CARS Protection Plus has been in business for more than 20 years.

Advertiser Disclosure

If you are searching for an extended auto warranty, you may have heard of CARS Protection Plus. The provider has been in business for more than 20 years. But how does its extended warranty compare to the competition?

We’ve taken the time to look deeper into CARS Protection Plus – analyzing the company’s reputation, customer reviews, coverage levels, and cost. Below, we will determine whether or not the CARS warranty is worth it.

Looking for the best extended warranty?

Read Motor1's guide to the best providers available.


Our Recommendations >
 

 

In This Article:

CARS Protection Plus Overview

CARS Protection Plus has been in business since 1998 when the company was founded with just six employees. Today, the provider serves all 50 states with an industry-high 200,000-mile acceptance limitation. That means a CARS warranty can cover most cars on the road. The biggest limitation the provider has is that consumers cannot get quotes on the CARS website. They must go through an authorized retailer.

Do You Need A Car Warranty?

There are some manufacturer warranties that cover your vehicle from the date of purchase for many years, with Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Kia being among the best. But what are you going to do when your factory warranty expires? What if your used car doesn’t come with a warranty?

If you don’t have an extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, in place, you will be responsible for any repair costs associated with a mechanical breakdown. Only 40 percent of Americans can cover a $1,000 emergency. For those without a savings account, an unexpected car repair could mean going into debt.

Most car repairs won’t cost you thousands of dollars, but if something major like your engine or transmission were to malfunction, you could be left with a hefty bill. Take a look at some of the average costs for major car repairs from CarBrain.com to see if you could foot the bill.

Engine Control Unit Replacement

$3,000

Air Bag Replacement

$2,500–$4,000

Transmission Replacement

$4,000–$5,000

Hybrid Car Battery Replacement

$6,000

Engine and Cylinder Replacement

$7,000–$10,000

 

If these numbers make you uneasy, it’s wise to consider your extended car warranty options. With monthly payments, you might find that taking care of your vehicle is less expensive than you initially thought.

CARS Warranty Coverage Options

The CARS warranty has more options than most providers, with a total of 11 protection plans for your vehicle. However, many of these are closely related and difficult to differentiate from one another. It doesn’t help that the CARS warranty website is outdated, and the plans don’t appear to be listed in any particular order online.

CARS considers the following options to be vehicle service contracts:

Ultimate Value

This plan is a complete bumper-to-bumper warranty covering most of the vehicle’s parts. It includes a labor rate up to $100 per hour, has some rental benefits, and covers towing or roadside assistance up to $50 per incident.

ONYX Plus

Diesel trucks and vans receive specialized protection on this plan. Coverage is similar to the Ultimate Value, except labor is only covered up to $70 per hour.

Value Plus

Coverage is similar to the Ultimate Value, except labor rates are only covered up to $70 per hour and diagnostic charges are not included.

Independence

This coverage is similar to the Value Plus, except the labor rate drops to $60 per hour and there are no roadside assistance benefits. Towing is still included up to $50.

Value Limited

This coverage is similar to Independence coverage, except the air conditioning is excluded.

Power Train Limited

This plan covers all essential components, with the ability to add on other systems. Labor rates are included up to $60 per hour, and towing is allowed up to $50 per instance. This plan does have a $200 deductible.

Power Train

This is a basic powertrain warranty with towing included up to $50 per instance.

 

In addition, there are four Flex Protect levels to choose from with the CARS warranty. Each includes diagnostic charges and rental benefits:

Flex Protect Level 4

This protection plan includes parts and systems such as the engine, transmission, steering components, brake components, and electrical components. 24-hour roadside assistance is included up to $50 per incident, and labor rates up to $160 per hour can be included for an additional charge. There are a number of exclusions like glass, bumpers, body sheet metal and panels, and safety restraint systems.

Flex Protect Level 3

This plan is similar to Flex Protect Level 4, but some of the electronic components lose coverage.

Flex Protect Level 2

This level of coverage only includes the powertrain and a few other components, such as turbochargers, suspension, and steering. Roadside assistance is removed with this plan, but you still receive towing.

Flex Protect Level 1

This basic powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and drive systems.

 

Common Exclusions

While each plan has its own terms and conditions, there are some parts that are regularly excluded with the CARS warranty, even on the most comprehensive plans.

  • Under the hood: Gaskets and seals aren’t covered on vehicles with more than 100,000 miles unless the repair is in conjunction with a covered component.
  • Under the vehicle: Plans don’t include the catalytic converter, brake rotors, brake drums, exhaust pipe, mufflers, resonators, tailpipes, frame, structural body parts, wheels, valve stems, and tires.
  • Exterior: The coverage won’t include the glass, windows, windshield, and mirrors. These exclusions include any embedded electrical elements on the glass. Furthermore, convertible tops, Targa tops, and T-top aren’t included. There are many lighting components that won’t receive coverage as well, including laser lighting systems, Xenon, LED, sealed beams, and lenses. Plans also exclude weather strips, trim, body panels, paint, moldings, bumpers, and the body sheet metal.
  • Interior: The safety restraint systems are excluded. This includes air bags, actuators, seatbelts, sensors, and tensioners. You won’t have coverage for the carpet, headliner, upholstery, or mirrors either.
  • Other Exclusions: There is a long list of other exclusions included with every plan. Some of these discuss driver-assist systems, while others are related to maintenance parts.

