Guarantees and warranties for used cars

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.

There are 2 types of statutory warranty: ‘class A’ and ‘class B’.

When they apply

A 'class A' statutory warranty covers you when the vehicle:

  • has an odometer reading of less than 160,000km on the day of its sale
  • has a built date of no more than 10 years before the day of its sale.

The 'class A' warranty expires after 3 months or the first 5,000km, whichever occurs first.

From 1 September 2019, you will be covered by a ‘class B’ statutory warranty if you buy a vehicle that:

  • has an odometer reading of 160,000km or more on the day of its sale
  • has a built date of more than 10 years before the day of its sale.

The ‘class B’ warranty expires after 1 month or the first 1,000km, whichever occurs first.

Buyers can choose to waive the ‘class B’ statutory warranty for a vehicle more than 20 years old that is offered for sale for restoration.

Restorable vehicles

Restorable vehicles are warranted vehicles that are more than 20 years old and are for sale for restoration. Restorable vehicles can be sold without a statutory warranty.

Restorable vehicles sold at auction are not covered by any statutory warranty.

If a restorable vehicle is sold other than at auction, you can choose to waive the statutory warranty.

When statutory warranties don’t apply

The following vehicles do not have a statutory warranty:

  • motorcycles
  • caravans, meaning a trailer fitted, equipped or used mainly either
    • for camping
    • as a dwelling
    • for carrying on any trade or business
  • 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.

Motorhomes are generally covered by statutory warranty.

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 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 filter, heater hose, fuel or air filter
  • paintwork or upholstery
  • air conditioning ('class B' statutory warranties).

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 have 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 20km 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 either:

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

Other tips

Ask a mechanic to 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 for any purpose that you made known to the business before buying (either expressly or by implication) or the purpose the business said it would be fit for
  • is legally available for the business to sell
  • comes with the right for you to own and use it
  • does 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.

Learn more about buying a used car.

You can also download our Car Smart guide.