4 year old car requires major repair after engines ceases 1 year out of warranty

I have a four-year-old VW, which i bought brand new. It is now out of warranty after three years. Yesterday when driving the car, it came up with a warning to stop the vehicle. I had stopped the vehicle and had organised for the vehicle to towed away to a licensed mechanic who checked the car.

I was told today that the motorhead is cracked and has leaked water into the engine, causing the engine to overheat. The mechanic has said to me that the repair would be approx. 5K for a new repair properly.

The car has had a full-service history and well looked after. Considering its age do i have the ability to get VW to fix the issue outside of warranty I bought the car for over 50K. Please help. What do I do?


Even if you cannot get a warranty repair, you could consider a second hand engine replacement.

A neighbour tinkers around fixing up faulty cars which he buys and sells and he has bought 2 small Ford sedans which had both been driven into water resulting in the engines being destroyed.

A local wrecker wanted to charge some $1,500 for an engine but he bought one in SEQ for $500 plus a small amount for freight and he paid a similar amount for the other engine.

You may be able to repair your vehicle cheaply with a good used engine installed by an honest mechanic.


Welcome to the community @jmaksour,

VW has a long and ignoble history being difficult to deal with as evidenced by other topics and their responses (and non-responses) for recalls.

We do not have explicit lemon laws and have to rely on the Australian Consumer Law that is supposed to give us rights, but it is not always so easy with some manufacturers.

1 - do not do anything without contacting VW in writing stating your situation. It may go better if you used the ACL Complaints tool and instructions for composing a complaint. Anything you do or have done without their agreement can be used to deny your claim. To get you going

2 - Make sure everything is receipted, logged, and so on in case you need to go to a tribunal. VW may or may not make it right, so be prepared to negotiate for whatever support they are willing to provide.

3 - My opinion is a motor vehicle engine should last more than 3 years and well over 100K kms without a major failure, especially one that has been maintained by the book.

Please let us know what you do, and how you go with VW.

If you are Choice member there is also the Choice Help service that can guide you along, in addition to the forum.


Hi @jmaksour, welcome to the community. It would be great if you could provide some more information about the car.

How many kilometres have you done in the 4 years?

If you have done say 200,000km, avenues to explore might be different to that if you had done 30,000km.

The ACL is very much about what one would expect a reasonable fault free life to be. If the car had done 200k in 4 years, the car would have had heavy work and one might expect some faults to occur due to the mileage…including possibly a cracked head if it had been worked hard with a loaded up vehicle. It could be difficult in such cases to argue for a remedy under the ACL.

If the car had done 30k, then one would expect the car to be reliable and possibly only consumables (oil, belts, tyres etc) needing replacing as the car has had a light to average use. In such case the ACL consumer guarantee would apply and a remedy or resolution under the ACL should be sought and fought for.


the car has done 87K and is 4 years and three months old. It is used for personal use taking my family around.


Thanks Fred, The problem is with a car that is 4 years old, it is very hard to get a second engine from a wrecker


The Fords that the neighbour fixed were around that age.

The engines came from cars that were wrecked in accidents.

He usually searches on eBay and Gumtree.


It’s interesting that VW introduced 5 year warranties as of 01 January 2019.

So did Toyota.

VW prior offered an extended warranty option for an extra 2 years, IE 5 years as a paid add on.

Technically, has anything changed between the vehicles sold prior to 01Jan19 or subsequently? Noting it’s the date sold and not the date of manufacture that the change in warranty applies to.

Both manufacturers expect a post 2019 sold vehicle to last the extra time and distance. It would be a reasonable expectation that a model with the same spec engine manufactured prior to that date would be equally reliable.

VW might argue that they increased the cost of post 01Jan19 vehicles to include the previous add on extended warranties. Irrespective a motor vehicle engine should reasonably last much longer if properly maintained, if the service recommendations are to be believed. The last entry in the provided log book service schedule might be a fair minimum. Most seem to provide for at least 10years and up to 200,000km.

I don’t expect these comments would sway VW. It’s just a nice way of suggesting that if VW reply with a no, VW aren’t being honest about the performance of their product. This assumes there had been no error in maintenance.

In another related community topic, VW rated well above average for new car reliability.


…according to JD Power in the US, which may not reflect the Australian experience.


Your use (22,000km/yr) would not be called excessive, even though it is higher than the Australian average of (13,400km/yr).

A modern, 4 year old, well designed vehicle should be reliable and not have any major problems at 87,000km. A reasonable person could assume that if the vehicle was maintained in accordance with that required by the manufacturer (both servicing and regular checking of fluids etc) and not misused (excessive revving of engine, racing the vehicle, business use with multiple drivers, towing heavy loads, overloaded etc), that the fault which has occurred may have been due to the engine head design or through a manufacturing defect.

As outlined in @PhilT above, you have grounds to request the vehicle be repaired by the manufacturer under the Australian Consumer Guarantee as the vehicle has a fault which can only be through the manufacture or design of the vehicle.

As @PhilT has also outlined, make sure that your keep records of your dealings with VW/its dealership and also indicate that Choice is keen to find out the resolution in relation to the problem you have.

Keep us posted and if you have any questions or want to bounce off ideas, don’t forget you can add further to your thread here and either a Choice Staff member or one of the forum elders (Consumer Defenders) will help as much as they can.