You've probably heard of cases where car companies and dealers refuse to honour a new car warranty. Is this a case of malice from the dealer or manufacturer, or is it the owner's fault? There's no point blaming the dealer; you should be aware of the different types of warranties and what they cover.
As defined by the ACCC or Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a manufacturer's warranty is a voluntary promise by the manufacturer about the steps they’re going to take in case something goes wrong with a new car of their make. In other words, the manufacturer has discretion in deciding what they will cover.
The warranty will generally range from 3 to 7 years or 100,000 km to unlimited kilometres, depending on the manufacturer. Tesla even offers a 12-year/unlimited KM corrosion warranty. So it’s a good idea to compare the new car warranties of different manufacturers. A warranty can save you money if the damage on the car is covered. That is why it's important to know what is covered and what is not.
What do most new car warranties cover?
Warranties may vary slightly, but generally cover the following:
- Mechanical defects - mechanical failures resulting from a design defect
- Towing fees - costs incurred as a result of the warranty-covered mechanical failure or defect
Some high-end cars will come with a hotel fee cover in case the mechanical defects leave you stranded while en route your destination. This is not a common inclusion, however, so you should confirm with the dealer or manufacturer if you want it covered. It’s best not to make assumptions when it comes to new car warranties.
What car parts are not covered in a new car warranty?
Generally, parts that are prone to wear and tear are not covered under a manufacturer's warranty. These parts include:
- Audio equipment
How can you void a manufacturer warranty?
The warranty comes with certain conditions which must be met. Disregarding them can void the warranty, so you’ll do well taking note of these actions or negligence, which include:
Failure to take your car for servicing at the specified intervals
The manufacturer will give directions on when to service the vehicle. If you fail to service at the given intervals, by licenced mechanics, then the warranty will be voided. Make sure you use approved spare parts, lest you void the warranty.
Installing some modifications
Some mods can void the warranty. If modifications conform to the manufacturer's specifications and Australian standards you may be given a break. But it's safer to avoid them if you plan on using the warranty.
If after noticing a defect, you continue using the vehicle, the warranty will be voided.
Misusing the car
Do not use a sedan to ferry bulky goods because using a vehicle for purposes that are not intended for its design will void the warranty.
The warranty will be voided if you tamper with the odometer, fail to register the car or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs resulting in damage.
Should you take up extended warranty?
It is advisable to take up an extended warranty. You can get the extended warranty from either the manufacturer or a third party. These are some of the advantages of extended warranties:
- They cover all major vehicle systems.
- They cover the powertrain.
- They cover wear and tear.
- You get roadside assistance - This is where they send a car for you to use once you experience an issue while on the go. They will tow the vehicle from the scene to the garage at no extra fees.
Warranties are assurances. With a new car warranty, you drive comfortably knowing you are covered in case of an unfortunate event.
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