Warranty Worth It For Cars With Over 100,000k Miles?
A 2016 AAA study found that the average vehicle will cost its driver $1,186 per year to maintain.
At first, that doesn’t sound too bad. Over the course of a year, that’s about $100 bucks a month. The only problem is that these numbers are for a new car, not our 100k vehicle.
Now, there’s two problems with this number. One, it’s an average. Your costs could be above the average. For example, the typical transmission lasts between 7-10 years / 150,000 – 200,000 miles, and costs anywhere between $1,800 and $3,400 to repair.
And unlike in our $167 a month example, that $1,800 to $3,400 is going to come all at once, not in predictable increments.
The cost of repairs isn’t a problem if you’ve been saving ahead, but it can be worth the peace of mind in knowing you won’t have to pay the full repair costs.
Having an extended warranty can help you save money on repair bills over time and help keep you from getting hit with the surprise cost of car repairs.
Does this mean an Extended Warranty is worth it?
The answer is: it depends.
Having an extended warranty is worth it if you’re driving a higher risk vehicle that has a higher than average rate of breakdowns.
Not sure if your car is at risk? Check out the table below, courtesy of YourMechanic.
Unusually Common Car Issues
|Based on issues found by YourMechanic and compared to the median car.|
|Car Brand||Car Issue||Issue Frequency|
|Mercury||Fuel pump replacement||28x|
|Chrysler||Exhaust gas recirculation/EGR valve replacement||24x|
|Infiniti||Camshaft position sensor replacement||21x|
|Cadillac||Intake manifold gasket replacement||19x|
|Jaguar||Check Engine Light is on inspection||19x|
|Pontiac||Intake manifold gasket replacement||19x|
|Dodge||Exhaust gas recirculation/EGR valve replacement||19x|
|Plymouth||Not starting inspection||19x|
|Honda||Valve clearance adjustment||18x|
|BMW||Window regulator replacement||18x|
|Ford||PCV valve hose replacement||18x|
|BMW||Idler pulley replacement||18x|
|Saturn||Wheel bearing replacement||17x|
|Oldsmobile||Not starting inspection||17x|
|Mitsubishi||Timing belt replacement||17x|
|BMW||Drive belt tensioner replacement||16x|
|Chrysler||Camshaft position sensor replacement||16x|
|Jeep||Crankshaft position sensor replacement||15x|
|Chrysler||Engine mount replacement||15x|
|Mercedes-Benz||Crankshaft position sensor||15x|
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a great starting point.
What I recommend doing is searching for the most common repairs specific to the make and model of your car. If you have something highly reliable that has no major issues, you may not need an extended warranty. Whereas, if you have something that’s notoriously unreliable (looking at you, Chrysler), then having an extended warranty is much more likely to protect you from the potentially extensive cost of a repair.
The short answer is: it depends!
Our average policy cost is less than $60 dollars a month, and we give you competitive options that allow you to customize your monthly payment.
Did I mention that we also include free roadside assistance, free oil changes, free tire rotations, and rewards points that can be spent in thousands of stores nationwide?
In other words, we protect you from repairs that could potentially cost thousands, for less than the price of dinner for two. There’s a reason TheDrive called us the “Best Value High-Mileage Car Warranty Provider” for vehicles with over 100,000 miles. In our opinion, that’s a pretty big compliment.
Of course, your payment will vary, depending on your make, model, mileage, and policy.
The easiest way to answer that question is to get a free quote from our vehicle protection specialists here at Protect My Car. Our plans are tailored to ensure you get the right level of coverage at the right price for you.
Tips for buying an extended warranty for cars over 100k miles:
Some of our favorite tips sound obvious, but they’re always worth mentioning!
Read your contract from start to finish – and compare it with your car’s expected problems
Our best advice is to always understand exactly what is covered in your warranty. When your car is pushing 100k miles, we know you’re likely looking for coverage for the more expensive powertrain parts of your car, including your engine and transmission.
What we recommend is doing a little bit of research on your car, and its repair history. If you have an idea what parts of your car may have problems later, you’ll be able to perfectly match your vehicle with coverage that is right for you.
Once you know what you’re looking for, go into the contract and physically verify (with a highlighter or a red pen) what you’re looking for. Mark up any questions you have, and highlight the particular items you want to be covered. Once you know exactly what’s covered, and how it fits with your vehicle, you’ll never have to worry what’s covered or not.
This will also give you room to negotiate the price of your policy if you speak to an agent.
Think about how much longer you plan to keep the car for
Once you know what plan is right for you, you’ll need to decide on a term length. Do you plan on keeping it or selling it? A longer contract could potentially be worth it, as insurance for the car, or an attractive bonus for the sale.
On the other hand, if you wanted to just ride it until it dies and then get rid of it, a shorter term to keep you on the road may make more sense.
5 minutes spent in planning will save you thousands of dollars down the road if done right.
Before you do this, take your car to see a mechanic and have them perform a full assessment of your vehicle, and get their estimate on how your car is looking. For example, if you’re from an area with a lot of snow, the undercarriage of your car is more likely to start rusting early which can drastically impact the lifespan of your car.
Ask your mechanic for their opinion on how much longer the car could potentially be driven for. In my experience, their estimates are usually pretty good.
Once you know how much longer your car is going to last for, you can make a judgement about the amount of time you want to keep it for, and then match that time frame up to the extended warranty that’s best for you.
