10 Facts You Should Know About A Car Warranty

You may be surprised at some of the facts you do NOT know about a car warranty. Take a look at these ten tips to avoid being caught out!
Compare Guru
2017-03-03
Are you in the process of buying a new car? All cars need to come with a manufacturer’s warranty, also known as a 'car warranty'. A car warranty is typically a standard feature in new cars sold in South Africa. It is specifically for mechanical breakdown claims, and relates to the longevity of the vehicle. If the automaker agrees that the problem is indeed due to defects in components or workmanship, then the problem will be resolved at no cost to you. There are, however, certain issues that may arise that are usually mentioned in the fine print.

Here Are 10 Facts You Should Know About a Car Warranty

1. Read Terms And Conditions

It is critical to read and understand the terms and conditions of your car's warranty, as this can save you if / when you have a breakdown. Staying informed about what is and isn't included in your car's warranty will help you when dealing with the service department at a later stage. If you do not understand certain elements of the small print, do not hesitate to ask the dealership for clarification.

2. Check If The Vehicle Was Serviced

If you aren't buying a brand new car, check the service history to check if it is due for its next service. If the car requires a service, try to arrange with the dealer that the car is serviced before you intend to purchase the car - they are after all selling you a warranty. Salespeople, more than anyone else, know that it is your responsibility, as a vehicle owner, to ensure that the car you purchase is in an acceptable and fair state.

3. Be Aware That Service Intervals Vary

Each car has its own set of service intervals. So, ensure you have read your conditions in order to protect yourself. Some warranties require a vehicle to be serviced every 10 000 to 15 000 kilometres, or 12 months, whichever comes first. Diesel-powered vehicles should be serviced every 10 000 kilometres.

4. Check What The Dealer / Workshop Covers

Warranties "assist" you when your vehicle has a mechanical breakdown. But, this does not always mean the full amount. The claim amount for the replacement part and associated labour cost will be considered and either paid in full, or a contribution to the amount will be made. It is quite rare for the full amount to be covered, which means you may have to pay the remainder of the claim. In such cases, it may be a good idea to take out an extended car warranty in order to ensure the full amount is covered.
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5. Take Note Of How Often You Have Claimed

Fazlin Kasker, from Maitland Auto Clinic says, "If you are claiming for CV joints, you cannot claim for an airflow metre. Unless these are components, dependent of each other for operation, you cannot claim for them together."

6. Check What Is And Isn't Covered In a Car Warranty

For example, consumables and computer diagnostics are not covered and will be billed to the customer's account. When a diagnostic is performed, a dealer requires the fault code to be submitted with the claim submission.

7. Understand The Difference Between a Car Warranty And Maintenance Plan

A car warranty ensures that all factory motor parts are guaranteed and provides a level of assurance to the vehicle owner, in the event of mechanical failure. What a car warranty is not is a maintenance policy or plan. If your thoughts are, "I have been paying for the past two years, and I haven’t claimed, I should do so before my warranty ends," you could come to a sticky demise. Ensure you have a maintenance plan in place to avoid this situation. Renault South Africa’s maintenance plan, for instance, adds brake pads, brake discs, brake linings, shock absorbers, wipers, the battery, clutch, exhaust system, globes, fuses, air-conditioner belts, and much more. This maintenance plan does not, however, include certain warrant-related items such as, top-up oils, all glass, tyres, paintwork, body, and any damage that comes about as a result of neglect and abuse.

8. Do Not Replace Parts Yourself If You Have a Warranty

Should you perform your own oil change or replace certain car parts yourself, you could run the risk of invalidating your car warranty. Ensure you know exactly what you can and cannot do on your vehicle if you are thinking of ways to cut costs on your vehicle.

9. Consider Fraud a Serious Matter

Warren Fryer, Dealer Relations manager at Motorite Administrators, says that while car warranty plans are often viewed as so-called 'grudge purchases', if done correctly, they often prove to be well worth the money paid. This is especially true when buying a used vehicle and being unsure of its maintenance history.
"Owner abuse and lack of maintenance can add undue stress on mechanical components that limit their lifespan. It’s always wise to be prepared should an unforeseen mechanical failure take place. The key, however, is making sure you understand the plan or policy and what the terms and conditions are that will enable the plan / policy to remain valid and enforced before signing anything."
If you are purchasing an older vehicle, especially one with an unknown history, it is advisable to consider a warranty for unforeseen repairs and, possibly, a service plan. A service plan will provide you with the peace of mind that the vehicle will be properly maintained. Correct servicing also helps prevent larger repairs, should it be detected early at a regularly scheduled service.

10. Be Aware That Warranties Vary In Length

Ryan Bubear of CAR Magazine says, "The plans do indeed vary between the various manufacturers and are not all the same length, nor do they provide the same value. Ask for as much information as possible when looking to buy a new car, and take the time to read and understand every word of the fine-print".