Car warranties are as important to car buyers as the car payments and car financing terms. However, used cars are getting more popular but they don’t come with the same powertrain warranty and repair coverage as a brand new vehicle. That’s why innovators in auto after-market protection are gaining popularity.
A good example is GuardTree, which offers used car warranties to Canadians. GuardTree claims that their seamless online purchasing process, allows used car owners to secure a warranty in a matter of minutes, without any commitment.
Is GuardTree really different? Have they cracked the code for affordable and convenient used car warranties including powertrain protection? Let’s find out if their extended car warranty is worth your time.
What Is A Car Warranty?
An extended warranty, or auto warranty, covers unexpected car repairs unrelated to an accident.
Unlike insurance, a warranty covers costs related to mechanical breakdowns whereas auto insurance covers the cost of damage due to accidents. But overall, much like insurance, a warranty transfers the cost of repair to the warranty provider, not your savings.
Used Cars Have A Higher Risk Of Needing Repair
And here is a fact: a new car comes with a warranty but the chances of a brand new car needing work or repair is small. It is new and its parts are at their most resilient. After a while on the road though, the powertrain and the exterior of your car get damaged, which is why extended warranties exist and can be valuable.
Depending on the payment model of your provider, you can pay a small amount up front and if you are lucky, a disaster never happens. But, if you choose not to have a car warranty and don’t pay up front, you play the odds.
When a car needs repair on its powertrain, whether it is sudden or a long process you heard and felt coming, your bank account takes a full-size hit if you don’t have a warranty.
If you don’t have the money to pay for the repair, you could need a personal loan or to put the cost on your credit card and pay it off slowly. The fact is, it can potentially be a large sum of money you have to pay.
This is why it makes sense to get a warranty, especially on a used car. It makes sense to have a powertrain warranty at the very least.
What Is A Powertrain Warranty And Does It Apply To Used Cars?
As we mentioned, new cars come with their own warranties that will provide different levels of protection throughout their entire duration, from a very comprehensive one in the first years, to a much more limited one towards the end, where not as many components are covered.
This last period of protection is known as powertrain warranty, and it helps drivers cover the cost of powertrain repairs, which are the essential parts that keep the car moving, like the engine, turbocharger and supercharger.
Companies like GuardTree offer extended warranties, that extend the protection one would get with their manufacturer’s powertrain warranty, but make them available for used cars.
What is GuardTree?
You apply online and see how much a warranty on your vehicle will cost each month and for how many months you’ll be covered.
To subscribe, you need to supply GuardTree with some very basic information about your used vehicle. Information like:
- Car model year
- Car make
- Car model
Next, you decide on the plan you want and how much deductible you want. You can choose between a $100, $250 and $500 deductible.
Finally, you choose the maximum repair amount the warranty will cover per claim. The amounts are either $2,500 or $5,000.
What GuardTree Does Not Need
Here is something new. GuardTree doesn’t inspect your car or have a waiting period before your policy starts. Signing up is done online in a few simple steps, eliminating a lengthy in-person visit and sales process.
GuardTree Cancellation Policy
Like most subscriptions, you can cancel your GuardTree warranty subscription at any time.
GuardTree Is More Than Just A Powertrain Warranty
The powertrain is the best thing about your car. It is all the moving parts that make the car work.
The specific components that a powertrain warranty covers are:
- Turbochargers and superchargers (gives your engine extra power boost)
- Driveshaft (the rods that transmit torque)
- Axles (attaches the wheels to the driveshaft)
- Differentials (so that your back wheels turn at a different pace than the front wheels)
- Transfer case (necessary for all-wheel/four-wheel/multiple axle drives)
- Electric or hybrid vehicle components.
That is a lot of coverage for highly skilled and specialized work. But, there’s even more.
So, besides a powertrain, what else does GuardTree cover?
Other GuardTree Covered Parts and Systems
Canada burns hot in the spring, summer, and into the fall. It is cold and damp in the winter. One thing to consider is what to do when your heating or air conditioning system stops working. GuardTree covers the convenient parts on top of the essential powertrain components.
GuardTree also covers*:
- Air conditioner
- Fuel delivery
- Front and rear suspension systems
- Cooling systems
- Enhanced electrical systems (including the powertrain control module)
- Supplemental restraint systems
- Emissions systems
- Multimedia software
*We recommend referring to the terms and conditions for exact details on what is covered.
GuardTree also takes care of paying the claim with the licensed garage you choose for your repair. GuardTree makes sure that any replacement part is either new OEM (original equipment manufacturer), used parts from local sources, reconditioned used, or remanufactured OEM parts.
