My car's warranty is about to run out. Where do I go for extended cover?

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Q. I want to buy an extended warranty for my three-year-old, low-mileage Mercedes. I have researched companies such as Warranty Direct and Warrantywise but find it hard to compare their offerings. Any pointers?
GM, Golspie, Scotland

A. Comparing extended warranties can be tricky. For a start, some list the things they include, whereas others detail those they exclude. And remember, an extended warranty is essentially an insurance policy rather than a guarantee along the lines of the original car maker’s warranty. Let’s take a look at what the two firms offer.

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Warranty Direct ( gives several levels of cover and two prices for each level — one for main-dealer repairs, the other (lower) price for independent garage repairs. You pay the first £50 of any claim and a replacement car is provided only if the official time for the repair is more than eight hours (no matter how long your car spends in the garage). Also, you have to pay a percentage contribution towards the cost of new components if your car is six years or older or has covered 60,000 or more miles. Note that catalytic converters are not covered.

Warrantywise ( offers a standard rate of cover for the particular make and model of car, depending on its age — up to four years, up to six years, up to eight years, up to 10 years and up to 12 years. There are no excess or “betterment” charges, a replacement car is provided for as long as yours is off the road and labour rates of up to £200 an hour are covered. Warrantywise does cover catalytic convertors. The level of cover reduces as your car ages. For more, click here 

It is worth asking your dealer about Mercedes-Benz’s own extended warranties (manufacturers’ schemes tend to be more expensive but usually include breakdown cover in the mix). Also consider the AA’s breakdown repair cover, which, for £65 a year on top of your AA membership fee, pays up to £500 towards any repairs needed in the wake of a breakdown. Each claim has a £35 excess and there is a limit of five claims in a year.

Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Tim Shalcross, advance driving advice

Tim Shallcross used to train AA patrols to fix cars. Now he advises the Institute of Advanced Motoring – read more from Tim here.

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