Understanding the different types of warranties

What exactly is covered by your vehicles warranty

Reuben Van Niekerk
Consumer advice
service plan

All used vehicles as well as some pre-owned vehicles are sold with warranties. These warranties are time and mileage based and will expire when the first of those parameters are met. In many cases the new car warranty will be transferred to subsequent owners even when the vehicle is sold and bought on the pre-owned market.

These warranties cover motorists for manufacturing faults, such as issues with paint, structural, mechanical or electric components.

Motorists need to be aware that there are different types of warranties that offer varying levels of cover.

Manufacturers warranty

All new vehicles are sold with a manufacturers warranty, which is provided by the vehicle manufacturer or importer of that particular brand of vehicle. If the vehicle does not do what it is supposed to do, any faults will be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer at one of their dealerships.

There is a limit with regard to which components are covered and each manufacturer will have their own level of cover. In most cases mechanical faults to major components like engines and gearboxes will be covered. However, most manufacturers warranties do not cover wear and tear items such as tyres, brake pads, discs and shock absorbers.

In most cases breakdowns or failure will be covered in full by the manufacturers warranty, but a variety of factors could void this warranty. These include driver abuse or incorrect use of the vehicle such as in motorsport applications as well as modifications or alterations outside of what is permitted. For example the fitment of aftermarket exhaust systems or ECU tuning will void your warranty. Motorists also need to comply with manufacturer specified service intervals in order to ensure that their warranty remains valid for the full period.

It is a good idea to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions of your warranty so that you know what is covered, what is required and what can cause your warranty to be declared invalid before you take delivery to ensure that you are not left with an unnecessary and expensive repair bill when something does go wrong.

Extended warranty

A top up or extended warranty is available to supplement the limitations to the manufacturers warranty by covering the costs of repairs or parts for an extended time or distance travelled. These warranties are available from dealerships or warranty companies and insurers. Extending the warranty on a pre-owned vehicle is a great way of protecting yourself against a range of unexpected costs.

Consumer Protection Act warranty

A further form of protection available when purchasing a vehicle is that which is offered by the Consumer Protection Act. This implied warranty of quality is valid for six months.

The CPA warranty overrides the voetstoots clause and applies to all vehicles, except those sold on auction. The warranty afforded by the CPA forces the seller to remedy any breakdowns or failures that may arise unless it is sold with a specific provision.

In the event of a breakdown or failure within your first six months of ownership not caused by a fault of the motorist, the vehicle will be repaired, replaced or refunded.