Dec 20 2006
06:52 am

Do you buy extended warranties for you electronic and appliances? The main thing I want is a 3 year manufacturer's warranty on my computers. I do expect my computers to last that long. Otherwise, I don't buy extended warranties. Consumer Reports has apparently been recommending against extended warranties for a long time. Now, though, they have two exceptions, rear-projection TVs and Apple computers. No problem here, I don't expect to ever purchase either of these.

Johnny Ringo's picture

My one bad experience

A couple of years ago my wife gave me a 52" LCD Hitachi TV for our 20th wedding anniversary. Turns out the older Hitachi models had a problem with the "light engine" - the main component of the TV - which overheated and caused the TV to malfunction. This we discovered shortly after the manufacturer's 1 year warranty had expired. It cost about $1500 to get it fixed.

If I ever buy another expensive, high-tech TV, I will get the extended warranty.

Johnny Ringo's picture

Well I like the LCD TVs myself

By "service life" do you mean the bulb? They do have to be replaced every few years. The bulb costs about $300 and can be easily installed by the owner. Kind of a pain, but afaik, that's the only thing that limits the "service life" of these televisions.

As for CRT, yeah I looked at those, but the truth is that none of them that I saw came close to the brightness and color depth that LCD offers, HD or not. That's why I decided to spring for the horribly expensive repair.

SayUncle's picture

I never buy them. I look at

I never buy them. I look at it like this:

If I bought an extended warranty for everything, I'd definitely lose money. If I bought them only on select things, I am gambling. If I buy none, I'm out nothing, unless it breaks. In which case, I can use all the money I did not spend on other warranties to fix it.

Financially, it makes little sense to buy them unless they're basically free.

Can't we all just get a long gun?

StaceyDs Cat's picture

I bought one

for a digital SLR 2 years ago. First and only time I've bought an extended warranty (I know Consumer Reports take on extended warranties). For 3 additional years past the original warranty, it cost $50. I was concerned about reliability for a relatively new technology.

I got the camera from KEH down in Atlanta ( and it is a Mack Camera warranty.

I have had some minor issues and they were resolved under the extended warranty. And there was a coke spilled on the camera, and that issue was resolved simultaneously. I'm glad I bought the extra warranty.

D Mac's picture

It depends

I bought a new Dell XPS and the extended warranty and service package. Good thing because within six months they had to replace the mother board by sending a technician to the house. He had to reload all the software, took about 3 hours. Within 18 months the LCD screen died and they had to send me a new one. Also the cordless keyboard and mouse were replaced twice till I gave up on the technology and went back to a cheap corded one.

My biggest lesson in this is not to buy Dell ever again. While they do replace and assist, I am amazed by how cheaply built and full of problems there products are. And I get very irritated when I have to call their service area which is in India. While they are nice and courteous, those were jobs taken from people here by Dell. That is a whole different thread though. Every call to India takes about an hour minimum and if you ask a question off script, they have to start over from the beginning ("reboot your computer by going to the start button....." arghhhh, I have already done that 3 times!).

D Mac

smalc's picture

A teenage Best Buy employee

A teenage Best Buy employee tried to give me lecture on extended warranties when I bought a new washer and dryer a couple years ago. I tried to politely decline for a while, but he was an obnoxious little thing. I finally said, listen buddy I understand the warranty is an insurance policy and I'm betting I have a little more experience than you do, I don't want it.

Les Jones's picture

I generally don't buy them,

I generally don't buy them, but I made two exceptions recently.

One was the plasma TV for my mom. The technology's new, and I've heard lots of horror stories. If the bulb gets replaced under warranty it will have paid for itself.

The other was our minivan. It's filled to the brim with gadgets and motors - motorized sliding doors, a motorized LCD that drops down to display the six-disc CD changer, then there's the rear DVD entertainment system with its LCD, and the street map DVD-ROM under the driver's seat for the GPS nav system.

A thousand bucks for an extra 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper coverage didn't seem too much. We've already had to replace the DVD player under warranty when "Madagascar" got stuck. We plan on getting a major checkup at 95,000 miles.

Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

gttim's picture

Beat you!

I have a 1986 Volvo 240DL with 279000 miles and no cup holders. I recently changed the plug wires and put on a new fuel pressure regulator. :)

I have a '94 Ford Ranger with 420,000 miles. The original motor has had plugs, wires, timing belts and a water pump replaced. And brakes and tires. Nothing else has needed to be replaced, accidents excluded. I do have plastic door handles and stuff now falling apart, however. I think I drove it our of warranty the first year.

I let my mother buy extended warranties for big TV's, because they will come out. Other than that I turn them down. If they push I explain that I work in the actuarial field and can explain the warranty in terms they do not understand.

zoomfactor's picture

beat both of you!

I have a 1986 Volvo 240DL with 279000 miles...
I have a '94 Ford Ranger with 420,000 miles.

I bought a non-running 1972 Datsun 510 in 1985 for $250, no warranty, and it has been my daily driver ever since. It is on its second engine (because they are readily available, having shared the same engine with hundreds of thousands of small trucks populating US junkyards) and I have lost track of the mileage.

bizgrrl's picture

Datsun 510s

We have owned 5 Datsun 510s. Loved those cars. Great fun to drive. Easy to work on. Easy to get out of a snow bank.

The first one had burned out the entire electrical system. It was fixed and we bought it for around $700. Used it as a down payment for a $1,500 510. Bought another, fixed it up fine. Totaled the second one. Bought another for around $500, worst one we ever owed. One wrecked down at the end of our street, we sort of knew the guy. We bought it and put it in our back yard. Gotta love SoKno. We used the motor and sold the transmission (or vice versa, been a while) along with some other parts.

Big 510 fan. Used quite a bit in SCCA racing back in the day. Can't say we ever owned one for more than a year or two though.

SayUncle's picture

We have owned 5 Datsun

We have owned 5 Datsun 510s

I could be wrong, but I think those eventually became the Nissan Sentra. I drove one from 1989 until 1999. It was in the shop once after 3 years due to a timing belt breaking. The guy at the shop said 'you change your own oil' I said 'yup'. he said 'well, don't, it takes a special filter from nissan to keep it timed right'. So, nissan started doing my oil changes and I drove it another 7 years with no troubles.

Can't we all just get a long gun?

Les Jones's picture

Toyota Corolla

I put 187,000 miles on a Toyota Corolla in 12 years time. The only repairs were a muffler, a starter, and a windshield wiper motor. Awesome car. I figured all I had to do was keep buying Toyotas and I was golden.

I replaced it with a three year old Camry that turned out to be a total POS. Bad brakes, bad A/C, bad antenna motor, bad radiator, bad door lock, bad turn signals, and eventually a bad engine that had to be replaced despite a $900 repair to try to save it. All that despite the Toyota dealership and a CARFAX report giving it a clean bill of health before I bought it.

You just can't tell.

Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

zoomfactor's picture

more on 510s, then I'll stop

Bzgrrl, that is interesting about your Datsun 510 history. I didn't mention that there are several other 510s that have passed through my doors, and others that still reside there. They get the primo garage spot while the modern cars sit outside in the elements - truly sick.

SayUncle and Les, the PL510 from '68-'73 morphed into the HL510 in the '78-'81, but this was after the beancounters took over Nissan - no more independent rear suspension. The HL510 then morphed into the Stanza, not the Sentra, which was FWD (a whole different drive train). As far as oil filters go, I don't think they have anything to do with the timing, but I generally buy Nissan filters because I am wary of the quality of aftermarket filters like Fram.

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