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Ford Motor Co.’s New Limited Vehicle Warranty could probably be called average for mainstream brands, and that’s one reason to consider purchasing an extended warranty. Comparison shopping Ford’s extended warranty products and those available from third-party providers can help you find the best value before you buy a car.
Drivers today are keeping their cars an average of over eight years. That’s why many new car buyers, as well as those buying certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles, purchase an extended warranty, either from the carmaker or a third-party provider.
We researched the best extended auto warranty providers and found four in particular that we think offer compelling choices for car owners. Before shopping for a new Ford, it pays to get a quote and sample contract from one or more of our picks, and then compare those to Ford’s extended warranties, which are called Ford Protect Extended Service Plans (ESP).
Table of Contents:
- Ford’s 2020 Warranty Coverage
- Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
- Is Ford’s Warranty Coverage Enough?
- How Reliable are New Fords?
- Ford Protect Extended Service Plans
- Another Choice: Third-Party Extended Warranties
- The Best Options for Extended Ford Protection
Ford’s 2020 Warranty Coverage
Before comparing extended warranties, you should first get to know the warranties that come with new and CPO Fords. Like all new car warranties, Ford’s 2020 warranty is actually a package that includes several forms of coverage, each differing in its terms.
|New Vehicle Limited Warranty||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain||5 years/60,000 miles|
|Hybrid/electric system (including battery)||8 years/100,000 miles|
|Diesel engine (trucks)||5 years/100,000 miles|
|Corrosion perforation||5 years/unlimited miles|
|Safety restraint system||5 years/60,000 miles|
|Emissions||2 years/24,000 miles to 8 years/80,000 miles|
|Tires||Up to 36,000 miles (prorated coverage), plus the tiremaker’s warranty|
Ford’s three-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty term matches other brands, such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota, but Ford’s powertrain coverage goes beyond those brands and matches Chevrolet, Volkswagen and some luxury brands.
If you sell your Ford before the warranty expires, any remaining coverage transfers to the new owner. Ford’s optional extended warranties are also transferable.
Ford Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Warranty
Ford offers several hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles for 2020 and recently began taking reservations for its Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle. The 2020 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Unique Component warranty covers hybrids and EVs.
Perhaps anticipating that many people will not recognize some of the major components mentioned in a hybrid and EV warranty, Ford offers the following bit of reassurance:
“The components in the electrical drivetrain system of your vehicle will vary, depending on whether your vehicle is a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle, but you can rest assured knowing that your vehicle’s electrical drivetrain system is covered by this comprehensive warranty.”
Not all hybrid and EV warranties are the same. For example, Kia covers its hybrid systems for 10 years/100,000 miles.
Ford’s Roadside Assistance
Ford’s roadside assistance coverage term is the same as for the powertrain (5 years/60,000 miles). It covers some of the same situations as other brands’ roadside assistance programs, but it’s worth noting the specifics of Ford’s:
- Towing: To the nearest local Ford Motor Co. dealership or your selling dealership, if it’s within 35 miles of the disablement
- Flat tire change: Must have a usable spare available
- Fuel delivery: Up to two gallons, and limited to two occurrences in a 12-month period
- Battery jump starts: 12V only
- Lock-out assistance: Not including replacement key cost
- Winch-out services: Includes pulling a vehicle within 100 feet of a paved or county-maintained road, but not recoveries
Corrosion and Paint Warranties
As with most carmakers’ warranties, Ford’s coverage of damage corrosion damage pertains specifically to perforation, also known as rust-through. Also, any such damage would have to be the result of a defect, not, for example, accident damage that the owner fails to repair properly.
Ford covers the vehicle’s paint for defects under its 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and adds a bonus. Where most carmakers do not cover paint damage from “environmental fallout” or “airborne material” such as bird droppings or acid rain, Ford’s warranty does. The company says it will repair damage from such elements for the first 12 months or 12,000 miles. That can be comforting to know after seeing your shiny brand-new Mustang’s come under attack by a flock of passing seagulls or pigeons.
Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
Ford provides a pretty solid warranty on its CPO vehicles, especially with regard to powertrain coverage. Ford’s CPO vehicles must meet certain mileage and age restrictions and undergo a 172-point inspection by factory-trained Ford technicians. They also come with a comprehensive limited warranty covering more than 1,000 components for 12 months/12,000 miles.
Along with this limited warranty, Ford CPO vehicles also include 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty coverage, which makes it one of the more generous CPO powertrain warranties on the market. With either warranty, you pay a $100 deductible per covered repair, and the warranty is fully transferable if you sell the vehicle.
The powertrain coverage runs from the vehicle’s in-service date when new – it is not an addition to Ford’s five-year/60,000-mile new-vehicle powertrain coverage. So, for example, if you buy a Ford CPO vehicle that’s three years old and has 35,000 miles, the powertrain would be covered for an additional 4 years or 65,000 miles.
Is Ford’s Warranty Coverage Enough?
As with other mainstream brands, Ford’s warranty coverage of 3 years/36,000 miles has been around for a while. Yet, in recent years, cars have grown increasingly complex, especially with regard to onboard technology, whether for audio and navigation or driver assist features. Also, consumers are taking longer loans to pay for their new vehicles. New-vehicle loans of months (7 years) are not uncommon.
Ford buyers falling into that category will still be paying for their new vehicles long after the original vehicle and powertrain warranty coverage expires. That means they will be paying for a “new” or certified pre-owned car that’s reaching an age when repairs beyond normal maintenance may be needed.
An extended warranty, either from Ford or an aftermarket provider, can cushion the financial impact of surprise repairs. Consider, too, Ford’s reliability record when weighing your warranty options.
How Reliable are New Fords?
Ford, as a brand, ranked a bit below the industry average for reliability as measured by the annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. In the 2019 edition of this respected study, which surveys owners of three-year-old vehicles, Ford showed 146 problems per 100 vehicles. That tied with the Chrysler brand and Honda. The industry average was 136. Remember, though, those are brand averages. If you’re curious to see how individual vehicles hold up after years of ownership, Consumer Reports is a solid source. (Online subscription required.)
RepairPal, an online resource for auto reliability data and repair cost estimates, ranks Ford 21st out of 32 car brands and gives Ford a 3.5 out of 5 score (“average” reliability). According to RepairPal, Ford has an average annual repair cost of $775, which includes major scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs.
That is a bit higher than the $652 average annual repair cost RepairPal has calculated for all vehicles in its database. Also, according to RepairPal, there is a 15% probability of a Ford repair being “severe.” You can use this resource to compare different models and to also get estimates for specific repairs.
Ford Protect Extended Service Plans
Ford offers its own extended warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, under the Ford Protect Extended Service Plan (ESP) name. For new cars, you must purchase one of these plans while the vehicle is still covered by the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
There are four levels of coverage offered, with terms up to 8 years and 150,000. That means you would be adding up to 3 years/90,000 miles of powertrain coverage or 5 years/114,000 miles of vehicle coverage beyond the original warranty terms.
- PowertrainCARE: The most basic of Ford’s ESP contracts covers essentially the engine, transmission and driveline, but not every part. On its website, Ford says the plan covers 29 components. (The details in the downloadable brochure shows many more covered parts than that, so Ford is likely considering some major systems as a single component.) Also, Ford defines driveline coverage for front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive but also notes that these two encompass all-wheel drive if the vehicle is so equipped.
- BaseCARE: The second level up augments PowertranCARE by covering steering, brakes, front suspension (but not rear suspension), air conditioning and heat and some electrical components. Ford says the BaseCARE plan covers 84 components altogether.
- ExtraCARE: The third tier of Ford ESP covers 113 components, essentially adding more brake elements to the mix, along with “high tech.” In this plan, that means the instrument panel, power seat motors, power locks and window motors and cruise control. To get coverage of what most people would consider the real “high tech,” such as the audio/entertainment, navigation and driver-assist systems, you need to buy the top tier, PremiumCARE.