Check out the customer service reviews
When you’re looking for an extended auto warranty company, you want to choose one with consistently high customer ratings as an indication how well you’ll be treated. After all, the claims and customer service team will be working hand in hand with you in the future, and you want to ensure that you’re truly getting what you paid for.
Plus, having exceptional customer service scores means less friction for you when you have a problem. Look at review websites like TrustPilot, Consumer Affairs, the BBB, and others. These review websites compare extended warranty companies’ side by side.
This will also help you avoid companies that are legitimately scammers, and only select reputable extended warranty providers.
Of course, I’d like you to choose us for your vehicle service contract, but I still recommend doing comparison shopping. If you can find a better price, you can always use that to negotiate. Before you decide which contract you’re going to choose, get quotes from 3-5 providers, just to make sure you’re getting the level of coverage you need, at the price you deserve.
Extra coverage isn’t always as expensive as you think
When you’re looking at policies, we know it can be tempting to opt for only the basic coverage because of the cost.
But here’s the thing: bumper-to-bumper plans often don’t cost as much as you think. When you’re ready to get a quote, there’s no reason not to price shop. Ask about the most comprehensive plan and then compare it with the bare bones plan.
I think you’ll be surprised how much a few extra bucks can get you in terms of coverage.
The Best Extended Warranty For Cars Over 100k Miles
Protect My Car has two primary options for cars over 100k miles, depending on your unique needs
We have our standard Driveline service contract, and then we have our Ambassador program, which lasts even longer than our standard vehicle service contracts.
Vehicle Service Contracts
Our Driveline policy covers vehicles up to 125,000 miles that are 13 years old or newer.
The Driveline policy covers most of the major systems for your car. You pay a $100 deductible on all qualifying repairs, and we pay the rest!
The Driveline policy covers:
- The Engine
- The Transmission
- Transfer Case
- Drive Axle
- Differential Assembly
- Cooling System
- Air Conditioning and Heating
- Timing Chain
It also gives you:
- 24/7 roadside assistance if you have a breakdown
- Rental car reimbursement if you break down
The driveline policy is slightly more expensive then the Ambassador Plan – but it also pays for the entire cost of your repair, minus the $100-dollar deductible.
Sounds pretty good, right?
The ambassador program is meant to cover vehicles that no other car warranty company will cover. The Ambassador Policy covers vehicles up to 22 years old, and with up to 300,000 miles.
In other words, it’s pretty much an unlimited mileage warranty for cars.
The 5 levels of the Ambassador Policy cover:
- The Engine
- The Transmission
- Transfer Case
- Drive Axle
- Differential Assembly
- Front and Rear Suspension
- Cooling System
- Air Conditioning and Heating
- Select Brake System Components (not wear and tear items like brake pads)
- Timing Chain
- Turbo Charger
Depending on what level of coverage you select, your Ambassador Policy will also:
- Ensure you have 24/7 roadside assistance if you have a breakdown
- Reimburse you for a rental if you have a breakdown
- Include 3 free oil changes and 2 free tire rotations per year
The Ambassador program is also extremely affordable. The way it works, is you choose a deductible to pay on your repairs. The deductible is the portion of repairs that you pay for, and we then step in to pay the rest. Currently, we have a 25% and 50% deductible plan for our Ambassador Policy.
Depending on your make, model, and contract, your monthly payment could be as low as $29.99 a month, which is around what the average American spends on coffee a week.
Sorry Starbucks, I’d rather skip that mochaccino latte and not pay full price for auto repairs.
Who’s with me?
Which Extended Car Warranty Is The Best for Over 100k Miles: Ambassador v. Drivetrain
The fundamental difference between the two policies is what your deductible is going to be. Let’s compare the two coverage types to help you decide.
|Age||2006 or newer (13 years old)||1997 or newer (22 years old)|
|Mileage||Up to 125,000 miles||Up to 300,000 miles|
|Modifications||No modifications||Most modifications are OK|
|Title||No Branded/Salvaged Title||Branded/Salvaged Title OK|
|Business Use||No Business Use||Business Use OK|
|Deductible||$100 fixed||50% of repair cost|
|% of repairs paid||100%||50%|
|Front and Rear Suspension||No||Yes|
|Air Conditioning and Heating||Yes||Yes|
|Select Brake System Components||No||Yes|
|Free Oil Change||No||3 Oil Changes Per Year|
|Free Tire Rotations||No||2 Tire Rotations Per Year|
|Sample Policy||Driveline Sample Policy||Ambassador Elite Sample Policy|
The Ambassador plan offers more flexibility, but you’ll have to pay a higher deductible. The Drivetrain meanwhile, is a little bit less flexible and will cost more on a month to month basis. However, you’ll only have to pay a $100 dollar deductible for all covered repairs.
An extended warranty is well worth having no matter how many miles your car has on it. Having an extended warranty can help mitigate the increased cost of repairs as your car gets older and it’s most expensive parts start to wear down.
When you decide that an extended warranty is right for your high mileage auto, make sure you comparison shop. Get quotes from multiple providers with multiple policies and compare each to make sure you’re getting the level of coverage you deserve.
Finally, make sure you read each policy top to bottom and understand what’s being said! Don’t be afraid to ask any sales rep you speak with questions. The more you know, the more secure you’ll be with your policy!
Happy driving! We’ll see you at 200,000 miles.
If you decide you want to get a quote with us, you can grab it right here.