How important is the length of a manufacturer's warranty, and what exclusions apply?
A new car warranty is there to give you peace of mind when you buy a new car, but not all warranties are created equal. Find out how the warranties from different car manufacturers compare, including the length of the warranty and major exclusions.
What is a car manufacturer warranty?
A car manufacturer warranty is a legally enforceable promise made by the manufacturer to take responsibility for any faults that occur in a motor vehicle during the warranty period. Should a fault occur during the period, the manufacturer warrants to rectify the fault and to bear the costs, including parts and labour.
Car warranties are usually expressed as a number of years and a number of kilometres, with the warranty expiring once either milestone has been reached. For example, a warranty of three years or 100,000 kilometres would expire three years after the date of purchase or after 100,000 kilometres, whichever occurs first.
How do car manufacturer warranties compare?
Compare new car warranties with this handy table.
|Audi||3 years/unlimited kilometres for car and paintwork, 1 year for bodywork against corrosion perforation||Defects caused by unapproved modifications, abuse or negligence, or non-genuine parts. May not include cars bought or sold at auction.|
|BMW||12 years for bodywork, 3 years for paintwork, 3 years for the entire vehicle, and 2 years for genuine parts purchased after the original car purchase.||Replacement of worn parts, damage caused by accident or out of the control of BMW, non-genuine parts or parts added after purchase, normal vehicle maintenance.|
|Ford||5 years/unlimited kilometres||Labour, parts and lubricants in a scheduled service, worn parts and consumables, costs of taking the vehicle to and from the service centre.|
|Holden||5 years/unlimited kilometres||Damage caused by an accident or other similar event, brake adjustments or replacements, batteries and bulbs, misuse.|
|Honda||5 years/unlimited kilometres. Originally fitted batteries fully covered for 2 years, and 50% of the cost covered in the third year.||Damage caused by an accident, vehicles with odometers that have stopped or been altered, misuse or inadequate maintenance, non-genuine parts, vehicles used for competition or racing.|
|Hyundai||5 years/unlimited kilometres for passenger vehicles, 5 years/160,000 kilometres for commercial vehicles.||Tyres and non-genuine accessories. Exterior paint durability covered for 3 years/100,000 kilometres, exterior paint defects covered for 1 year/unlimited kilometres, audio system covered for 3 years/unlimited kilometres, battery covered for 2 years/40,000 kilometres, keyless entry remote battery covered for 6 months.|
|Isuzu||5 years/130,000 kilometres, 1 year for batteries||Parts and accessories not approved by or not conforming to Isuzu factory specifications, tyres, damage caused by accident, fire or theft, chemicals or extreme weather, cosmetic damage.|
|Jeep||5 years/100,000 kilometres||Tyres covered by the relevant manufacturer's warranty, cosmetic damage, modifications involving non-genuine parts, environmental or extreme weather damage, improper maintenance.|
|Kia||7 years/unlimited kilometres||Tyres are covered by their own manufacturer’s warranty. Air conditioner refrigerant is covered for 1 year, and audio systems are covered for 3 years. Damage caused by misuse, accident or lack of proper maintenance.|
|Mazda||5 years/unlimited kilometres||Damage caused by misuse or accident, environmental damage, damage caused by using the wrong fuel, normal deterioration.|
|Mercedes-Benz||3 years or 200,000 kilometres (whichever occurs first)||Any defects not directly caused by manufacturer, or damage to glass except a stress fracture.|
|Mitsubishi||5 years/100,000 kilometres, 5 years for perforation corrosion, 1 year/20,000 kilometres for components subject to normal wear and tear||Deterioration or wear and tear subject to the age of the vehicle, environmental damage, damage caused by negligence, improper use or accident.|
|Nissan||5 years/100,000 kilometres for cars bought between 1/8/2018 and 30/11/2018, 3 years/100,000 kilometres otherwise.||Parts that are not genuine Nissan parts, vehicles relocated outside Australia, tyre punctures, normal wear and tear.|
|Subaru||5 years/unlimited kilometres, 5 years/150,000 kilometres for taxis, delivery and rental vehicles.||Cars bought at auction or imported to Australia except by Subaru, ordinary wear and tear, cars used for racing or competition, negligence, accidents or theft.|
|Suzuki||3 years/100,000 kilometres, 5 years 140,000 kilometres extended warranty for cars serviced every 6 months by Suzuki dealers, 1 year/20,000 kilometres for genuine parts fitted after purchase||Normal wear and tear items requiring additional maintenance such as tyres and wiper blades, accident damage, fluids or additives.|
|Toyota||3 years/100,000 kilometres||Consumable items with a limited working life like batteries and tyres unless they are defective, cosmetic damage, software upgrades.|
|Volkswagen||5 years/unlimited kilometres for car and paint, 12 years/unlimited kilometres for corrosion, 6 years/unlimited kilometres for corrosion on Amarok models, 5 years/unlimited kilometres for genuine accessories fitted at delivery, 2 years/unlimited kilometres for genuine parts fitted after purchase||Wear and tear, motorsport, modifications, misuse, environmental conditions or tyres.|
How does it work?
