Susan Salisbury / Cox Newspapers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Consumer Reports and other experts advise against purchasing extended service warranties for appliances or for such systems as air conditioning. Instead, they recommend you set money aside each month to cover repairs or replacement.

“Research has shown that the bill for any needed repair is often comparable with the typical cost of a warranty,” Consumer Reports reports in its July issue.

It's also important to maintain appliances and air conditioning properly to keep them running longer.

If you do sign a service agreement, make sure you understand what's covered and what isn't. For example, some service warranties exclude coverage for rust and corrosion. That means that if the appliance or air conditioning equipment has any rust, the service contract is void.

Before you sign

If you do sign a service warranty agreement, which is a contract, keep the following in mind:

• Before signing, read it carefully. Ask what guarantees there are if something goes wrong.

• Don't sign it if you don't agree with the terms. Once you sign a contract, you are responsible to do all the things you agreed to do in the contract.