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CARS Protection Plus Extended Car Warranty Review

CARS Protection Plus has been in business for over 20 years. Read our guide to learn how a CARS warranty works and what coverage options are available.

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12/19/2023 01:53 PM
Reputation: 4.5/5.0
Coverage: 5.0/5.0
Price: 4.5/5.0
Customer Experience: 4.5/5.0
idée Endurance is our first choice for extended warranties
  • Best Plan Offerings
  • Mileage Covered: 200,000 miles on the odometer
  • Free Cancellation: Full refund within 30 days
  • Plan Options: 6 different plans to choose from
  • Longest Plan Term: Up to 8 years
  • Discounts: $300 same-day signup discount, $250 shopping voucher, and others
Plan coverage includes Endurance Elite perks™
Exclusionary plan One-year membership for free
Powertrain plan Tire repair and replacement
Maintenance coverage with Endurance Advantage Key fob replacement
Roadside assistance Total loss protection
Towing Collision discount
Rental car $250 rewards voucher
Trip interruption coverage Endurance Protect app

Key Takeaways:

  • To get a quote for a CARS warranty, you’ll need to contact an authorized dealer.
  • CARS offers peace of mind with 11 warranty options to choose from.
  • Navigating the company’s website can be difficult.

Pros And Cons

Pros 11 different coverage options Fairly customizable warranty protection High mileage limits
Cons Website is hard to navigate Doesn’t sell directly to the public No online quote tool

Our Take


The Bottom Line

Because CARS does not sell directly to the public and has a large number of interrelated warranty options, CARS may not be the best choice when looking for an affordable aftermarket warranty.

Though CARS Protection Plus has been in business for over 20 years, you may not be familiar with the warranty provider. This could be because you can only get a CARS warranty through an authorized dealer.

In this review, we’ll go through all of the CARS Protection Plus warranty options, customer reviews and its general claims process. We’ll also help you compare CARS Protection Plus with our recommendations for the best extended car warranty options.

About CARS Protection Plus

Based in Monroeville, Pa., CARS Protection Plus has been in operation since 1998. The company is licensed and insured in all 50 states. According to the company’s website, CARS has partnerships with over 17,000 dealerships across the country.

The company has 11 different coverage options to choose from, including two different bumper-to-bumper warranties and many customizable add-ons. CARS is a good choice if you need an extended warranty for a car over 100,000 miles. In fact, the provider offers coverage for vehicles with up to 200,000 miles.

Cost Of A CARS Protection Plus Extended Warranty

The only way to get an idea of what a CARS Protection Plus extended warranty costs is to contact an authorized dealership for a free quote. CARS does not sell directly to the public. Because the Flex Protect plans only cover $75 an hour of labor and one hour of diagnostic or tear-down costs at a repair shop, they’re likely more expensive than the seven plans not part of the Flex Protect series.

Factors That Affect Car Warranty Costs

While you’ll have to contact a dealership to get a quote for a CARS contract, here are some things that can help give you an idea of whether a CARS warranty will be expensive. These are the general factors that go into most extended warranty prices:

  • Vehicle age: Coverage for a used vehicle is generally more expensive than for a new car. Older cars tend to suffer mechanical breakdowns more often than new vehicles.
  • Vehicle mileage: Higher-mileage vehicles tend to need repairs more often than cars with fewer miles.
  • Vehicle make and model: Luxury vehicles and sports cars cost more to buy and often require more expensive parts or repairs than standard vehicles. It typically costs more to cover them under warranty.
  • Deductible: The lower the deductible you choose, the higher your warranty cost will be overall.
  • Coverage level: Higher tiers of coverage will be costlier than more basic protection plans. The ones that are similar to factory warranties are often the most expensive.
Icons showing what factors affect extended warranty cost.

