When your car is three or four years old, the bumper to bumper warranty typically runs out. So your automaker will contact you about extending it: or will they?
We've all received a postcard saying our car's warranty is up, and to call a toll free phone number immediately.
But these "Urgent Notice" cards are not from your car's manufacturer, though they often appear to be.
In almost every case, they are from third party warranty companies, pitching coverage plans filled with exclusions.
The FTC earlier this year cracked down on one Miami-based company blasting millions of car owners with robocalls and postcards.
But the Better Business Bureau says "the warranty scam is still alive and well in 2016," and many car owners are now being targeted by new companies.
When Extended Warranty is a Good Idea
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, one instance where you may wish you bought an extended warranty: If you drop your smartphone and break it.
No warranty? You'll say "doesn't that stink".
With a $300 to $500 smartphone, extra coverage is well worth considering.
Bottom line: While some warranties can be worthwhile, be suspicious of all post card notices to renew your car's warranty. An extended warranty on your car can be worth having, for peace of mind, as long as you buy it from a reputable company, with a good Better Business Bureau report.
If you are confused, call your car's manufacturer or the dealer who sold it to you, to find out if it's legit or a case of don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)