Aftermarket warranty question

rbd, Feb 5, 9:56am
Am looking at buying a 2008 Jap import european car with highly questionable history (as in none). 69000kms. Whether I buy will all come down to price, I'll only buy if I can get it well under market value (it's an auction).

Cambelt is due so my first step would be new cambelt and *all* fluids per OEM spec.

Anyway I'm considering an Autosure warranty for piece of mind as gearbox issues can be costly. Can these be bought from any dealer or must you buy from the dealer you bought the car off?

budgel, Feb 5, 10:35am
According to the Autosure website their coverage is only available through their approved dealers.

If you google 'automotive breakdown insurance' there are other companies offering policies, including the AA.

thejazzpianoma, Feb 5, 10:36am
You can buy warranty's from a few places, however be very aware that by the time you go through all the exclusions, cost of the warranty, excess, maximum claim limit etc. You may not actually be covered for much or save much.

Not saying don't buy one, just read the fine print very carefully.

Why not tell us more about the car?
There are a lot of silly generalisations about "European Cars" and their transmissions. Some, like many Volvo's which run a Toyota subsidiary made auto are indeed very prone to premature failure. Others like VW's 6 speed wet clutch DSG are fantastically robust and reliable.

There are also some things to know regarding making them last. For example the Volvo/Toyota transmission MUST run a very specific fluid which most mechanics probably won't stock and they likely won't appreciate the importance.

If it's by chance a Peugeot/Citroen with the 4 stage transmission, it's a horrible unit and not only doesn't last but is a mongrel thing to live with as well. So that's best avoided all together IMO.

andy61, Feb 5, 3:59pm
Since when was the VW DSG gear box fantastically robust and reliable? Dream on.Have you been skipping your meds again Jazz?

rbd, Feb 5, 8:14pm
I'm very aware of warranty limitations. I was offered a Protecta one with my last car (another 8 year old euro) and when you read into it it didn't cover anything really unless you had a major engine/gearbox failure. Even then it only covered up to $2500 from memory (and take excess off that!). It also required a lot more servicing than is required for the make and had a huge list of exclusions (any electrical parts!). As it turns out I wouldn't have been able to claim a dime so I'm glad I didn't.

The car I'm considering has a selespeed gearbox. Need I say more.

From what I can read the Autosure one covers a lot more (up to $5000), albeit with a $350 excess.

I'm thinking of maybe a 12 month policy, doing a FULL service of ALL fluids, cambelt/pump and calibrate the selespeed trans in one hit. This would give time to gain confidence that the car will do the distance after that.

kazbanz, Feb 5, 8:57pm
RBD-yes the Autosure MBI is sold by the dealer who sold you the car .
The very reason you want one is the reason that is the case.
I genuinely feel you are going about this all wrong.
Regardless of if you plan on paying over,on or under market price for the car you should still get a Pre purchase inspection. And yes I realise its an auction -But whats a couple of hundred dollars VS the thousands it may cost you if the vehicle has pre existing faults.
The AA MBI (warrantly) is almost identical to the Autosure one except they REQUIRE you to have a PP inspection.
Like the Autosure mbi they don't cover pre existing faults.
With out the exact model I can't tell you if you will get cover or not. -some vehicles are excluded

franc123, Feb 5, 9:14pm
A Sillyspeed ain't going to "do the distance" no matter what you do to it, they belong in a scrap bin. The best advice I could give you is run as fast as you can away from it. Your post outlines the reasons why mechanical breakdown insurance (which is what it actually is) is of limited help, especially on a vehicle with dodgy transmission technology that's well known for being a financial disaster. It would not surprise me in the slightest if something like that was specifically excluded in the policy or they didn't cover that car at all unless a much loaded premium was involved, insurance co's being what they are.

msigg, Feb 5, 10:11pm
Yes insurance companies want to make money, not give it away, hence the premiums you pay over 2-3 years on average, cover most breakdowns that are not excluded as a general rule, Its all a gamble with that type of car you are buying, you may as well keep the money in your pocket for a future event, If you get the car cheap then you have some up your sleeve anyway, just get it and go with it, life's too short to worry about a few thousand dollars anyway, that's nothing. Depreciation is the biggest factor anyway. If you like it buy it, simple.

rbd, Feb 5, 10:40pm
Hah, I knew any mention of an Alfa would have the doomsayers out in force providing advice on what to buy. Funny, I don't actually remember asking for advice on what model to buy?!

