Car warranty

We bought a Subaru Forester in April 2015. We hardly use the car. The car has a warranty of 5 years.

The dealer sends email when service is due.

Now today we went for a service after supposedly 18 months or 37,500km. Our car has done 15,000km. We kindly protested to the fact that our car did approach the mileage. But we were given all sorts of justifications that the warranty would NOT apply if we did not do the services on time .

On arriving home I checked the service booklet to find out that we indeed bought the car in April 7 2015, and we had only done 15,000km. I was wondering why the people at Subaru, did not mentioned the fact we could have easily slipped the previous service and logged it into the next one…Meaning that the car will be due for another service next month. I find this a real scam.

Now, is this true that the warranty is void is the services are not done on time ? I feel this is a real rip off if we have to stick either by the mileage or the time.

We hardly do any driving and to find ourselves to pay close to $400 for a service… is quite extravagant. Especially that the car is way under the the mileage but lose to the time . It is totally incomprehensible.

can someone shed a light on these practices please?
Many thanks

This is what Choice has reported in the past in relation to maintaining car warranties…read this info.

We have the same situation, 13 year old Forester which has done about 5000km/year.

We asked the same questions querying why we had to undertake scheduled services before mileage reached. They indicated that oil in particular denatures when exposed to the atmosphere and operating condions within the motor…absorbs water from air and dentatures more quickly when engine runs hot (why standard service intervals are less in Australia compared to some cool climate countries).

We got similar advice from a reputable independent servicer.

We now, car out of warranty, now service the car based on km only and not time. Our independent Subaru servicer said there are risks to long term wear and tear and not observing fault in a timely manner before it becomes a problem (e.g. rubber hoses perishing over time and failing at the worst time), but we are will to accept the risk and believe in the long term will be financially better off. We also accept recommendations for preventative maintenance more than would otherwise be the case.


Having 2 vehicles, each doing <5000km p.a. we have learnt that most of our problems are from low kms and city start-stop short distance driving, with that being harder on a car than long distances.

For many drivers the only time things are checked are maintenance visits, flat repairs (that called out my hardened tyres that were indisputably in need of replacement), or when something breaks.

Thanks for the reply. I read the link you sent me and I am really a little puzzled that I will have to fork out close to $1000 a year for te warranty to be operable.

It is like a compulsory insurance when you think of it on 5 years …

But will do some calculations and see where I am better off even if the warranty is void.

I can see your point, but that does not allay my fear and my gut feelings that this is a ripoff in the end

Don’t disagree in relation to feeling like you are being over-serviced. I no longer have our purchase agreement with Subaru (as it was 13 years ago and have recycled the paperwork), but recall reading something about warranty conditions in the T&Cs in the agreement of sale. I read them when we were servicing based on time and not mileage.

It may be worth checking the T&Cs of the sale agreement to see what it says as well as the car’s owner manual.

It many not be buyer aware, but the case of reading and understanding the fine print when making a significant purchase like a new car.

The Subaru Australia website also has the T&Cs to retain the warranty offered with new vehicles. Just checked other manufacturers and they also appear to have similar standard requirements on their websites.

Is there also a possibility that the prescribed actions for each service are not well defined. The car makers requirements for each service assume calendar time and distance travelled (usage) are equivalent.

What is actually required and should be done at a service should be adjusted or varied based on actual use and driving conditions. Current service requirements as set out ( Subaru, Toyota, Ford, Holden) being current experience appear to be ultra conservative. IE The makers assume the worst combination of all use factors. This likely results in many vehicles being over serviced through unnecessary early maintenance. No doubt the dealers would argue this is not the case and better safe than sorry!

Service schedules would be more useful if they separated requirements for time, distance or engine hours, and urban crawl vs rural bliss. Modern engine management systems have the ability to track use. Although could anyone trust the output of a system programmed by the maker.

Perhaps we need to change consumer law such that the warranty irrespective of exact compliance to a manufacturers service schedule is enforceable. Modern vehicles are extremely reliable. Unless driven substantial distances or hours most should require servicing no more often than annually. Some low use vehicles less often other than a general annual safety check?

While you may be able to argue a warranty should hold from a purely technical basis, our legal system tends to still rely on legal precedent and interpretation of legislation. Being technically correct is not always being legally correct?

Yes - we are being over serviced and the whole consumer situation around manufacturers/importers, dealers and warranties needs to change.

1 Like