If your car has a defect covered by the warranty, the first step is to contact the dealer where you purchased your car. The manufacturer's warranty is legally enforceable and means that the dealer must rectify problems or defects under the warranty. While it may be a condition of the warranty that the repair be carried out at the dealer's workshop, all costs, both labour and materials, will be borne by the manufacturer.
What is usually covered under my warranty?
The car itself is covered by the warranty, as are any accessories fitted by the dealership or in the factory. In particular, warranties are designed to cover the car and its accessories in relation to all aspects of roadworthiness, safety and reliability. However, it’s important to read and understand the warranty document carefully to be clear on which accessories are covered by a particular warranty.
Importantly, warranties are designed to fix defects that already exist in the car or become apparent during the warranty period. A warranty is not an insurance policy designed to cover you for accident damage or wear and tear that occurs after you purchase the car.
What restrictions usually apply under a car warranty?
The most important restriction that applies to a car warranty is that it does not include cosmetic damage or wear and tear that occurs to the car, even during the warranty period.
A car warranty also does not cover:
- Damage to the car resulting from an accident
- Damage resulting from misuse of the car
- Items that tend to wear out over overtime, such as brake pads and tyres
- Routine servicing and maintenance.
Other exclusions may apply which will differ between manufacturers. See the table below to compare the warranties from different manufacturers.
Types of car warranties
Understand your rights under different types of car warranties:
- Statutory warranty – new cars. All new cars under the luxury car tax threshold ($75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles and $66,331 for other vehicles in the 2018/19 financial year) are subject to a new car statutory warranty, regardless of the specific warranty provisions of the manufacturer. This statutory warranty is valid for 12 months or 20,000 kilometres, whichever occurs first.
- Statutory warranty – used cars. A statutory warranty also applies to used cars, provided they are sold by a dealer, are less than 10 years old, have less than 160,000 kilometres on the odometer, and are under the luxury car tax threshold. Statutory warranties for used cars are valid for three months or 5,000 kilometres from the date of purchase.
- Manufacturer's new car warranty. Every new vehicle is covered by a manufacturer's warranty. The standard length of a manufacturer’s new car warranty is three years or 100,000 kilometres. However this can vary significantly between different manufacturers. See the table below to perform your own manufacturer's warranty comparison between different makes and models.
- Used car warranty. A used car purchased from a dealership will typically come with a warranty, but this will be a much shorter warranty than that offered by a new car manufacturer. The standard terms of the used car warranty are three months or 5,000 kilometres, beginning from the time of purchase.
- Extended warranty. An extended warranty is in addition to your statutory warranty and serves an extension on the manufacturer or dealer warranty. Extended warranties can be offered as a value-added bonus at the time of purchase or can incur an additional cost. In general, extended warranties offer the same terms, conditions, and exclusions as the original manufacturer or dealer warranty, however there can be some differences. This makes it important to understand what's covered and any important conditions under the extended warranty being offered to you, especially if you’re considering paying extra for extended warranty.
Frequently asked questions
Will I void my warranty if I don't have the manufacturer's dealership service the car?
This is a common misconception – one that is often reinforced by dealerships. When it comes to new car warranties offered by manufacturers, there is no requirement to have your car serviced by the manufacturer's dealership or "approved" repairers to keep within the terms of your warranty. Servicing and repairs must be completed in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and genuine parts must be used, however a condition that a certain person or group must perform the servicing cannot be enforced.
Importantly, some used car warranties from dealerships will require that servicing be completed at the dealership itself. Make sure you understand the terms of a used car warranty before purchasing. The cost and inconvenience of having your car serviced at the dealership could outweigh the benefits of the warranty, especially if you bought the car out of town.
Is my car battery covered under a manufacturer's warranty?
A car battery is a common area of confusion when it comes to a manufacturer's warranty comparison, and it’s always necessary to check your warranty document carefully to make sure you understand whether your car battery is covered, and to what extent. Car batteries are commonly covered under a manufacturer's warranty when purchasing a new car, but not a used car warranty. However, if purchasing a new replacement battery, the battery should be subject to its own warranty – typically up to three years.
Is a new car manufacturer’s warranty transferable if the car is sold within the warranty period?
Generally, yes. In most instances, a new car manufacturer's warranty applies to the car itself, not to the purchaser. As such, the warranty will move with the car following its sale. If purchasing a near-new car still under warranty, make sure you’re provided with original warranty documents to prove that the car is under warranty.
Do I need to use the dealership's finance provider?
Some dealerships will make it seem as though using their in-house finance provider is just one part of the purchasing process, but this is not the case. Finance offered by the dealership is just one finance option open to you and may not be the best choice to suit your circumstances. Take the time to compare car loans to make sure you get the best deal.
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