If you own a MacBook Pro with an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT GPU and an expired warranty, you may be unaware that since late 2008 Apple has offered a free out-of-warranty service program for the faulty graphics chipset. Apple's replacement program for the 8600M GT was initially valid for three years beyond your purchase date, whether you bought AppleCare for your Mac or not, but in 2010 the program was extended to four years from your purchase date. According to Apple, "If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within four years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty."
My Early 2008 MacBook Pro's AppleCare expired last week, and many early adopters of the first MacBook Pro with a multi-touch trackpad will be in the same boat. The good news is that even though your AppleCare coverage may be expired, your GPU is still covered for another year.