Extended warranties are known to be huge profit makers for sellers, and extended service plans (ESPs) are no different. However, an ESP can provide peace of mind, which is the main reason I purchased Ford’s PremiumCARE plan for my car. I wanted protection against major unexpected costs during my ownership. After researching the plan and hearing positive feedback, I decided to give it a try. In this post, I’ll share my personal experiences and insights on Ford’s service center and the PremiumCARE plan, detailing its pros, cons, and some tips for dealing with potential issues.
I bought my Ford PremiumCARE for $2,720, which is a tad bit higher than the usual price for PremiumCARE. This may be because the car was used, already 4 years old, and had 47k miles on it. One time, the seat ventilation fan in my car burned out and needed to be replaced. I took my car to the Ford dealership, and thanks to the PremiumCARE plan, the replacement was covered. This personal experience reinforced the value of having the plan for peace of mind and demonstrated the benefits of investing in an extended service plan, even when the price is higher than average.
Pros of PremiumCARE
Comprehensive Coverage for Greater Peace of Mind: PremiumCARE offers extensive protection, covering more than 1,000 components such as the engine, transmission, electrical systems, and the advanced electronics found in today’s vehicles. As automotive technology becomes increasingly complex, the reliability of these components might be less certain. When I purchased PremiumCARE, I was living in a place without a garage or space to work on my car. This extended service plan provided me with much-needed peace of mind, knowing that any unexpected costs would be covered. PremiumCARE’s wide-ranging coverage addresses a multitude of potential issues, giving you extra reassurance when it comes to maintaining and repairing your vehicle.
Nationwide Acceptance: The plan is accepted at all Ford and Lincoln dealerships across the United States and Canada, providing you with flexibility and convenience when it comes to finding a service center.
Transferability: One of the notable advantages of the PremiumCARE plan is that it’s transferable if you decide to sell your vehicle. This feature can help boost the resale value of your car, as potential buyers are likely to appreciate the added security that comes with an existing extended service plan. Not only does it protect them against unexpected repair costs, but it also instills confidence in the vehicle’s reliability. Moreover, a transferable warranty serves as a testament to the car’s proper maintenance, making it an attractive selling point. By passing on the remaining coverage to the new owner, you’re essentially offering a safety net and additional peace of mind, which can make your vehicle stand out in the competitive used car market.
Rental Car Reimbursement: In the event that your vehicle requires covered repairs, the plan offers rental car reimbursement so that you’re not left without transportation.
Roadside Assistance: PremiumCARE includes 24/7 roadside assistance, giving you added security and support in case of emergencies.
Drawbacks of PremiumCARE
Limited Coverage Compared to Ford’s Factory Warranty: Although the PremiumCARE plan offers extensive coverage, it’s important to note that it’s not equivalent to the factory warranty that comes with a new car. Ford’s Factory Warranty covers a wide range of components and offers comprehensive protection against manufacturing defects. In contrast, the PremiumCARE plan does not cover certain items, such as wear-and-tear components, body parts, trim, and some specific repairs. For example, Ford’s Factory Warranty provides coverage for wiper blade replacements during the first six months, wheel alignments and tire balancing during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles, and brake pad/lining replacements during the first 12 months or 18,000 miles. Such coverage is not provided by the PremiumCARE plan. As a result, you may still have to pay for repairs or replacements that aren’t included in the PremiumCARE plan, even if they would have been covered under the original factory warranty. This limitation can be a significant drawback for car owners who expect the same level of protection from their extended service plan.
Avoid Relying on PremiumCARE for Pre-Purchase Issues: It’s crucial not to rely on the PremiumCARE plan to address any issues that should be identified during the initial inspection of the vehicle before purchase. It’s in your best interest to thoroughly inspect the car and note any issues with the dealer to ensure they are addressed before completing the transaction. Some issues may not be covered by the PremiumCARE plan, and the dealer might attribute them to you instead of taking responsibility for the repairs. In my case, I discovered later that the LED lights for the cup holders were not functioning. It’s possible that the LEDs were damaged by liquid from the previous owner, but the dealer did not take my word for it. This issue wasn’t covered by the PremiumCARE plan, and I had to deal with it on my own. Remember that the extended service plan is designed for protection against unexpected costs during your ownership of the car, but it’s not a substitute for a thorough pre-purchase inspection.
Diagnostic Fees: One drawback of the PremiumCARE plan, even with a $0 deductible, is the upfront diagnostic fees charged for each separate issue. If a repair isn’t covered by the warranty, you’ll be responsible for paying the fee, which can accumulate if you have multiple issues that need to be diagnosed. For instance, I once took my car to the dealership to address four different concerns. The quote for diagnostics alone came out to be 4 x $180, totaling a staggering $720. This aspect of the plan can become quite costly if you encounter several non-covered issues that require professional diagnosis.
Inconsistent Service Advisor Knowledge: Some service advisors may not be well-versed in the specifics of the PremiumCARE plan, leading to confusion and uncertainty regarding what is covered. This lack of clarity can make it difficult for car owners to decide whether to pursue repairs under the plan or handle them independently. For example, I once wanted to know if the front bumper camera on my vehicle was covered under the PremiumCARE plan, so I could avoid paying the diagnostic fee. Unfortunately, the service advisor was unsure, which left me feeling uncertain about the best course of action. This inconsistency in knowledge can be frustrating for car owners who rely on service advisors for guidance, potentially resulting in unnecessary expenses or delays in getting the vehicle repaired. It’s essential for service advisors to be familiar with the details of the PremiumCARE plan, as it helps car owners make informed decisions and ensures a smoother overall experience.
Repair Denials: If a repair gets denied, it can be challenging to navigate the process of disputing the decision. While there are avenues to pursue, such as providing proof, visiting another dealership, contacting customer service, or reaching out via social media, these efforts may not always yield satisfactory results. I experienced this firsthand when one of my repairs was denied. Despite reaching out to Ford and presenting my case, they stood their ground and refused to reconsider their decision. In the end, I had to reason with the dealership to get the repair done. This situation highlights the potential difficulties and frustration that can arise when dealing with repair denials. It’s essential for car owners to be persistent and resourceful in addressing such issues, as it may require negotiating with various parties to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
Limited Control over Service Center Experience: One thing to consider when relying on the PremiumCARE plan is that the quality of service and expertise can vary greatly depending on your location and the dealerships available. This inconsistency can impact the level of support you receive under the plan. For instance, I had a positive experience with the dealership that sold me the car, as they were familiar with my vehicle’s history and had developed a relationship with me. They were more willing to work with me on the majority of repairs, ensuring a smooth and cooperative process.
On the other hand, when I took my car to a different dealership out of state, I encountered more difficulty when it came to repairs. This highlights the importance of fostering strong relationships with service centers and understanding that experiences can differ significantly between dealerships. These variations can ultimately affect your overall satisfaction with the PremiumCARE plan, so it’s essential to keep this in mind when making decisions about extended service coverage.
Upfront Costs: The PremiumCARE plan requires an upfront investment, which may be a drawback for some car owners. While the plan provides extensive coverage and benefits, it’s essential to weigh these advantages against the initial costs to determine if it’s the right choice for your situation.
In summary, the PremiumCARE plan offers numerous advantages but also has some drawbacks to consider. Being aware of these potential challenges can help you make an informed decision about whether the PremiumCARE plan is the right choice for you and your vehicle. Through my personal experiences, like the seat ventilation fan replacement, I’ve found value in the peace of mind that the plan provides, but I’m also cautious and prepared to handle any difficulties that may arise when dealing with Ford’s service department.