Your new car warranty.
PRESERVING YOUR WARRANTY
If you want to go outside the authorized servicing net, and still preserve your new car warranty, the ACCC says you need to meet these three fundamental conditions:
First, the person doing the job needs to be what the ACCC calls ‘qualified staff’ – in other words, a party or parties other than an authorized dealer who is capable of performing car servicing. And that means the person who works on your car needs to be a qualified mechanic. If you’re not a mechanic, doing it yourself will almost certainly void your warranty.
Servicing needs to be done to what the ACCC calls ‘manufacturer’s specifications’. Two key points there – you need to get the service done when it’s due. Either the time or the distance – whichever comes first. And all the jobs specified by the manufacturer for that particular service need to get done.
The ACCC says both genuine and appropriate quality non-genuine parts are acceptable. So, genuine parts aren’t a warranty-preserving prerequisite. The issue here isn’t who manufactures the parts, but whether they’re fit for purpose. So, you don’t even need to use genuine parts – as long as the parts you do use are designed to do the job and meet or exceed appropriate standards. Good independent mechanics are generally plugged into a solid supply chain of quality alternative aftermarket parts. And that means you save even more.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a mistake to get your car serviced by the dealer – especially if he’s a good dealer with a solid commitment to service quality, and reasonably priced. But even then, you will almost certainly be able to save money outside the authorized dealer network. Always shop around for services. Ask how much to perform the next standard service due on your car, and then compare quotes. Servicing prices vary widely – even within the dealership network, because dealerships are generally independent businesses that own a franchise to sell the brand, and because manufacturers aren’t allowed to fix prices under Australian law.
Word of mouth is a great way to choose a good service provider. One happy customer talking up his mechanic is worth a thousand leaps of faith into an unknown sea of potential incompetents and rip-off merchants. But remember, there’s no obligation on you to underwrite the dealer’s overheads by paying for premium-priced servicing, and your warranty is absolutely not jeopardized by going outside the net. Provided you meet the critical three conditions set by the ACCC. At least now you can make an informed decision.