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Guarantees and warranties for used cars

Statutory warranty

In certain circumstances, you are entitled to a warranty at no extra cost when you buy a second-hand vehicle from:

We call this a statutory warranty. It protects you from financial loss if your vehicle is faulty.

When they apply

Statutory warranty covers you when the vehicle’s: 

  • odometer reading is less than 160,000km
    and
  • date of manufacture is less than 10 years before the sale date.

The warranty expires after 3 months or the first 5000km.

When they don’t apply

The following vehicles do not have a statutory warranty:

  • vehicles that are out of the warranty period
  • motorcycles
  • caravans
  • commercial vehicles
  • vehicles being sold on consignment for a private seller
  • vehicles that can’t be registered because of their design
  • vehicles that are on the ‘written-off’ register.

Dealers or auctioneers must tell you if a vehicle does not come with a statutory warranty.

They can do this by:

  • clearly stating it in any advertisements for the vehicle
  • putting a notice on the windshield or price tag
  • placing signs at the main entrance to the dealership.

What they cover

Your statutory warranty will cover most defects. Your vehicle has a defect if a part:

  • does not do what it is supposed to do
  • has worn out so much that it no longer works.

A statutory warranty does not cover defects in:

  • tyres or tyre tubes, batteries, fitted airbags or radiator hoses
  • lights (other than a warning light or a turn indicator light used as a hazard light)
  • installed radio, tape recorder or CD player
  • aerial, spark plug, wiper rubber, distributor point, oil or oil filer, heater hose, fuel or air filter
  • >paintwork or upholstery.

Statutory warranty also doesn’t cover:

  • accidental damage due to your own misuse or negligence
  • anything that you fitted to the vehicle after the time of sale.

Making a claim

If your vehicle needs repairs under your statutory warranty, you must give written notice to the warrantor of the defect.

The warrantor must:

  • decide if the defects are covered by your statutory warranty
  • respond within 5 days
  • tell you how to get your vehicle fixed.

If the warrantor does not respond within 5 days, they are taken to have accepted that:

  • the statutory warranty does cover the defects
  • they will be responsible for repairing your vehicle.

Getting the repairs

You will have to deliver the vehicle to either:

  • the warrantor
  • an authorised repairer of their choice.

They will 14 days to fix your vehicle. You get an extra day added to your statutory warranty for each day of repairs.

The authorised repairer should be less than 200km from the warrantor’s place of business. They may only use a more distant repairer if you agree to it.

If your vehicle is more than 200km from the warrantor’s place of business, they may choose to:

  • nominate the nearest qualified repairer
  • pay delivery costs if they decide to use another repairer.

Other tips

Ask a mechanic do a full check on your vehicle as you get close to the end of the statutory warranty. This allows problems to be fixed within the warranty period.

If the motor dealer business has been sold:

  • the original dealer is still responsible for your vehicle’s warranty (even if they are no longer a motor dealer)
  • the new owner of the business is not responsible for any repairs.

Consumer guarantees

The law automatically gives you rights when you buy goods and services, including vehicles and trailers. These are your consumer guarantees.

Find out more about consumer guarantees

Your consumer guarantees will apply:

  • for a reasonable amount of time after you buy the vehicle
  • even if the vehicle didn’t come with a statutory warranty
  • regardless of any other warranties from the business
  • even if other types of warranty have run out.

The amount of time that is reasonable:

  • varies from vehicle to vehicle
  • will depend on the price and quality of the specific vehicle
  • is not defined by when other warranties run out.

What they promise

You are guaranteed that the vehicle you buy:

  • is of acceptable quality
  • matches any description or demonstration model
  • is fit to use in normal road conditions (or normal conditions for that vehicle, such as an off-road vehicle)
  • is legally available for the business to sell
  • comes with the right for you to own and use it
  • doesn’t not have any undisclosed money owing on it
  • will have spare parts and repairs available for a reasonable time
  • will live up to any other promise that the business makes about its quality, condition, performance or characteristics.

The dealer cannot refuse to honour a consumer guarantee. They can’t make you sign them away.

Your consumer guarantees will not cover:

  • accidental damage due to your own misuse or negligence
  • anything that you fitted to the vehicle after the time of sale.

How they work

You can seek a remedy (a solution to the issue) if a business sells you a vehicle that doesn’t meet a consumer guarantee.

Find out more about remedies

Under consumer guarantees, a failure may be corrected by:

  • returning the vehicle for a refund or a replacement
  • getting repairs to the vehicle
  • being compensated, such as for a drop in value.

What’s changed

New laws came into effect on 1 December 2014.

Statutory warranty

We have removed the ‘Class B’ type of statutory warranty. This reduces the doubling-up of rules between statutory warranties and consumer guarantees.

You can still use your consumer guarantees for these types of vehicle. These guarantees give you the same protections that you had under the former rules.

Forms

We have made all motor dealer forms much easier to use. There are fewer forms to read and sign.

You won’t get a form to say if a vehicle doesn’t have a statutory warranty. Make sure you ask for any warranty details.

Last updated
10 December 2014

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