I bought a 2004 Toyota Prius almost a year ago now, sat on the waiting list for months and months, and finally got a ride into John Elway Toyota of Denver, Colorado to complete the paperwork and pick up my new vehicle.
The price wasn’t negotiable, so the transaction should have been easy and straightforward, and it was. Until we got to the extended warranty…
The thing is, with a major redesign for the 2004 model and an overall hybrid design that hasn’t yet been in the field for five years, I was a bit anxious about the long-term reliability of the entire (quite complex) electrical system on the Prius, so I really did want an extended warranty.
Turns out that John Elway Toyota is part of AutoNation, so their spiel is that everything’s already at the bottom price they can go, and that it’s all a good deal because, well, they sell lots of cars and you should trust them. Yeah. Trust a car dealership.
The seven year, 75,000 mile, zero deductible extended warranty was what I was interested in, and they showed me an invoice for about $2000 for this addition, but could discount it to $1750.
Okay, I say, let’s do it. We wrote up the paperwork, I signed it, and drove home in my new Prius, the most wonderful car I’ve ever owned.
That night I got curious and poked around on the net, to see how much extended warranties should cost. What I found out surprised the heck out of me: you can buy an extended warranty from any authorized Toyota dealership in the United States, at any time before the standard warranty expires.
Further research produced a bunch of different salespeople at Toyota dealerships around the United States, folk who would be happy to sell an extended warranty at a significant discount.
On a whim, I called Troy Dietrich at Toyota of Greenfield (Massachusetts) and asked him about how much his dealership would charge me for an extended warranty on a 2004 Toyota Prius. His quoted price: $750.
Wow! I was floored, and the next morning I called John Elway Toyota and said I’d changed my mind about the extended warranty and needed to have them rewrite all the paperwork. They grumbled, but they did, and that afternoon I went back to the dealership and signed the new paperwork, sans warranty.
Finally, a few months later (since there was no rush), I called up Troy and this time he said that it’d cost me $690.00 for the 7/75/0 warranty on my Prius. I said “you got a deal!” and faxed him a signed mileage statement, a copy of my vehicle registration (including the all-important vehicle identification number, the VIN), and my contact information.
Three weeks later, I received my extended warranty from Toyota corporate and was darn pleased with myself for saving $1060 on my warranty.
If you’re in the same situation with a newly-purchased car, I encourage you to call a few out-of-state dealers to see if they’ll sell you a factory extended warranty for less than your dealer. If you have a Toyota, you’re also welcome to call Troy Dietrich at (413) 772-0231. Tell him “Dave Taylor sent me”. 🙂