The reason I asked the question was the last time I was offered a warranty I though it was around $750, seems it has jumped to $1100. The economics vs risk benefit of a $1100 warranty with $350 excess are highly questionable.

rbd, Feb 5, 10:43pm
Not the smartest thing to actually put in an auction listing. It is to be considered marketing speak (right up there with "best available").

martin11, Feb 5, 10:49pm
rbd wrote:
Am looking at buying a 2008 Jap import european car with highly questionable history (as in none). 69000kms. Whether I buy will all come down to price, I'll only buy if I can get it well under market value (it's an auction).

Cambelt is due so my first step would be new cambelt and *all* fluids per OEM spec.

Some european cars with autos use a very special synthetic oil and you do not need to change this ,which will cost great amount if you use the correct fluid and do a total fluid change . Also be wary of what the cars sales full service is . I had my european checked and the service must have been engine oils and filter only . nothing else ! No joy from the car dealer .
Check fuel filter and cabin filter see if they have been changed ? Car Sale generally ignore them .

thejazzpianoma, Feb 5, 10:53pm
A later Selespeed shouldn't be as bad as some of the early ones, and looked after correctly they do tend to last fairly well. The only real drawback is it sounds like you are probably talking about the likes of the last of the 147's as opposed to the newer Alfa's which have the super reliable and much nicer "new" selespeed/dualogic. You should still have the benefit of some software updates and other tweaks to the original system though.

With regard to the warranty, I would be checking that you are free to use a third party Fiat/Alfa specialist of your choice. When it comes to these transmissions it's pretty pointless and potentially very expensive taking them anywhere else. The silly thing is, they are actually very simple and in my opinion very nice to work on (most problems are dealt with inexpensively with the transmission in place). The trouble is, you need someone suitably equipped and experienced with them as they are a different design to what's common here in NZ. Same goes for getting your servicing done. in particular with the belts on those, you don't want to be paying a whole lot extra or winding up with a sub standard job (something that's all too common when general garages attempt these jobs without the right tools).

If you don't mind me deviating a bit from the topic, I may have a few suggestions regarding the best way to go about having the belts etc replaced (assuming twin spark etc) there are a few tricks and traps to avoid for reliability which I am happy to share from my own experience if you are interested.

There are also a few items that won't be covered by the warranty which I would suggest you check before purchase.

If you have had a few Alfa's of the vintage you may be well informed already so I won't waste my breath and your time unnecessarily.

Best of luck with it all.

kazbanz, Feb 5, 10:55pm
rbd-a one year policy for a jappa is about $700 at most places.
But the risk level for that specific make/model is fairly high so you pay more.
Incidently I WOULDN'T take a one year policy.
The second year is only an extra couple of hundred dollars and third year is the same. so if one year is 1100 then its $1500 for three years.
That makes it $500 a year.
By the way RRP is $995 including gst.
Whats it going to cost to rebuild that gearbox if worst case scenario does happen? --THAT is the point of the warranty same as any other kind of insurance

thejazzpianoma, Feb 5, 11:03pm
That's great to have some figures to work with. So if your primary concern is really just the transmission, you have to consider that's nearly $2K (with excess) plus you may have to pay a considerable premium on the cambelt service if you are limited to where you can go. This can be anything up to an extra $1000 from what I have seen.

Again, not saying don't get one, the risk is real. Just consider very carefully how much work you can do on a Selespeed for 2K. In my opinion quite a lot, you can easily replace a clutch with change to spare, and a clutch would be no doubt be a wear item that the warranty wouldn't cover.

Actuators, diagnosis and such are not necessarily very expensive if you go about it right.

Without the warranty you also have the potential saving of being able to do some servicing yourself. Clutch adjustments, oil changes etc are easy and there is real money to be saved. An $80 investment in multiecuscan will give you dealer grade diagnostics in your own garage.

Food for thought, and sorry this is all off topic. I just have a reasonable amount of experience with these vehicles (I own several Alfa's and do all work including the major stuff myself) and am wary there is a somewhat hidden bigger picture if what you are really worried about is risk/future cost.

