Car warranties and dealer servicing

Bought a new car? Then you may wonder if you have to get it serviced at an authorised dealership to keep your manufacturer’s warranty intact. If so, you’re not alone.

Read Jemma Castle’s article.

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ACCC having something to say today on the matter …some background on the Takata debacle also in the speech …


Any updates on this? How does the ACL interact with extended warranties?

An acquaintance is going to go with Mitsubishi Dealer as Mitsubishi website maybe misleading said that extended warranty (up to 5 years normal, 10 years if conditions have been fulfilled) (Legal Terms and Conditions).

*Mitsubishi’s Standard New Car Warranty is 5 year/100,000 km (whichever occurs first). You may also be eligible for an Extended New Car Warranty up to 10 year/200,000 km if you’ve had all scheduled services done through the authorised Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Network. Some customers are excluded such as government, taxis, rentals and selected national business.

My acquaintance said (which included reading the above choice article):

Did some research and came across this, so not taking it to a mitsubishi dealer won’t work for my car unfortunately.

I replied:

ahhh so the extended warranty is better then the minimum Australian consumer Law warranty?

It’s certainly more of a fight for your rights if things go wrong maybe?

Might be an idea to contact the independent mechanics association or find their web page to see what they say.

Any advice or personal experience to influence new car consumers (including my acquaintance) for all car manufacturer’s (including Mitsubushi)?

The condition for the extended warranty is clear that servicing must be done by a Mitsubishi Dealer network member. If you breach the condition of that, then the contract is voided. This only requires one out of dealer network service to likely void the extended warranty, so if wanting to take advantage of this offer a purchaser must absolutely comply with the conditions. If you used only the approved service participants to get coverage under the extended warranty then ACL would cover the purchaser if Mitsubishi refused the coverage. The 5 years/100,000 does not require that condition and would be covered under ACL if you took the vehicle to any qualified mechanical service business.


So how long is a reasonable length of time for a car? I’ve seen car’s last for 20 to 30 years. Most leases are five years.

So what I’m arguing for is that if a reasonable length of time is ten years then ACL applies.

Terms and conditions are superseded by consumer law.

UPDATE: I should add it’s fixed cost servicing at the dealer’s but previously it’s been written that could be smoke and mirrors.


It’s worth a deeper look at what the forecast costs might be over 10 years if one went strictly to the dealerships?

How many kilometres is that?
It’s likely many of us (approx 50%) will use our motor vehicles for 10,000km or less every year. Hence 10 years of use is likely to be around 100,000km or less. In comparison as the average is higher those who are regular commuters etc likely drive many more. Few of us are average. Some of the extended family barely manage 5,000 km annually, while others can easily do 15-20,000 kms.

For a Mazda passenger vehicle recommended to be serviced at least once per year or every 10,000km.

Owners who are low users perhaps will need just 10 services with the first 5 optionally on a capped price service plan if going to Mazda. Is there a significant saving going elsewhere? Is there an ongoing risk the vehicle will fail in the second 5 years for a warrantable issue? One your non Mazda service agent will not cover that Mazda would. The cost difference may not be a concern either way. Whether one is any more reliable dealerships come and go and so too independents.

For owners driving many more than 10,000 km PA, would they keep their vehicle well beyond the supposed best to early trade mark? If one does the number of services required might be 2 times that of a low mileage user over 10 years. Is the risk of not getting to 200,000 km low or high? After all Mazda would seem to think they are on a sure thing and that their passenger vehicles can do the miles. The likely savings in servicing elsewhere are likely worthwhile.

Is the real answer found not in economic rational but in one’s own perception of risk? A well known reliable brand can still produce lemons, and dealer service centres provide poor service. Unfortunately every personal vehicle purchase is a sample of one.

Only the manufacturers and their trusted agents know the real statistics. Something they are not compelled to share. Looking in the rear view mirror is sometimes useful, but not always reliable.


Hindsight bias is bad yes.

It really depends on what is seen as reasonable. It could be argued that the 5 year for non-Mitsubshi servicing is reasonable for cars not serviced by the dealership, while 10 years for dealership serviced cars is also reasonable.

There can be rationale for the difference. A dealer/manufacturer could be aware of preventative maintenance to prolong a fault free period. Whereas a non-Mitsubshi servicing may respond when fault is observed as they have experience with a limited number of vehicles with the same make, model and year. Manufacturers/dealerships may see common faults across a larger number of vehicles with the same model and year (inc locally and internationally) and carry out preventative maintenance to ensure the faults don’t potentially cause secondary issues.

The other factor is manufacturer/dealership servicing may be more expensive (especially after fixed service charges period) and include be seen to include an ‘extended’ warranty cost.


I see cars everyday that have reached many more years than 30. What the manufacturer supplies as a warranty is always a warranty that adds to ACL rights and does not replace ACL, just in the case of Mitsubishi they are willing to extend their ‘normal’ warranty to an ‘extended’ warranty if certain contractual conditions are met.

Takata airbag recalls are an example of when ACL is applicable beyond what manufacturers determine are a warranty period. Could someone argue the problem with their car even while out of warranty, is an ACL issue? Yes, they could! Would it be a simple matter to get the outcome desired? This I think, would be a very hard case to argue successfully considering car manufacturers deep pockets and intransigence in many matters.


It’s an interesting point of difference.
Should the manufacturers be legally required to keep all repairers up to date with moving trends and faults as they are identified? It might appear to some that keeping such information to just their authorised service providers is a restricted trade practice almost cartel like? No need to decide whether it is it is not. The ACCC has a view.

A common argument, although the income this generates goes mostly to the dealership service group. A fraction which is the parts wholesale value goes to the manufacturer or their importing agent. Is there any special deal we don’t know of?