A car warranty provides peace of mind against costly repairs. But warranties come with limitations and conditions buyers should understand before purchasing a vehicle. Here’s what consumers need to know about deciphering car warranties.

How Do Car Warranties Work?

A car warranty is a guarantee provided by the manufacturer to cover specific defects and issues arising within a set timeframe. Warranties typically last 3 years or 100,000 kms, whichever occurs first. Many used cars still within this period qualify for warranty transfer.

The warranty document details exactly what is and isn’t covered. It’s worth reading thoroughly to understand protections available. Warranties aim to cover manufacturing faults and defects – not normal wear and tear or maintenance items.

What Does a Car Warranty Usually Cover?

Standard car warranties generally include:

  • Engine and transmission defects
  • Electrics like lights and infotainment system
  • Air conditioning and heating systems
  • Safety components such as seatbelts and airbags
  • Paintwork

Premium warranties may cover more items for a longer duration. Additional warranties can be purchased to extend the distance, duration or inclusions beyond the standard coverage.

What Does a Car Warranty Not Cover?

Typical exclusions where you would pay out of pocket include:

  • Normal maintenance like brake pads, tires, filters
  • Damage from use, accidents or modifications
  • Normal deterioration of consumables like brake discs, clutches
  • Audio upgrades, accessories

The warranty document outlines the full exclusions. Vague wording like ‘wear and tear’ is usually not covered – so understand such phrases.

Are Warranties Legally Required?

Australian consumer law mandates that vehicles must be:

  • Fit for the advertised purpose
  • Acceptable quality
  • Free from defects

Dealers must cover faults that do not meet these criteria even if outside the standard warranty. But determining what constitutes a ‘major failure’ and what falls under normal wear and tear can be blurry.

What If The Warranty Has Expired?

Once the time or mileage limit has passed, the standard warranty expires. However, dealers may still repair faults as a ‘goodwill’ gesture to maintain customer loyalty.

While no longer legally mandated, addressing issues that arise just outside the cutoff period is at the dealer’s discretion. It never hurts to politely ask if they can assist.