July 2009 Issue
Extended Warranties: Worth it for Avionics?
The buy-in for extended warranties is far from chump change. But out-of-pocket repair costs are vicious and more common than youíd think.
Several of the major avionics manufacturers are offering extended warranty coverage for their high-end products. What may initially seem like a hard sell could ultimately save you a ton of dough. Itís no secret that modern avionics are far from cheap, but out-of-warranty repairs and associated troubleshooting can be shockingly expensive. Even a basic factory repair on a modern navcomm radio can top $1000. Many consumers are skeptical of buying into warranty coverage. The sad fact is that extended warranties for radios, like nearly any other product, are a crap shoot. But before you tell Josť, "no way," you need to consider the potential for savings plus the perceived value it might add to the aircraft if you try to sell it. To make the correct decision in buying warranty coverage, you need to understand the potential costs for both minor and major repairs. For example, the display replacement for a Bendix/King KX155A navcomm radio will usually cost upwards of $500, even for a field repair. A meter failure in a KI209 navigational indicator essentially reduces the unit to throw-away status (this indicator is worth $2000 in factory-new condition). Repairs to an Avidyne EX5000 MFD thatís out of warranty will yield a repair cost of $2250, and the turn-around time could be two weeks.
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