Three years ago today, I strolled into my local CarMax dealership and purchased a used Range Rover with a six-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Also three years ago today, I decided to quit my cushy, secure desk job with excellent benefits in order to become a freelance writer. You can’t win ‘em all.
Fortunately, my used Range Rover is the gift that keeps on giving. I say this because my warranty – which cost me $3,899 three years ago – has now paid out more than $7,500 in claims, including nearly $3,000 in this year alone. This is because my Range Rover is approximately as trustworthy as a portfolio statement from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.
You probably know all about my CarMax Range Rover already, because I’ve written about it quite a bit here on Jalopnik. It’s my claim to fame; my pièce de résistance; my version of Hans Geiger’s famous Geiger counter, of Samuel Morse’s renowned Morse code, of Roger Staple Gun’s legendary staple gun. The CarMax Range Rover is my Mona Lisa.
And today, Mona Lisa is grinning once again, because she just got CarMax to pay out another $514.85 in warranty claims. You may remember that this was coming if you read my last update, because I remarked at the end that I already had another appointment with the dealer to address three more issues, even though I had gotten the car back only a few weeks earlier. Going forward, I should probably just have a standing monthly appointment with the Land Rover dealer, and they should keep a 2-door Evoque gassed up and ready for me to use.
So here’s what happened. I went back to the dealer in order to address three problems: my check engine light was on, my parking brake wasn’t functioning, and my alarm was going off randomly while the car was parked. These are three issues that a Honda Accord owner would simply never face, under any circumstances, even if their Accord was parked in the Lower Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina and a family of jellyfish had been living in the glovebox.
So I walked in and I was greeted by the dealership’s dog, which is this Australian shepherd who is very friendly and enjoys playing tug-of-war fairly intensely next to sport-utility vehicles worth more than entire Midwestern counties. This is the best part about visiting the dealership. Well, this, and the free repairs.
The dealership called a few hours later and listed the problems, which were:
The faulty alarm was traced to a hood sensor. That’s right, folks: my Range Rover’s alarm system doesn’t only cover my doors, my windows, and my tailgate. It also covers my hood. I presume this is so other Land Rover owners don’t break in under the cover of darkness in order to steal parts they need. CarMax covered this repair.
The check engine light signaled to a broken thermostat. When it comes to broken thermostats, I do not ask questions. This is because I do not understand what a thermostat does. CarMax covered this repair, too.
Finally, the faulty parking brake was not covered under my warranty. When parts are not covered by my warranty, I do what normal people do when they own aging Land Rovers: I decline the repair and hope the problem fixes itself.
The total cost for all of these repairs came to $564.85, of which I paid only $50 (my warranty deductible). The remaining $514.85 was covered by the good people at CarMax, whose stock price has fallen nearly 20 percent in the last six months. I am not outright saying that I am personally responsible for this, in the same way that O.J. Simpson didn’t outright say that he murdered those people when he released that book If I Did It, which contained a highly detailed account of how he murdered those people.
For those of you who have been eagerly tracking my warranty updates, here is the situation as it stands now: my warranty has officially paid out $7,577.16 in claims since I purchased the vehicle three years ago. In 2015 alone, my warranty has covered $2,877.49 in claims. And this isn’t even the most expensive year on record: the warranty paid for $3,028.71 in repairs throughout 2014.
The best part: I still have precisely three years and nearly 30,000 miles of warranty left. I hope the Land Rover dealership dog is ready for a few dozen rematches.