The wallet-walloping truth is I’ve paid over the odds for a badge on the bonnet
OKAY, I put my hands up! I drive a car with the planet-friendly credentials of the Death Star and the road presence of P Diddy’s coronation coach. There really is no defence but, if ever I’m asked to justify my overpriced behemoth, I like to use a fashion analogy.
A prestige car, I opine in the manner of, I like to think, the late Sir Donald Sinden, is like an expensive suit. Its material is of superior quality and width, while its lines are created by exquisite tailoring.
Moreover, its timeless style and adamantine durability mean it can still be about its business long after polyester rivals have grown garishly threadbare and been rehomed in charity shops. It’s delusional nonsense, of course. The wallet-walloping truth is not only have I paid over the odds for a badge on the bonnet, but I’m still paying through the nose to keep it on the road and will be for years to come. The extra expense is particularly nostril flaring when it comes to the extended warranty. While it’s unlikely the Bavarian born and bred 3-litre V6 will ever blow up, if it did the estimated cost of a replacement could buy a small island off the west coast.
This makes my cover a necessary evil and is a burden shared by many used car owners who dare not risk firing up without the insurance a good warranty offers.
In fact, a new study by provider Warranty Direct backs this up. It says authorised claims made on four-year-old vehicles – the age at which many manufacturer warranties will have expired – reveal suspension and axle issues are the most common problem, cited in 21 per cent of all claims (this is perhaps not too surprising given the unholy holey state of our roads).
Electrical problems account for a fifth of issues paid for by warranty cover while around one in ten visits to automotive A&E involve catastrophic failure of the catalytic converter or cooling system. The most expensive ailment to treat was gearbox trouble, at an eye-watering average of £974.
Of course, the more expensive the car the more expensive the parts and labour. Ferrari owners know this only too well, which is why they are prancing with glee around their horses this week after the marque launched its New Power15 extended warranty, providing cover for its Italian supercars for up to 15 years from registration.
In 2014 Ferrari became the first marque to allow extending warranty cover for up to 12 years; Power15 is designed for Ferraris in their sixth to twelfth year of ownership and provides cover on all major components.
Alas, I don’t yet own a Ferrari but last year I still paid an eye-watering £700 for my warranty and it’s due for renewal next week.
The reminder letter offers three options, with different levels of cover for my car’s oily bits: silver, gold and platinum. Beyond the £250 price distinction it’s difficult to see any real difference in each option. However, after much consideration, I’ve decided to go for the platinum. Why? Because a prestige warranty is like an expensive suit . . .