CARS Protection Plus Extended Car Warranty Coverage

CARS Protection Plus offers 11 different vehicle warranty plans, which is significantly more than what most other warranty providers offer. However, the company does not list these vehicle service contracts in any discernible order on the website, making it hard to differentiate between them. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s covered by seven CARS protection plans:

CARS Protection PlanParts CoveredCovers Labor Up To
Ultimate ValueThis is the highest tier of coverage from CARS Protection Plus. It’s most similar to a car manufacturer’s warranty, covering almost all your vehicle’s components.$100 per hour
ONYX PlusThis plan is similar to the Ultimate Value plan but is designed specifically for diesel trucks and vans.$70 per hour
Value PlusThe Value Plus plan offers coverage similar to the Ultimate Value plan, but diagnostic and tear-down charges are not covered.$70 per hour
IndependenceThe Independence plan offers comprehensive coverage but doesn’t come with roadside assistance benefits.$70 per hour
Value LimitedThis plan offers roughly the same coverage as the Independence plan but excludes air conditioning.$60 per hour
Power Train LimitedThis is basic powertrain coverage that has optional add-ons, including the air conditioning system. This has a $200 deductible and doesn’t cover tear-down or diagnostic charges.$60 per hour
Power TrainThis basic powertrain warranty covers the most important parts of your vehicle, like the engine, transmission, and drive axle. Power Train includes up to $50 in towing benefits.$60 per hour

Common Exclusions

Each plan specifies what it does and doesn’t cover, but there are some common exclusions to almost every plan. These include:

  • Gaskets and seals (unless as part of a covered repair)
  • Brake pads, rotors, and drums
  • Catalytic converters
  • Windshields and other auto glass
  • Safety restraint systems
  • Wear-and-tear items like wiper blades and spark plugs

Routine maintenance services like oil changes are also not covered. For a complete list of what your particular vehicle protection plan excludes, be sure to read the fine print.

Flex Protect Plans

There are four Flex Protect plans in addition to the company’s other seven tiers of coverage. The main difference between the Flex Protect program and CARS Protection Plus’ other coverage options is that Flex Protect plans all cover up to $75 an hour in labor costs. For an additional charge (named the Market Labor Rate option), Flex Protect plan levels 2, 3, and 4 can cover labor costs up to $160 an hour.

Flex Protect Contract LevelParts Covered
Level 4Level 4 is most like a new car warranty. It protects most of your vehicle’s components.
Level 3Level 3 includes most of the parts covered by Level 4, but excludes a number of electrical components.
Level 2Level 2 is most similar to a powertrain-plus coverage plan, which covers the essential components covered by most powertrain warranties. Level 2 adds on steering, electrical, cooling, and brake components.
Level 1Level 1 is most similar to a basic powertrain warranty, covering the engine, transmission, and drive axle.

Added Perks

Most CARS Protection Plus warranties come with added benefits like towing and rental car reimbursement. Some – but not all – come with 24-hr roadside assistance, which includes these services:

  • Jump-starts
  • Battery assistance
  • Flat tire changes
  • Fuel, oil, and water deliveries
  • Lockout assistance

The amount limit for all CARS benefits changes based on the coverage plan you select. For instance, the Ultimate Value plan’s rental benefits cover $25 a day with a maximum of $300. The Flex Protect Level 1 plan also has rental benefits, but it covers $35 a day with a maximum of $250.

To know exactly what perks you’ll get with each warranty plan, you’ll need to pay very close attention to the fine print.

How CARS Protection Plus Extended Warranties Work

CARS Protection Plus outlines exactly how to file a claim on its website. To begin filing a claim, you’ll need to call the company at 1-888-335-6838. Here’s the general step-by-step process:

  1. You must take the vehicle to an approved repair facility.
  2. The mechanic must call CARS to open a claim before any car repairs can begin.
  3. CARS will provide the repair shop with an authorization number before any work can begin.
  4. You’ll sign a copy of the repair invoice and either fax or mail it to CARS, at which point the company will reimburse you.

The invoice that you send to CARS must include the following information to be accepted:

  • Authorization number issued by CARS
  • Warranty on all replaced parts
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicle’s current mileage
  • Vehicle owner’s contact information
  • Owner’s signature

CARS Protection Plus Reviews

Though CARS Protection Plus is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating from the organization, its customer reviews tell a different story. Consumers on the BBB’s website give CARS a 2.1-star rating out of a possible 5.0, and reviews on Trustpilot give the company 1.1 stars out of 5.0. Google reviews paint a more positive picture, with CARS receiving an average of 3.2 stars out of 5.0.

Positive CARS Warranty Reviews

The few positive reviews of CARS Protection Plus highlight prompt service and clear communication:

“Smooth and easy communication from the shop and [CARS Protection Plus]. Was able to get approved for the work within a couple of hours that my shop diagnosed the issue. CPP covered the broken left strut. … Glad I purchased the Flex Protect Level 2.”

