Unfortunately, there are times when a car doesn’t perform the way it’s supposed to. It might get damaged or there might be a defect that you weren’t aware of. The good news is car owners can rely on their car warranty to help them through it. 

Here’s everything you need to know about car warranties in Australia: 

What is a car warranty? 

A car warranty is a promise provided by the vehicle manufacturer (or seller) detailing what they will do if there are any issues with the vehicle that may occur during a specific period. This includes rectifying design or mechanical issues, providing parts, labour, and even towing if it’s been specified in the car warranty. 

The usual consumer rights and guarantees still apply when you have a car warranty. Take note, car warranties are different from car insurance. Issues covered by car insurance like damage to the vehicle may not be covered by the car warranty.  

What is covered by a car warranty? 

It depends on the kind of car and car warranty you have. Each manufacturer and car dealership provides their own car warranties with different sets of policies, conditions, and terms.  

Typically, you can expect a car warranty to cover: 

  • The repair defects within a specific time period 
  • Issues relating to safety, reliability, and roadworthiness (for both the car and its accessories) 
  • For new cars, manufacturers usually provide a warranty of five to seven years or travelled 100,000 km 
  • For used cars, a dealer will often provide a warranty that lasts for three-month or travelled 5,000 km 

Always check with the car manufacturer, seller, or car dealership about the terms of your car warranty. It’s important to know everything beforehand so you can be rest assured while you’re on the road. 

What is not covered by a car warranty? 

Cosmetic damage, wear and tear, routine services, and maintenance costs are usually not covered by a car warranty. Damages from accidents, improper modifications, or general misuse of the vehicle are not covered by the warranty, as well. 

Another item that may not be covered by your car warranty is your car battery. If you’re buying a used car from the dealer, it is unlikely to be covered. Review your car’s warranty document to ensure if this is included or not.  

What are the different types of car warranties? 

Car warranties in Australia are classified into the following: 

Manufacturer warranty 

All new cars are covered by a manufacturer warranty. These warranties generally last five to seven years or until your car has reached 100,000 km whichever comes first. Some manufacturers have done away with the kilometre limit and provide an unlimited kilometre warranty. If you sell your car while it’s still in the warranty period, the warranty is transferrable to the new owner. 

Manufacturer warranties are usually bumper-to-bumper warranties meaning it covers most of the vehicle’s system and parts. These warranties are comprehensive and provides coverage faults due to manufacturer error. 

Statutory warranty 

If you buy a used car from a dealership, you may be entitled to a statutory warranty. A statutory warranty is not applicable to private sale cars.  

A used car must fit the following criteria for it to be covered: 

  • A passenger car 
  • Has either travelled less than 160,000 km or less than 10 years old 
  • Does not exceed the luxury car tax price threshold 

The warranties given out by car dealerships for used vehicles are typically valid for three months or 5,000 km from the date of purchase. It provides standard coverage relating to the car’s safety, reliability, and roadworthiness.  

In some states or territories, the criteria for eligibility and the warranty period may change. For instance, cars that are over 160,000 km and older than 10 years may still be eligible for a statutory warranty albeit a shorter one. Always check the rules of your local government to be sure.  

Extended warranty 

This is applicable for both new and used cars. Third-party finance companies, car dealerships, manufacturers, or importers sell extended warranties that cover a myriad of things depending on what drivers need. You can purchase an extended warranty after your manufacturer or statutory warranty runs out. 

If you purchase from a car dealership, your extended warranty may add time or kilometres to your initial warranty period. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to extend your manufacturer warranty if you meet certain conditions as per the manufacturer’s advice. 

The extended warranty may not provide the same coverage as your original warranty. It may also have certain conditions and limitations specifically for the extended warranty. Read the contract carefully to know what you can and can’t claim on your warranty. 

Similar to manufacturer and statutory warranties, the extended warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic damages, accidents, weather damage, and the like.  

What voids a new car warranty in Australia? 

In some cases, your car warranty can be void even if the damages meet the warranty’s terms and policies. Your manufacturer or the warranty provider may void your warranty if you don’t follow or abide by the contract terms. If that happens, you won’t be able to use your warranty to repair or recoup costs for damages. 

Some instances that may void your car warranty include: 

  • Manufacturers may void your warranty if you make aftermarket alternations or modify your vehicle in any way. 
  • If your vehicle was damage by severe natural disasters like fire, flood, or earthquake. 
  • Using the vehicle for something other than its designed use. For instance, if a car wasn’t designed for off-roading, then using it for that purpose may void your warranty. 
  • If your vehicle was in an accident and was given a salvage title. 
  • Altering or tampering with the vehicle’s odometer. 
  • Fail to document your factory-recommended maintenance schedule or provide improper maintenance to your vehicle. 

You don’t have to have your car serviced at the same place you bought it from to keep your warranty. However, the service centre that works on your car’s maintenance must follow the procedures and specifications set by your manufacturer. 

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