If you have a basic or an extended warranty through your car’s manufacturer, your struts are likely covered. However, non-manufacturer, 3rd party warranties generally do not cover your struts, with few exceptions.
Most 3rd party vehicle service contract providers do not cover your struts because they are considered a wear and tear part.
Anyway, without further adieu:
Manufacturer Extended Warranty Plans That Cover Struts
These are the 10 largest automotive manufacturers by sales in the US.
|Make||Plans That Cover Struts|
|Honda||New, Near New, Certified Additional Coverage, Preowned, Sentinel Plus|
|Ford||PremiumCare, ExtraCare, BaseCare|
|Jeep (Dodge, Ram, Chrystler, Fiat)||Maximum Care, Added Care Plus|
|Subaru||Classic, Gold Plus|
|Nissan||Gold Preferred, Silver Preferred, Powertrain Preferred|
Notice that BMW doesn’t cover struts? Yeah. Just another reason to avoid getting stuck in one!
3rd Party Vehicle Service Contracts That Cover Struts
|Company||Plans That Cover Struts|
|AA Auto Protection||Not covered|
|American Auto Shield||Not covered|
|autopom!||EFG Ultimate, Royal Elite, Royal Premium, Royal Standard|
|Carchex||Royal Titanium, Royal Platinum|
|Concord Auto Protect||Not covered|
|Endurance Warranty||Supreme and Superior|
|Infinite Auto Protect||Not covered|
|Omega Auto Care||New Exclusionary|
|Protect My Car||Not covered|
So to recap: most manufacturer warranty plans will cover your struts. 3rd party companies on the other hand, only cover your struts if you have comprehensive coverage.
How To Submit A Claim For Your Strut Repair
If your vehicle service contract covers struts, you’ll need to submit a claim in order to have your repair paid for.
Failure to follow the correct claims process can result in your claim being denied even if your struts are covered.
Pretty shitty, right?
So give me 2 minutes of your time and let me save you from a potentially expensive headache.
The claims process will be slightly different for each provider. For specific instructions find the section in your policy booklet for submitting a claim.
- Stop driving your car immediately if you suspect something has gone wrong with your struts.
- Use the 24/7 roadside assistance provided by your vehicle service contract to have your car towed to the nearest mechanic that is covered under your policy.
- Before you authorize the mechanic to make any repairs, make sure you call the administrator of your contract. Your administrator’s contact info is listed in the policy book that goes with your warranty.
- Your administrator will determine if your strut repair is considered a covered repair. If it’s covered, they will provide an authorization (usually in the form of a code) after your mechanic sends them an estimate of repairs.
- Your administrator will then make sure everything checks out in terms of costs and coverage.
- The administrator may request an inspection of your vehicle, or to see service records prior to authorizing the repair. In my experience, this is uncommon, but you should be prepared for it.
- After the repair is authorized, the mechanic will replace your strut with a strut of the same kind and quality.
- Your administrator will then pay the repair shop directly, minus any deductible you have.
So if that’s all you came looking for, you’re good to go for today. I’ll see you next time you have a question about your extended warranty.
But, if you stick around, I’ve got something really special for you if you read through to the end.
What’s The Difference Between A 3rd Party & Manufacturer Warranty?
It’s easy to lump all extended warranties into one bucket, even though not all extended warranties (also known as vehicle service contracts) are created equal.
For one thing, an extended warranty isn’t a warranty.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines a true warranty as a promise from your car’s manufacturer that your car will run as intended for a period of time. The price of this promise is included in the sale price.
A vehicle service contract, on the other hand, is similar to a warranty. It’s also a promise to pay for repairs for a period of time.
However a vehicle service contract costs extra and is sold separately.
Because there are 2 types of vehicle service contracts:
- Manufacturer Vehicle Service Contracts
- 3rd Party Vehicle Service Contracts
A manufacturer vehicle service contract is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a promise from the manufacturer of your car to pay for covered repairs after your car’s true warranty ends.
A 3rd party vehicle service contract is a vehicle service contract bought from a company that is not the company that manufactured your car. This can be a car dealer, a finance company, or in some cases an insurance company.
The big difference between the two is length of coverage, and what is covered.
3rd Party Vehicle Service Contracts Cover Your Car For Longer
Most manufacturer vehicle service contracts only cover up to 150,000 miles, while some 3rd party vehicle service contracts such as the Ambassador plans offered by Protect My Car cover up to 300,000 miles.
Manufacturer Coverage Covers More Parts (Usually)
All things being equal, a manufacturer vehicle service contract will cover more parts than a 3rd party one.
For example, Ford’s PowertrainCare Service plan covers 29 components of your car’s powertrain while American Auto Shield’s Powertrain plan covers only 23.
There are certainly exceptions to this, but generally speaking, you’ll find that getting a manufacturer vehicle service contract means more parts are covered.
That includes your struts.
But, before you take your car to the mechanic…
Are You Sure It’s Your Struts That Are Broken?
Before you take your car in to get repaired, you’ll want to make sure it’s your struts that are actually broken.
Your struts are part of your car’s suspension system and hold the chassis of your car off of the ground. Without struts, you won’t be going anywhere.
Struts also act as shock absorbers while you’re driving to ensure that you have the smoothest ride possible. They prevent you from bouncing around like one of those colorful plastic balls we all had as kids.
However, your struts and your shocks aren’t the same things even though the terms are often used interchangeably.
Shocks are only meant to absorb bumps on the road, while struts provide structural support for your suspension AND shock absorption.
Without shocks, you could still drive, although there’d be a lot of bouncing around.
But without struts, things won’t go as well. Let me show you.
Needless to say, the wheels on the bus won’t be going round and round without struts.
Signs Of Bad Struts To Look Out For
Struts are considered a wear and tear part, even though they’re pretty hardy. Honda, for instance, gives their struts a life of between 50,000-100,000 miles and other manufacturers tend to follow suit.
As a general rule though, you shouldn’t replace your struts unless there is a visible problem with them because the cost of repair can be expensive. A new set can run you up to $1,500.
So what are the signs you need to be on the lookout for?
- Leaking fluid. Fluid from your struts will leak and run down over the strut. The top of the strut will be wet, although this often won’t be visible. Your mechanic, however, will be able to see it. Just another reason to get your car routinely inspected.
- Your steering wheel vibrating like it’s about to fly out your window.
- Your car bouncing several times after pushing down on the hood as opposed to settling down immediately. Same thing if your car hits a bump on the road and doesn’t settle.
- If your car bottoms out (your car comes close to hitting the ground).
- Uneven tire wear patterns. Often the easiest way to spot bad struts, your tires will often cup, which causes your tire to make uneven contact with the road and make a sound akin to a ball being dribbled when you drive down the road.
Again, having routine maintenance done will help your mechanic catch a worn strut before it becomes an issue.