– Sai T., via Google

“[The reps were] professional and responsive to my car problems. I bought a used car and could not have [had] a better warranty. …I was so pleased that all repairs were [covered] promptly. … [They] even gave me a rental for free.”

– Ken R., via Trustpilot

Negative CARS Warranty Reviews

Customers leaving negative reviews cited a lack of transparency and confusing cancellation processes:

“I [wanted] to cancel [the extended warranty on my 2013 Equinox. [After] 3 days, [I] get a human on the phone … and they send an email for me to fill out. …I send this to them with an explanation. I get another email. … I try again … more phone calls.”

– Karen C., via BBB

“This company has a complete lack of transparency in the refund process. I sold my car and canceled the warranty … When I called to confirm the amount of the refund, they claimed they ‘couldn’t disclose the amount’ … They said it would be processed through the car dealer and that I would need to reach out to them in two weeks to find out what my refund would be.” 

– Adam F., via BBB

Bottom Line On CARS Protection Plus: 3.7 Stars

While it’s not one of the worst extended auto warranty companies out there, CARS Protection Plus’ lack of transparency leaves something to be desired. It’s hard to figure out what plan may be best, as the website isn’t well organized. The site doesn’t have a quote tool, so you’ll have to take time out of your schedule to find and contact an authorized dealer.

Review CategoryRatings Score
Customer Experience3.0
Overall Rating3.7

Top Recommendations For Extended Car Warranties

We recommend comparing quotes from several different warranty providers to find what best suits your needs and budget. CarShield and Endurance are good places to start your search.

CarShield: High Mileage Limits

Thanks to its flexible payment plans and low rates, CarShield has become the most popular extended warranty company in the nation. As one of the few warranty providers that offers month-to-month contracts, we named CarShield the provider with the Best Monthly Payments. In addition to five levels of coverage for cars, CarShield offers protection for specialized vehicles through its Motorcycle and ATV warranty plan.

Read more: CarShield reviews

Endurance: Best Plan Offerings

Endurance offers six warranty plans that range from bumper-to-bumper coverage to basic powertrain protection. With each coverage plan, Endurance adds a free year of Elite Benefits. The perks included with an Elite Benefits membership include total loss protection, key fob replacement, and tire repair or replacement. Because of its wide variety of warranty products, we gave Endurance the title of Best Coverage.

Read more: Endurance Warranty reviews

CARS Warranty: FAQ

Does CARS Protection Plus cover the catalytic converter?

No, CARS Protection Plus does not offer any warranties that cover the catalytic converter.

What is the warranty on cars?

Car warranties help pay for repair services when cars suffer from mechanical breakdowns or malfunctions. Warranty providers typically offer different levels of coverage, from bumper to bumper – which takes care of nearly all car components – to powertrain, which often just covers the engine, transmission, and drive axle.

How many years is a car warranty?

Car warranties can last from a few months to over a decade, but it depends on the coverage level and which company is offering the warranty. For example, Hyundai offers a powertrain warranty that lasts for 10 years/100,000 miles. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties last from three to five years – typically more if they come from an independent warranty provider.

Are car warranties worth it?

Car warranties may be worth the money if you don’t want the stress of figuring out how to pay for repairs. It may be in your best interest to pay a monthly fee for an extended warranty to protect your peace of mind. If you have a newer car with potentially-expensive repairs, you may want to look into a car warranty.

What is the best car warranty company?

Based on our research, we believe Endurance is the best car warranty company. Endurance is a direct provider, so it administers all of the warranties it sells and will pay repair shops directly. We awarded the company Best Coverage thanks to its six tiers of protection and numerous added benefits.

How We Rate Warranty Providers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of extended auto warranty providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a warranty company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Reputation: It’s important that an extended car warranty company is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Coverage: Our team of experts looks at the number of extended warranty plans available, as well as term limits, exclusions, and added benefits like roadside assistance. Ratings also take into account the availability of maintenance coverage.
  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact vehicle service contract pricing. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and plans and consider available deductibles.
  • Transparency: Our team evaluates the availability and transparency of each company’s contracts, as well as whether each provider offers a money-back guarantee.
  • Customer Experience: We listen to real customer sales calls and comb through reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Warranty companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the availability of mobile apps and chat features.

*Data accurate at time of publication.