Maintaining your new car warranty
I don't want to lose my new car warranty. Can I choose who services my vehicle without voiding my warranty?
Yes, but there are certain conditions that need to be met. The new car dealer who sold you the vehicle is entitled to insist that any servicing carried out by an independent repairer must:
- be performed by suitably qualified personnel
- use genuine (or appropriate quality) parts
- be serviced according to the manufacturer's specification
Suitably qualified personnel
Qualified staff is a party other than an 'authorised dealer' who is capable of performing car servicing.
Genuine or appropriate parts
The question is not who manufactured the part, it is whether the part is fit for the purpose.
If a non-genuine part is fitted and fails, or does not perform satisfactorily, the consumer then has rights against the fitter and/or manufacturer of those replacement parts.
If the non-genuine part fails, and causes some other damage to the vehicle, the dealer and vehicle manufacturer will not be liable for damage caused by the failure of that part.
According to manufacturer's specifications
If a repairer implies that it can perform general car servicing to manufacturer specs, but does not perform that function satisfactorily, the consumer has rights and remedies against the repairer regardless of the repairer being factory qualified.
Types of new car warranties
There are different types of warranties that may require the vehicle be serviced by the dealer. The most common types of warranties are statutory warranty and express warranty.
You need to carefully read your warranty booklet to understand your new car warranty. The warranty on your new car is most likely a combination of both.
Statutory warranty, also known as implied warranty or manufacturer's warranty, must be provided by the manufacturer. It covers any defects or failures that may occur during a new vehicle's early life. Generally, statutory warranty is for a minimum 12 months or 20,000km, whichever occurs first, although manufacturers may offer longer factory warranties.
Express warranties are usually specified under the dealer sale agreement at the time of purchase of the vehicle, and are sometimes referred to as voluntary warranty or extended warranty. They usually have a strict expiration date, and have a maximum liability with certain limitations. Express warranties particularly relate to used car sales.
These limitations can sometimes include 'servicing by the dealer only', fitment of 'genuine parts only', and a limited claim amount for any single claim and they nearly always require strict adherence to servicing intervals.
These warranties apply in addition to the statutory warranty and cannot restrict the provisions of your statutory warranty.
Repairing faults under warranty
While you do have a choice when servicing your new vehicle, if a problem arises that is covered under the warranty, you must return it to a dealer.