So here's what you need to do. If your car breaks down and a mechanic tells you it's a big, expensive, complicated repair, start asking questions before you allow the work to go forward. Ask whether it's understandable that this repair would come up at this point in your vehicle's life. If it's not typical of normal wear and tear, get on the Internet and start searching. Search the name of your make and model and the words "complaint," "lawsuit," "class action," "recall," "service bulletin" "service campaign" and "secret warranty."
You may find, as this motorist did, that there is a class action lawsuit over the flaw that your car is exhibiting. Or you may find that a recall has already commenced and you weren't alerted. This often happens if you are not the original owner.
There is also a gray area in between that you may come across. Sometimes when a manufacturer knows many of its cars are having the same problem, but isn't yet sure that it's a full-fledged epidemic, it will alert its dealers that it will pay for the repair if customers gripe about it. The slang for this practice is "secret warranty" because you often won't know about it unless you ask.
As you can imagine, the people in the auto industry don't call them "secret warranties." They say "goodwill adjustment," "warranty adjustment" and "after warranty assistance." They also refer to them as "extended warranties," because your car does not have to be in its initial factory warranty period to be covered –great news for you.
The reason I suggested you search the term "service bulletin" is that this is one way to find secret warranties. They are notices that are sent from manufacturers to dealers , and are also sometimes called "technical service bulletins" or "service campaigns." Here are three places to find them:
Auto website Edmunds.com has a listing, Click here
The Center for Auto Safety, a consumer rights group, also has a partial list here.
AllData, which provides education and software to mechanics, does too, but for a fee: Click here