If you are considering a CARS warranty, you will want to carefully read your entire contract before signing to determine what is and isn’t included with your coverage.

Added Perks

With the CARS warranty, most plans come with towing, roadside assistance, and rental car coverage. The trouble is that all of these perks are limited to a certain amount, some of which are restrictive. These added benefits don’t offer as much peace of mind as we would hope for.

CARS Protection Plus Company Trustworthiness

It’s clear that CARS Protection Plus is a reputable company, striving to cover repairs on consumers’ vehicles. The organization maintains an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, which isn’t something to be taken lightly in this industry.

Additionally, CARS claims to be a part of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, as well as several independent Automobile Dealers Associations in various states. It is also a partner of Meineke.

How Much Does A CARS Warranty Cost?

The only way to get an accurate price for the CARS warranty is to receive a free quote from an authorized retailer. It’s clear that the Flex Protect Levels are going to cost more than the other service contracts. These protection plans can cover a higher labor rate, up to $75 per hour, but allow customers to adjust that to $160 per hour as well.

Other factors that will affect the price of a CARS warranty include the following:

  • Age of the vehicle
  • Make/model
  • Mileage
  • Amount of coverage

CARS Protection Plus Customer Service

During regular business hours, it isn’t difficult to get in contact with the customer service representatives at CARS. The only time that you might have a problem getting answers is if you want a free quote. The CARS warranty is not available for purchase on the CARS website. Instead, consumers must go through an authorized retailer.

There are some areas where CARS delivers a positive customer experience. For one, you can choose any repair shop to honor your vehicle warranty. CARS Protection Plus also pays the repair facility directly, so you don’t have to pay anything for covered repairs other than your deductible and any charges that go beyond what your CARS warranty includes.

As for transferability, the CARS warranty can be transferred to a new vehicle owner for a $99 fee.

CARS Customer Reviews

When we look at reviews online, it’s clear that opinions of the CARS warranty can go one way or the other. The provider has just over a 1-star rating on the BBB, while Google rates it with 2.5 stars based on more than 300 reviews. Here are a few customer reviews:

“Had an AC evaporator go bad on my Subaru Impreza. Took into the shop [and the] repair was $1,350 [and] CARS picked up $949 of it. Thanks! I've had CARS warranties on several of my vehicles over the years, and they have always stepped up and paid a fair share of the repair as outlined in whatever warranty I've had with them. I highly recommend CARS if you have a used car you need coverage on.”

-Kevin R. via Google

“We bought this warranty plan for our Volkswagen Tiguan. We had to use the warranty for a water pump, rear main seal, and timing cover. The company said they would only cover the water pump. They wouldn't even cover any of the other repairs. The repair work cost $1,500. The company only paid $300. Do not purchase this warranty! They are a horrible company!”

-Walter K. via Google

Our Thoughts On The CARS Warranty

After looking at all of the facts, it’s clear that CARS Protection Plus is a reputable company and has a wide variety of plan options. However, the plans can be confusing, and the fact that you can’t get a quote for a CARS warranty online is a huge disadvantage.

Pros

Cons

Lots of coverage options

Can't purchase coverage on your own

Additional perks

Can't receive a quote without a retailer

Good BBB rating

Restrictive terms and exclusions

Many years in business

Plans are confusing

 
 

Top Extended Warranty Providers

If you aren’t sold on the CARS warranty, there are plenty of other reputable providers out there for vehicle service contracts. We recently researched the best extended warranty companies in the nation. In our investigation, we found several companies that provide great coverage and service for reasonable prices.

 

 

Best Extended Warranty Companies
Motor1 reviewed the top car warranty companies to find the best.
Below are our top 3 picks.
Best Overall Best Direct Provider Most Popular
CARCHEX Endurance CarShield
★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★☆
Get Quote Get Quote Get Quote
(877) 253-0058 (877) 374-1840 (800) 563-2761
     
 

CARCHEX: Best Overall

CARCHEX is our first choice for an extended car warranty for many reasons, including its great reputation. The company has an A+ BBB rating as well as numerous accolades and endorsements by industry leaders.

Best Overall

★★★★★

Get Quote

(877) 253-0058

No. 1 overall, beating the competition in company reputation, coverage options, and customer service.

 

Here are some highlights:

  • Endorsed by Kelley Blue Book, the Vehicle Protection Association, Edmunds.com, and CARFAX
  • Honored eight times by INC. 5000
  • Five-star rating on TopConsumerReviews.com for six consecutive years
  • 2017 Top Pick by Thoroughly Reviewed

With five customizable coverage plans, you can opt for comprehensive, bumper-to-bumper protection or a basic powertrain warranty – and you can get a quote for any plan in minutes without going through an outside retailer. Some other perks of CARCHEX include:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Rental car coverage
  • Your choice of repair facility
  • Direct payments to the repair facility
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Responsive customer service team