BTW, if you are interested in some tips/tricks please post exact model and engine. Happy motoring!

rbd, Feb 6, 12:21am
In my view "fully serviced prior to sale" when buying a sub $10000 car actually means "we've used the cheapest oil and filter possible with no thought as to what should be used". Whenever I buy a used car I always do a full replacement of all fluids/filters and usually brake pads too.

kazbanz, Feb 6, 12:36am
I TOTALLY agree with your somewhat cynical view EXCEPT when theres a very clear paper trail to follow.
Now a little "secret" for you--not such a secret really.
The Japs put their service stickers inside the drivers door "hole" and also under the bonnet/radiator support top.
You will actually get a lot of information from those stickers.
At the least if they are there you'll have some idea if gearbox has maybe been serviced etc.
You don't have to be able to read jap to be able to tell what the stiickers are and what brand/grade of fluid/oil gas been used.

rbd, Feb 6, 2:52am
Servicing wise I'd only go to a marque specialist such as Italianauto in Otahuhu or do it myself. Italianauto are not cheap but I'd trust them to do it right. I'd probably just source all parts from EB Spares or similar. I've had older Alfa's so am familiar with some of the 'issues' with them. Even know how to create a fast smooth gearchange in a 75 ;-)

I wouldn't take anything Euro near a 'normal' mechanic. Last job I paid someone to do (splice repair of broken wiring by auto electrician) failed within a day due to incompetent soldering. Should've just done it myself in the first place. Happy to pay to have stuff done once and right.

rbd, Feb 6, 2:59am
I would do exactly that. Have done for all my cars.

I always suspect that much of the selespeed's bad reputation has been caused by the clutch adjustment not being regularly performed and lack of proper servicing (fluids etc).

Kinda like BMW's have a bad reputation of gearbox failure mainly because BMW insists the gearboxes are sealed for life when the gearbox manufacturer says change the oil every 100,000 kms.

rbd, Feb 6, 3:08am
Of course. I still like to do things like an oil change anyway, especially given the time an import can sit between regular Japanese use and final sale here. Cheaper insurance than a warranty!

My cynical view is somewhat a result of looking at some rubbish cars in the $7-$11k range lately (2002-2010 Civics to be exact). Sorry dealers, if you want to sell a car don't have it on the lot stinking of cig's with burn holes in the seat. Also don't describe a car as not accident damaged when the bog and poor finishing on the rear quarter is clearly visible! When the customer comes to look at a car don't just pass the stains on the seats (yuk) off by stating that you'll clean it before sale. Put some effort in now! /rant

kazbanz, Feb 6, 4:56am
You have just hit my problem bang on the head dude.
I bet that in the pictures those smelly bog filled cars looked really attractive.
I bet they were in the cheaper therefore more attractive end of the price range.
Its really hard to compete with those guys.
because as sure as eggs are eggs during negotiation the potential customer will show you the "mint" car at another dealership much cheaper--Ie one of these cars

thejazzpianoma, Jul 4, 3:49pm
Sounds like you are well on to it. Just thought I would check as most who are asking on here are pretty "green".

Just some quick tips with the newer Alfa's. Your specialist should know but do make sure they replace the balance belt and tensioner as well as the timing belt. If the balance belt breaks it can take the timing belt out with it so it's pretty important and often overlooked.

Listen to it carefully, if you can't hear the variator ticking you can save some money by just having a variator kit (like $15) fitted at timing belt time. Make sure you do, do this as the job has to be done from scratch when the variator goes, as it often does. If you can already hear the variator then replace it.

Listen for any "squeaks" going over bumps from the front suspension. The wishbone bushes don't last long and there is a bit of cost that needs to be allowed for with replacement. They start really chewing the front inner tyres if left so it's not something you can "put up with". Don't replace with non genuine parts when it comes to these. The best value is straight from TRW as they make the genuine item.

It certainly won't hurt to change the selespeed fluid and the transmission oil (I tend to). But unlike a regular transmission this isn't usually so critical as it's just a manual box (exactly the same one as in the manual car) with actuators for the clutch and gearchange. I agree though, regular clutch adjustments are a real help. Very easy job for you to do.

One last tip with the cambelt change while I think of it. I would suggest you insist on a genuine water pump. I have just had trouble with one of the very popuar after market ones with the impellar spinning on the shaft. Hopefully a one off but there is very little cost difference going genuine.

Best of luck with it, if it's priced right it could be a lot of fun. Don't forget to check the oil regularly as later twinsparks can use a bit, if you find the consumption is more than you want, switch to the oil recommended for the JTS version. It's absolutely fine for use in the twinspark and will reduce consumption considerably.

Happy motoring!

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