RIDESURE-Everything to Know About Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Your Used Car

When you purchase a used car, you may not be eligible for the same warranty that you get from the manufacturer when you buy a new car. Fortunately, you can choose to buy mechanical breakdown insurance to help you cover the costs of expensive breakdowns in the absence of a warranty from the manufacturer. 

Even if your car has more than 100,000 miles or is older, mechanical breakdown insurance may protect you from the financial stress of having to pay for expensive repairs on your own. While the amount of coverage you get varies depending on your car's mileage and age, it may be worth it to buy mechanical breakdown insurance and reduce your out-of-pocket costs when your car needs repairs. 

What is mechanical
breakdown insurance?

Mechanical breakdown insurance covers repairs that are necessary due to the failure of one of your car's systems or parts.

RIDESURE-What is mechanical breakdown insurance

What's the difference between mechanical breakdown insurance and car insurance?

Mechanical breakdown insurance isn't the same as car insurance. Your state imposes specific requirements about how much car insurance you must carry, but no rule says you must purchase mechanical breakdown insurance.

Auto insurance

If you cause an accident while driving, your liability car insurance policy pays to repair any property you damage, including other cars and structures. It may also cover medical bills if people were hurt in the accident. If you also have full coverage that includes comprehensive and collision coverage, your auto insurance covers the costs of repairing your car after you pay the deductible. 

Mechanical breakdown insurance

Mechanical breakdown insurance helps pay for car repairs resulting from a faulty part or system. If your car breaks down, you are responsible for paying for the repairs so you can get back on the road. You may pay a deductible, and you'll have to follow the rules of your mechanical breakdown policy about where you get the work done and how you'll make a claim. 

Mechanical breakdown insurance doesn't provide the same coverage as your auto insurance policy. So, if you are in a fender-bender, your car insurance may cover the costs of making your car look the way it did before the accident. You would take it to an auto body shop for repair. Your car insurance doesn't cover the cost of repairing your vehicle if a part fails and the car isn't running correctly.

If your car breaks down because a mechanical part broke or failed, you will take it to a shop specializing in fixing the engine, transmission, and other mechanical systems. Mechanical breakdown insurance may help you pay the bill. Your auto insurance doesn't cover anything related to your car's parts or systems. 

Neither auto insurance nor mechanical breakdown insurance covers the cost of routine maintenance like tires, oil changes, windshield wiper replacement, and bulb replacement.

Can I get mechanical breakdown insurance for a new or used car?

The amount of coverage, limits, and cost of coverage depends entirely on the company providing mechanical breakdown insurance. In general, you can get mechanical breakdown insurance for a new car or used car, but the company providing the coverage sets the limits, which is why it's essential to shop around for an excellent mechanical breakdown insurance policy when it's time to get coverage. 


New cars come with manufacturer's warranties to cover repairs

Your car's manufacturer guarantees that if something goes wrong and your car breaks down during the first years you drive it, they will fix the problem at no charge while the mileage is low. Having a manufacturer's warranty to pay for expensive repairs is one of the main advantages of driving a newer vehicle. 

You already have breakdown insurance if you drive a new car with a manufacturer's warranty. When your car breaks down due to a faulty part or system, you'll take it to a dealership that can diagnose the problem and authorize the repairs. With a manufacturer's warranty, there is no deductible. 

That coverage doesn't last forever, however. When your car's mileage reaches a specific limit or is more than a few years old, your manufacturer's warranty is no longer valid.

At that point, you may look for mechanical breakdown insurance to help reduce the costs of keeping your car running smoothly. 


Used cars may not have a manufacturer's warranty

While some certified used vehicles come with a limited warranty from the original manufacturer or dealership, many do not have any warranty. While it's perfectly fine to buy a used car in "as is" condition, people often worry about how they'll pay for repairs if their vehicle breaks down. 

With an excellent mechanical breakdown insurance plan, you'll pay a deductible, and your plan pays the rest. 

Look for a policy backed by a reputable company that lets you use the mechanic of your choice, handles claims on your behalf, and provides rental car assistance, so you don't have to miss work.

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Why is it important to get coverage for repairs for an older car?

RIDESURE-Can I get mechanical breakdown insurance for a new or used car

If you drive an older car or are in the market for a used car, you aren't alone.  The average age of a vehicle in the United States has risen by 17% in the past ten years. People are holding on to their cars longer, which means that mechanical breakdowns are more common. 

Owners of older cars are twice as likely to expect maintenance and repair spending that exceeds $1,000 than new car owners. Many people wouldn't easily afford a surprise $1,000 car repair bill.  Mechanical breakdown insurance can help ease the financial burden when your car breaks down. People are holding on to their cars longer, which means that mechanical breakdowns are a more common occurrence. 

How much do common car repairs cost?

While each make and model of vehicle has different statistics about parts that fail and the costs of keeping the car on the road, every car breaks down at some point. In the United States, the average cost to repair a vehicle when it breaks down is $305.56; $202.28 for parts, and $103.27 for labor. Of course, these numbers are averages, so many car repairs are more or less expensive.  

