Guarantees and warranties when buying a vehicle

Guarantees and warranties when buying a vehicle

There are different types of guarantees and warranties that may apply when you buy a vehicle in Queensland. The age and type of vehicle can determine which kinds of warranty will apply. If you are planning to buy a vehicle (new or used), you should know about the warranty that may apply.

Consumer guarantees for all vehicles and trailers

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

Your consumer guarantees will apply:

  • to new and used vehicles
  • for a reasonable amount of time after you buy the vehicle
  • 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.

Find out what happens if a vehicle doesn’t meet a guarantee.

Manufacturer’s warranty for new vehicles

When you buy a new vehicle, the seller must give you a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Make sure you study the warranty conditions carefully. If you do not understand anything—ask the seller to explain it.

If you buy a new vehicle, you should get a qualified mechanic (who does not have anything to do with the seller who sold you the vehicle) to do a full inspection before your warranty runs out. The mechanic can point out any problems while your vehicle is still under warranty—saving you money later.

Statutory warranty for used vehicles

In certain circumstances, you are entitled to a warranty at no extra cost when you buy a used vehicle from a licensed:

  • motor dealer
  • chattel auctioneer.

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

When they apply

A 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 5,000km.

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 in writing within 5 days
  • tell you how to get your vehicle fixed.

If the warrantor does not respond in writing 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:

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

Resolving disputes

You should always try to resolve any disputes with the dealer. If you are not happy with the dealer’s response, you should then make a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading.