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Authored by Jesse Schmidt

I am an avid road trip enthusiast. I love the idea of going on a far-away drive on eye-catching scenic highways through lesser-known towns. However, I also know how a fun trip can immediately turn into a nightmare.

One of the most unforgettable road trips I’ve ever had was on a journey from Raleigh to Anaheim. It almost ended in disaster when my car broke down in the middle of nowhere. It was my extended auto warranty that came to my rescue (and obviously others too, if you check CARCHEX reviews)

The trip was 3,098 miles long and involved a drive time of about 37 hours down the old route 66. It was a couple of years ago in the middle of a hot summer. I was driving my trusty old 2017 Nissan Versa.

Here’s how my auto warranrty saved my road trip.

How My Auto Warranty Saved My Road Trip Along Route 66


Route 66 RF

We, meaning me, my wife, and two-year-old, left early on a Friday. Raleigh was sweltering hot that summer morning. The goal was to drive to the official ‘Begin’ signpost for Route 66 in Chicago, Illinois. It is located on East Adams Street.

After taking some pictures of the signpost, we hopped back onto the road and headed to St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, we couldn’t miss out on that famous gateway arch. We rode up the arch in a tiny elevator to get the full experience at the top. The view was definitely unforgettable.

We also made a stop at Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum. Here, we saw a variety of memorabilia, including the Route 66 Mural. We decided to retire for the night in one of the motels around the area.

At early dawn, we set out again. We were starving when we arrived in Oklahoma City in the afternoon. We had read rave reviews about the Pops 66 Soda Ranch.

It’s famous for serving an insane variety of sodas, burgers, and meatloaf. The 21-meter tall soda bottle on the front of the store ushers us in. We decided to spend about an hour there, enjoying bird watching and fishing at nearby Lake Hefner.

As we left Oklahoma City, I noticed something wrong with my car. It was drinking up gas like never before. But we still had around 150 miles to go, west across Yukon, Bridgeport, Weatherford, and Erick. So we soldiered on.

Route 66 then brought us across the Texas state line at Texola, close to Shamrock, before we headed to Amarillo for a night stop.

The Trip Takes a Horrible Turn

Woman car broken down calling phone RF

Just as we entered Amarillo and started enjoying the eye-catching architecture of the Historic District, our 2017 Nissan Versa started belching a cloud of smoke from underneath the hood and the tailpipe.

The color of the smoke was black and smelled like gasoline. My wife insisted I pull over, so I pulled over nearby an antique furniture store.

I checked all the warning lights to see if the engine was overheating. I also checked if the oil light and check engine light were on. I popped the hood and noticed dripping fluids forming underneath.

I decided to call my extended auto warranty provider to get some help on fixing the problem.

We Get Some Roadside Assistance

I was incredibly grateful that I had an extended warranty on my car. After talking to an agent from the Claims Department, the company dispatched the nearest tow truck to come to my rescue straightaway. In less than an hour, My Versa was towed to a repair facility for inspection.

My extended warranty saved me a great deal on repair costs as per the terms of the coverage. The smoke issue was traced back to a leaking fuel injector, which was fortunately covered by my powertrain coverage.

Plus, the repair costs were done directly between my warranty provider and the mechanic. So I didn’t have to spend a dime on the repairs because my warranty had it covered.

Because the repairs had to be done overnight, we also qualified for trip interruption coverage. Basically, trip interruption coverage takes care of your accommodation and food expenses while your car is in the shop. The extended warranty company paid for our hotel stay and meals while we waited for our car to be repaired.

Back on Track

Car roadtrip mountains RF

By early morning the next day, the licensed mechanic had finished the necessary repairs. We went to pick up the car and continued with our trip from Texas.

There was no sign of the black smoke and my car’s mileage was improving along the way. The mechanic had done a great job.

The stretch between Amarillo, Texas, and Albuquerque in New Mexico, is rather empty. This 280-mile open road features desert scenery and a beautiful mountain.

However, we had the chance to pass through Tucumcari, an iconic town in New Mexico. It is characterized by retro signage, deserted motels, and vintage diners. Tucumcari’s downtown hosts most of the kitschy motels and shops.

Final Stops Along Route 66

As we headed to Arizona, we saw plenty of trading posts as we drove further into the desert southwest. We took a stop at Hollbrook. This small town is full of Route 66 signs and is home to famous motels and vintage diners.

We visited the Petrified Forest National Park and took the chance to stretch our legs. The views of the desert landscape were absolutely gorgeous.

We spent the night at the famous Wigwam Village Motel. My daughter was delighted to see all the teepees lined up in the area.

The next day, my wife decided to make another stop at Bearizona in Williams. We chose to do a drive-through tour instead of a walking tour because of the heat. My daughter had a lot of fun looking at the black bears, deer, bison, and sheep. I’d recommend visiting Bearizona if you pass through Williams. The ticket prices were worth it.

After lunch, we set out for the final Route 66 stop at Santa Monica. My wife and daughter loved the view of the ocean, and we had some fun running up and down the beach at Santa Monica Pier. It was a great place to relax and unwind before the final leg of our journey.

After several hours on the road, we finished our journey in Los Angeles at Anaheim. We decided to indulge in a little shopping therapy at South Coast Plaza.

A Great Trip to Remember

Route 66 Arizona RF

That trip along Route 66 is one of our most cherished memories. I’m just happy that I got an extended warranty on my Versa. It was definitely worth the investment.

Without that warranty, I would have been forced to spend upwards of $250 to replace my car’s fuel injector. We might not have been able to explore attractions in Arizona and South California. It might have even ruined our trip.

Jesse is a Public Relations professional and road-tripping enthusiast based out of Cary, NC. He lives with his wife and two-year-old daughter in picturesque North Carolina. When he’s not working, he’s planning his next road trip. His dream road trip is to road trip across Europe and Asia.

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