Car manufacturers work hard to design and build vehicles that last a long time, but with that longevity comes more complicated (and expensive) repairs. Here are some of the most common repairs and their average price across all vehicle makes and models in the United States.

  • Intake manifold gasket replacement: $326.74
  • Ignition coil replacement: $213.16
  • Engine coolant temperature sensor replacement: $132.62
  • Exhaust gas recirculation valve replacement: $288.19
  • Spark plug replacement: $311.40
  • Mass airflow sensor replacement: $376.69
  • Catalytic converter replacement: $1,001. 74
  • Oxygen sensor replacement: $238.71

Here are some other repairs you may face as a used car owner:


Transmission issues

On average, transmission repair costs can be as low as $300 or as high as $1,500, depending on the type of car you drive and where you live. Replacing a transmission assembly costs an average of $3,905. Plus, transmission repair can take longer than other types of repairs. You may be without a car for a few days or up to a month. 

Here are some common problems that come up with transmissions that require immediate attention:

  • Shift delays
  • Excessive noise in neutral
  • Reverse or drive gear failure
  • Burning smell
  • Vibrating or grinding
  • Clunky or high-pitched noises
  • Failing clutch
  • Transmission leaks

If you need to replace your car's transmission altogether, expect to spend between $1,800 and $3,400.


Check engine light

Modern cars are equipped with internal diagnostic systems to detect potential problems with the vehicle before the driver realizes there's an issue to address. When your check engine light comes on, it could be a simple problem like a loose gas cap, which causes nothing to fix. Or, you may be facing thousands of dollars in repair bills. 

An illuminated check engine light usually indicates a problem with the car's fuel injection, emission control, or ignition system. To read the code, an auto technician can plug a hand-held diagnostic device into your car's OBD II port. The five-digit code corresponds to a part or system, providing the technician with important information about performing the necessary repairs.

Here are the five most likely causes of an illuminated check engine light and their average cost to fix the problem:

  • Faulty oxygen sensor: $238
  • Spark plugs or ignition coil replacement: $367
  • Catalytic converter replacement: $1,271
  • Fuel cap replacement: $26
  • EVAP purge control valve replacement: $147

Choosing to ignore your check engine light could cost you even more in the long run. Here are some preventable yet expensive repairs that start with a check engine light warning. 

  • Replace electronic power steering unit: $5,201
  • Replace audio and visual control unit: $4,293
  • Replace hybrid-car battery/reprogram electronic control module: $4,149
  • Replace compu-valve module: $4,105
  • Replace hybrid-car battery $3,798
  • Replace engine: $7,050

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It may take time to get your
car repaired...

Busy auto shops may not be able to accommodate emergency mechanical repairs. You may need to rent a car or try to figure out another way to get to work while your mechanic gets you onto his schedule, performs a diagnosis, and orders parts. Then, it may be a few more days before the shop can carve out time to repair your car. 

To matters even more difficult, shops require payment in full before they'll return your keys and let you drive away. The logistical and financial stress of having your car break down can cause a ripple effect that lasts far into the future if you live paycheck to paycheck and need to get to work every day.

With Ridesure, the claims
process is easier and faster.

How does car mileage impact your mechanical breakdown coverage?

The number of miles your car has affects the type and amount of mechanical breakdown coverage you may be eligible to purchase. Cars over 60k miles are generally eligible for mechanical breakdown insurance, as are cars over 100k miles. For cars over 200k miles, it may be tricky to find coverage for major parts and systems at an affordable price. 

After your car's manufacturer warranty runs out, you can purchase an extended warranty, also called mechanical breakdown insurance, from a third-party provider. All mechanical breakdown plans have a deductible and a defined list of which parts and systems are covered. Not all mechanical breakdown policies offer rental car assistance to keep you on the road while your car is in the shop, however. 

How to prevent expensive car repairs with routine maintenance

RIDESURE-It may take time to get your car repaired

While spending money on parts and systems that don't require repair may seem unnecessary, taking care of your vehicle by keeping up with recommended maintenance can help you prevent several potentially expensive repairs. 


Routine service

Your car's manufacturer details what maintenance tasks should be performed and when. You can find your vehicle-specific list of routine maintenance in your car's manual. 

If you don't have one, you may access an electronic version online. 


Pay attention to clues

Your car may offer hints that something is about to go wrong. Newer cars have several built-in diagnostic systems that trigger a light on your dashboard when there's a problem. 

When faced with an illuminated warning light, don't panic. Contact your mechanic as soon as possible. Putting off repairs just leads to bigger and more expensive problems.

Ridesure Mechanical Breakdown Coverage

With Ridesure, you'll have help getting the rental car you need, plus claims filing and 24/7 access to customer support. If you decide to get mechanical breakdown coverage, you can buy a policy instantly online without having to have a long conversation with a sales agent. 

Once you are covered, you can call anytime to activate your benefits and a Ridesure agent will handle the claims filing process on your behalf. Just call your trusted mechanic to get onto their schedule. You won't have to worry about how to get to work; Ridesure provides rental car assistance so you can minimize your downtime and your repair bill. 

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