Nov 2013

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I have come to realize that it is not just the fairer sex that is daunted by the terms and conditions of “mechanical warranties”…. I have had conversations with men that have looked at me in absolute confusion when trying to explain the various components and how they affect the mechanics of their vehicles, so what chance do us ladies have?

What is a Mechanical Warranty and what does it cover?

Simply put:  the component has to be a mechanical working component and it has to fail mechanically.  Sounds complicated?  Not really….
A machine is a tool that consists of one or more parts, and uses energy to meet a particular goal. Machines are usually powered by mechanical, chemical, thermal, or electrical means, and are often motorized. A simple machine is a device that simply transforms the direction or magnitude of a force, but a large number of more complex machines exist. Examples include vehicles, electronic systems, molecular machines, computers, television, and radio.


The word mechanical refers to the work that has been produced by machines or the machinery. It mostly relates to the machinery tools and the mechanical applications of science. Some of its synonyms are automatic and mechanic.

Mechanical failure

Some types of mechanical failure mechanisms are: excessive deflection, buckling, ductile fracture, brittle fracture, impact, creep, relaxation, thermal shock, wear, corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, and various types of fatigue. Each produces a different type of fracture surface, and other indicators near the fracture surface(s). The way the product is loaded, and the loading history are also important factors which determine the outcome. Of critical importance is design geometry because stress concentrations can magnify the applied load locally to very high levels, and from which cracks usually grow.

How is your warranty going to help you should you have a claim on your vehicle?

Warranties extensions have what is called a “parts basket” list of components.  This means that unlike your warranty which you receive on your brand new vehicle that will  cover the vehicle bumper to bumper for a specific period of time or mileage, the extension will only cover the listed components on the specific warranty you have chosen to take on your vehicle.  Depending on the age and mileage or your vehicle, you can get what is called “parts basket warranty” with unlimited benefit cover.  Sounds exciting?  The word unlimited is misleading.  Unlimited means simply that if a “listed component” should fail due to “mechanical failure” you will not be capped on the repair amount paid out by the insurer.  (Unless this exceeds the value of the vehicle).
Should your vehicle not qualify for “unlimited” cover you will be capped on the amount that the insurer will pay towards your claim? For example if you have R 30 000 cover on your engine and the claim is R 35 000, you will be liable for the R 5000.
When making a decision to buy a warranty you have to way up the risk.  Should you have R 30 000 engine failure, do you have these funds readily available to repair your vehicle?  Weighing that up against paying R 10 000 for a warranty, which would then cover that repair is the question you have to ask yourself. You are guarding yourself against “high end” failure which could leave a big dent in your pocket.  Money that could be better spent on education, holidays or other unforeseen circumstances that you have not accounted for.
A warranty is a grudge purchase, much like our car insurance and household insurance.  We do not insure our vehicle against accident damage as we want to have an accident or our contents as we want to have our goods stolen.  We do it as we realize that should we have an accident or should our contents be stolen, we would rather an insurer carry that risk and pay out our claim then self-insure.
Vehicles by their very nature are meant to be driven.  Mechanical components by their very nature are at some point or another going to fail.
So…..For peace of mind, pay the premium up front and let someone else carry the risk.