How To Claim A Car Warranty In Australia If Your New Vehicle Is A Lemon

How To Claim A Car Warranty In Australia If Your New Vehicle Is A Lemon
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So, you’ve just bought a new car, you’re loving it, but something goes wrong and you’re not sure what to do with it (like an essential part stops working or the panels are misaligned). It could be time to claim the car warranty.

Your instinct might be to just take it down to the mechanic to have it repaired, but it’s often better to contact the manufacturer or dealer in the case of newer cars. Older cars, however, should definitely stick to the local mechanic.

So what do you do if your car turns into a lemon? That is a car that has manufacturing defects that affect its safety, utility or value. Well, we have some handy steps for you to follow below.

Laws designed to help your car warranty claim

Now, before you go off to plead your case to the customer support worker on your manufacturer’s phone line, just know what laws protect you in Australia. The ACCC provides some solid guidelines on buying a car and knowing your rights, according to the Australian Consumer Law.

As outlined by the ACCC, the warranty period for a new vehicle is three years. If your car encounters a major failure within that period of time, the consumer gets the choice between a repair, a replacement or a refund. Alternatively, the consumer can ask for compensation for the drop in value for the vehicle or part from the supplier. It’s also noted that damages can be recovered from the supplier for any loss or damage.

However, if it’s a minor issue, then it becomes the job of the supplier to choose between a repair, a replacement or a refund. If a repair is chosen, then it’ll be handled within a reasonable time and without charge. Also, when we talk about the supplier, we’re talking specifically about the dealer, just so you know who to go to.

Additionally, extra protections may apply depending on the state you live in.

For example, in New South Wales, under the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013, a dealer is required to guarantee a vehicle that has driven less than 15,000 km when purchased, up to 20,000 km after manufacture, or 12 months after purchase (less one month for each 2,000 km that the vehicle was driven before purchase) whichever occurs first.

The dealer guarantee for a new motor vehicle which has driven more than 15,000 km when purchased is limited to 5,000 km after purchase, or three months after purchase, whichever occurs first.

This is covered Similar rules apply in Victoria and Queensland.

How to make a car warranty claim

Firstly, you’ll need to establish a good description of the problem. If you go into the dealer saying “Sometimes it makes a loud bang”, the description might be too vague and you’ll likely need to elaborate on the problem further. Consider:

  • What the problem is in a basic sense
  • What its symptoms are
  • What the problem causes (as in, does the car turn itself off, slow down, does a part stop working or does a weird noise start happening, just to name a few things)
  • How long the problem persists within an instant
  • How often it occurs

With a good idea of what your problem is, get in contact with your dealer. While the ACCC refers to claiming your warranty from a “supplier”, as we mention in the previous section, you’ll actually need to go through your dealer.

There might be different avenues for getting in touch with your dealer for a warranty claim and different hoops you need to jump through depending on your car manufacturer, so below we’ve outlined warranty claiming information from some big car brands in Australia.

Claiming a warranty through Toyota

To claim a warranty on a Toyota vehicle, you’ll need to get in touch with your authorised Toyota dealer. You’ll also need to visit the Toyota Owner’s Portal if your address or name have changed, or if you’ve just purchased a new Toyota. Toyota vehicles purchased after January 1, 2019 are entitled to a five-year manufacturer warranty (terms apply).

Claiming a warranty through Mazda

Like Toyota, Mazda offers a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty, covering any defect in material or workmanship. If you need to claim a warranty, get in touch with your authorised Mazda dealer. Provide your full name, address, phone number and details of what’s wrong with the vehicle. Once this has been provided, Mazda will book you in for an inspection and repair for the next available time.

Claiming a warranty through Ford

Ford also offers a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty for vehicles collected after May 1, 2018. If you need to claim the warranty on your vehicle, contact your Ford dealer and take it in to be serviced and reviewed. Owner and vehicle details will be required.

What if your dealer isn’t cooperating with you?

If your warranty claim isn’t progressing as smoothly as you would have hoped, don’t fret – you’re not powerless. Always remember that you’re protected by the Australian Consumer Law provided you’re operating within its terms.

While the ACCC doesn’t offer a resolutions and complaints service, you can find resources on their website if your car dealer isn’t honouring the warranty. It also wouldn’t hurt to get legal advice if you run into any concerns in undertaking the warranty claims process.

The chip shortage has also brought upon some serious concern – what if my vehicle has a defect within the warranty purchase and I want a replacement? It might not actually be possible for the manufacturer to provide a replacement vehicle while chip shortages persist, so you might be locked into either a refund or a repair, if that’s even available.

Alternatively, as a consumer, you are empowered to negotiate – just make sure you’re not getting ripped off. You might want to consider replacing the faulty car with a different vehicle from the manufacturer, which might cost more or less. Make sure you’re either paying the right amount of difference for a more expensive car or being paid the right amount if you’re accepting a less-expensive car.

This article isn’t intended to be legal advice, rather treat it as a guide for where to start when your new car is being a bit of a lemon.