Buyers' Guide: You’re covered, but how well?
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When you buy a new vehicle from a dealership, it will usually include a new car warranty. This adds value and security to an already expensive purchase, but it pays to check on the level of coverage being offered.
Each manufacturer offers customers something unique as a point of difference, but there is often a level of consistency in the offering or the terms of the warranty based on industry benchmarks.
Take, for example, Toyota, Ford and Holden, which have logged some of the biggest numbers of new car registrations here so far this year. Each offers a three-year or 100,000km warranty.
The warranties between the brands may appear similar but there are points of difference so it’s worth getting into the detail.
Ford offers a five-year corrosion protection plan over and above its standard warranty, giving you peace of mind on rust-related issues.
Holden provides a complimentary roadside breakdown service with its standard warranty but, to get this service with Toyota, you’ll need to upgrade your coverage to a more costly platinum warranty.
Toyota does provide a Hybrid System Warranty, valid for 160,000km or eight years.
Some manufacturers are using warranties to encourage vehicle sales and increase consumer confidence in their products.
Mitsubishi offers a split-style warranty for diesel and petrol (with the exclusion of its Evo model).
Customers can choose a five-year or 130,000km warranty, including a year’s roadside assistance. Or they can opt for an impressive 160,000km or 10-year powertrain warranty that covers expensive engine componentry such as cylinder heads, conrods and drive train assemblies, like torque converters, differentials, as well as electronic control units.
This second part of the warranty is an extension and, to be eligible, you must have had the vehicle inspected within the past three months of the initial warranty’s expiry.
It’s non-transferable and subject to proof of servicing and maintenance, that should have been carried out by an authorised Mitsubishi motors dealer.
Warranties offer you a good level of consumer protection and bear in mind that even if a fault or repair isn’t explicitly mentioned on your warranty, there is still a good chance it’s covered, so it pays to ask your dealership before you shell out your cash unnecessarily.
Some do come with fish hooks, so read the fine print to reduce the chance of missing added value, further benefits or inadvertently voiding your warranty.
Also, remember all vehicles sold for private use are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). The CGA requires that all vehicles sold for private use should be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and as described.
In some instances, this will mean your rights may extend beyond any warranty — even if something is specifically excluded.
For example, if your new car warranty excluded a component such as an air conditioning compressor and the vehicle failed because it was not reasonably durable. In this event, you could still seek a remedy from the dealer or seek further action via a disputes tribunal, if necessary.
Visit consumer.org.nz for further information about the CGA.