New car warranties and services

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New vehicle (manufacturer's) warranties

When you buy a new vehicle a usual "term" of the contract is that the manufacturer will "guarantee" the vehicle - usually, for a limited period of time, provided the vehicle is used correctly.

This guarantee is known as a manufacturer's warranty or 'express warranty' because it is 'expressed' - usually in writing and is offered by or on behalf of the vehicle manufacturer.

A manufacturer's warranty sets out promises by the manufacturer to repair any defects in the product, in certain circumstances.

It is a voluntary warranty, which the manufacturer includes as part of the sales contract to make the vehicle more attractive.

If you find a defect in the vehicle during the warranty period, the warranty will normally give you the right to have it repaired free of charge.

The vehicle and all accessories fitted on behalf of the manufacturer at the time of sale are covered by the manufacturer's warranty. If some accessories are fitted by the dealer - these are called after-market accessories - they may not be covered by the vehicle manufacturer but will normally be covered by the accessory manufacturer or the dealer.

Superficial damage (such as paint and upholstery) and normal wear and tear are not covered by the warranty.

A manufacturer's warranty will not normally cover:

  • routine services
  • tune-ups
  • defects that arise from an accident or misuse of the vehicle.

The manufacturer's warranty for a new vehicle can vary but some manufacturers are now offering warranties for up to 5 years or 100,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

New vehicle warranties and servicing

Common questions asked by new car buyers include:

  • Do I have to take my new car back to the selling dealer or manufacturers approved service centre to get it serviced?
  • If I get my new car serviced by my local mechanic, will my new car warranty be voided?

Read on for the answers.

When you purchase a new vehicle, the manufacturer will always give you an express warranty which is a guarantee to fix the vehicle should something go wrong during the warranty period.

This warranty can be subject to the client complying with certain terms and conditions.

This often includes conditions about servicing by authorised outlets.

If you are buying a new car, it is important to understand any implications regarding servicing of the vehicle.

Some manufacturers require that you return to an authorised dealer to have the vehicle serviced during the warranty period.

If the requirements of the manufacturer’s warranty are not followed - these can usually found in the vehicle’s service book - then the warranty may be invalidated or benefits such as extended warranty periods (eg five years or 100,000km) may be lost.

These benefits should be weighed up against the savings that might be made by servicing the vehicle somewhere cheaper.

While consumers are still entitled to claim for a manufacturing defect, these can sometimes be difficult to prove. To prove that a fault was caused by a faulty part or installation of that part during manufacture, it may be necessary to show that the correct fluids or filters were used in servicing, or that the after sale adjustments were made at the correct time.

Information and advice is available on 1300 304 054.

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