Other Perks Of A GuardTree Used Car Warranty
GuardTree covers a replacement vehicle you can use while yours is in for repair for more than 8 hours. They cover up to $50 per day for a rental to a maximum of $200 per claim.
Plus, like a good credit card, they offer roadside assistance. GuardTree pays up to $175 toward each of the outlined roadside assistance services you use. Examples include towing, jumpstarts, car refuelling, and unlocking your car if you get locked out.
Finally, if your car breaks down and needs overnight repair more than 150 km from your residence, GuardTree pays you $150 per day for lodging and meals.
How Much Does GuardTree Cost?
The monthly subscription starts as low as $49.95 CAD.
I plugged in the information for a GuardTree warranty for a 2017 Honda Civic. After all, the manufacturer’s warranty is over after 5 years, so it ran out sometime in 2022.
I selected the car’s mileage, which was between 100,001 and 200,000 km and I chose the lowest deductible option of $100. I selected the highest repair cost limit of $5,000. Based on the selections that I made, GuardTree can give me a warranty for $85.95CAD a month for up to 105 months.
That means nearly 8.75 years of warranty. The total cost if I pay each month is $9,024.75 over the next 8.75 years.
Now, Honda is a great company that makes reliable cars, but over time, even the most reliable cars experience breakdowns. Do I think that in the next 8.75 years, a car will need repairs to its components (forget about maintenance costs, like paint and bodywork)? Yes. Will a $100 deductible be more manageable than $250 or $500? Probably.
Payment Methods For A GuardTree Used Car Warranty
Here is where it gets interesting. As a subscription, you charge it to your credit card account. It doesn’t matter if it is a premium card or a basic, low-cost credit card. In fact, certain credit cards give you points and perks when you charge your subscriptions.
Since it is credit-card based, you can even use prepaid cards that use the Mastercard or Visa system. So, you could use a KOHO Mastercard if you don’t want, or cannot get, a credit card.
Paying by prepaid card is easy and you avoid checks to your credit history or credit score.
Your Break Even Point With A GuardTree Used Car Warranty
To break even, I would need to pay the warranty monthly payment for 58 months (4 years, 10 months) and then claim a $5,000 qualified repair. At that point, the Honda Civic is at least 9 years and 10 months old. A nearly 10-year old car with between 100,001 and 200,000 km on it (or more) likely needs component help.
The choice is yours. However, wear-and-tear and time affect all vehicles. A used car is already on its way toward needing significant repairs.
Making A Claim With GuardTree
If you need to make a claim against your GuardTree used car warranty, it is pretty straightforward.
First, claim any damage or repair quickly. Do not wait. Try to get in touch with GuardTree within 7 days of the breakdown. You call their toll-free number: 1-866-673-1777.
Your licensed garage can submit the claim for you by email. However, the claims department is only open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm EST. Ensuring that the claim is reviewed and authorized means getting in touch with GuardTree quickly so that you can get your car repaired and back on the road.
Pros and Cons of a GuardTree Used Car Warranty
GuardTree Used Car Warranty Pros
- Comprehensive powertrain warranty for used cars
- Extensive software, electrical, and systems warranty coverage
- Cancellation at any time, like any good subscription service
- No credit check
- No vehicle inspection
- Subscribe easily online
- Choice of $100, $250, and $500 deductible
- Rental car expenses covered
- Roadside assistance
- Trip interruption compensation
GuardTree Used Car Warranty
- Currently only available for cars registered in Ontario
- Limited claims department hours (Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 7:30pm EST)
- Only accepts card payments.
So, Is A GuardTree Used Car Warranty A Good Idea?
Overall, an extended powertrain warranty alone is a good idea for anyone whose car is off the original manufacturer’s warranty. For some cars, all it takes for your manufacturer’s warranty to expire is 100,000 km or 5 years, whichever comes first.
The additional covered components are also extensive and cover other necessary things, like software-based components. Mechanics are impressive enough for assembling and repairing complex automobiles. Adding software repair to the repair mix takes a warranty on a used car up to another level.
The site is easy to navigate, and the signup process is straightforward and short. Getting covered is uncomplicated and does not require any inspection of the vehicle or your credit score.
The only drawback is the repair cap per claim. While it is generous, $5,000 adds up quickly. Maybe in the future, the cap will go up. For now, the GuardTree used car warranty is pretty great.
Want to give it a try?
Click here, use the promo code LOANSCANADA and receive 25% off your first month of subscription.