- PremiumCARE: The highest level for Ford Protect ESP coverage is of course the most comprehensive (and expensive). It fills out gaps in the categories covered by the other tiers and adds several more. It is the only one of the four tiers to cover rear suspension, for example. Ford says PremiumCARE covers more than 1,000 components.
For new and used Fords, the standard deductible is $100, but you can optionally choose $0, $50 or $200 deductibles (not $0 for used cars), or a disappearing deductible. The latter means you do not pay the deductible for covered repairs performed by the dealer that sold you the car.
Ford extended warranty coverage includes roadside assistance that has added perks over Ford’s original warranty roadside assistance, including:
- Emergency travel expense: Up to $1,000 within the first five days per occurrence
- Destination assistance: Up to $75
- Rental car coverage: $30 a day for up to 10 days when a covered vehicle is kept overnight for a covered repair
Ford also offers an installment payment plan, which allows you to be interest-free for up to 24 months if you choose to not include a Ford Protect ESP in your vehicle’s purchase financing.
The Ford extended warranty plans are fully transferable. If you select the installment payment plan, you would first have to pay off any remaining balance in order to transfer the coverage.
Another Choice: Third-Party Extended Warranties
Third-party extended warranty companies offer competitive plans, often with more customization and pricing levels than Ford Protect ESP. Also, aftermarket plans allow you to purchase coverage even after the new-vehicle warranty has expired.
We’ve researched third-party extended warranty companies and summarized the benefits compared to the Ford Protect Extended Service Plans.
|Ford’s Extended Warranty||Most Extended Warranty Companies|
Up to 8 years/150,000 miles
Up to 10 years/150,000 miles (at least)
Available interest-free installment payments
More plans and more price points available to offer excellent value
When to buy
Must purchase before the 3-year/36,000-miles Ford New Vehicle Limited Warranty expires
Anytime, even after the new-vehicle warranty expires, and also for higher-mileage vehicles
|Repair facilities||Ford and Lincoln dealerships||
Up to 30,000 certified repair facilities
The Best Options for Extended Ford Protection
Based on our research, below are three great options for a Ford extended warranty:
CARCHEX is our top pick overall and offers five levels of coverage:
- Bronze: Coverage for the major systems of your vehicle, including the most common and expensive repairs
- Silver: Popular for vehicles with high mileage, providing coverage for the major systems
- Gold: Comprehensive coverage and flexible terms for vehicles with more than 60,000 total miles
- Platinum: Highest level of stated component coverage that protects hundreds of parts in a vehicle’s major systems
- Titanium: Maximum bumper-to-bumper protection and the highest level of coverage, with only a short list of excluded parts
Endurance is another leader in the industry and our second overall choice. This provider offers five levels of vehicle protection plans:
- Select Premier: Designed for vehicles with high mileage, protecting important components like the engine, transmission and drive axle
- Secure: The most affordable coverage option, covering the most vital and most expensive components, including the engine, transmission, transfer case, drive axle, fuel and turbo/supercharger
- Secure Plus: A higher level of coverage that covers steering, electrical and braking systems
- Superior: The highest level of stated component coverage available, providing comprehensive protection for hundreds of car parts
- Supreme: Exclusionary coverage for the maximum protection from any breakdowns (most similar to the original factory warranty)
CarShield has served millions of drivers across the nation and is a popular pick. This company has a trusted brand, and we rate their offerings as the third best overall. CarShield offers motorists the choice of six service contracts:
- Silver: Most affordable policy with coverage for most major parts of your vehicle, from engine to water pump
- Gold: Greater increased coverage for all major and minor vehicle parts, from engine and transmission to power windows
- Platinum: Intended for vehicles with high mileage, providing comprehensive protection for all the vital car systems
- New Car Diamond: Similar to a manufacturer’s factory warranty
- High Tech: Protects against electrical and computer-related problems
- Specialty: Applies to other motor vehicles, such as motorcycles and ATVs
Your Car, Your Warranty Choice
Contact one or more of our top picks among the best extended car warranty companies to get a quote on the exact extended warranty coverage you think you would want for a new or used Ford. Compare what they offer to the Ford extended warranty products, including costs. You just could save some money.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, © Peter Atkins