Everything You Need to Know about Car Warranty in Singapore

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Whether you are an adrenaline junkie after a fast set of wheels or a family man seeking comfort and functionality, a warranty should be one of your priorities.

Purchasing a new car is always exciting. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie after a fast set of wheels or a family man seeking comfort and functionality, a warranty should be one of your priorities. While it does not actually prevent any mechanical failures, it does at least ensure that any defect with the car will be rectified without you having to foot the expenses.

It is worth noting that there are no regulations (except third-party coverage) when it comes to car warranties in Singapore. It is entirely up to the market and car owners themselves to work out the terms and conditions of a transaction. This is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, this leads to competition among car dealers who try to one-up each other by offering better warranty coverage – something that car buyers can only stand to gain from. On the other hand though, there is the risk of unscrupulous dealers exaggerating claims to mislead buyers. The lemon law, unfortunately, is not a deterrence for such practices. To take the edge off the process, here are things to note with regards to car warranties.

Not every warranty is the same

Apart from the usual manufacturer’s coverage for manufacturing or quality flaws, local dealers sometimes offer additional coverage. For example, KIA originally comes with a 5-year guarantee from the factory with no mileage cap. Local distributor Cycle & Carriage supplements that with another 5 years of extended warranty along with coverage for the engine. This is capped at 200,000km and going beyond that before 10 years are up forfeits that privilege.

Similarly, all Toyotas are entitled to a 3-year, 100,000km warranty from the factory. Borneo Motors adds on a further 2 years coverage with unlimited mileage. Certain car parts have their own warranties as well, so if something fails prematurely you should be able to have it fixed or replaced for free even if the warranty on your car itself has expired. Take for example, Borneo Motors offers a 10 year warranty on hybrid batteries for their hybrid cars.

While additional warranties are given to enhance a buyer’s sense of security, there are rare instances where car dealers lose their dealerships in Singapore. This would invalidate the excess coverage, rendering them useless.

There are no global factory warranties

A common misconception is that authorised dealers would be responsible for the repairs of any car under the same brand that they carry, regardless of whether the car was a parallel import or not. That is not the case as they are under no obligation to do so. They may however, offer help under special conditions such as: being requested to on instructions of the brand itself, or the customers pays an adoption fee for the car to be officially recognised.

Do bear in mind that car parts are specific to certain models. Even if authorised dealers attempt to fulfil special requests, the parts needed may not be available. Car models can also vary depending on regions. While two cars may look the same, there could be major differences hidden from view. For instance, one could have an ECU (Engine Control Unit) that runs the engine cooler catered for Singapore’s weather whereas a parallel import would obviously come without such a feature.

Not everything is covered by warranty

A warranty does not translate to immunity when subjected to abuse. It is a form of contract between a buyer and his car dealer. Every warranty has its own terms and conditions, and responsibility is always expected of the buyer. After all, why should a car dealer or factory have to pay for one’s negligence? There are instances when a car dealer may reject warranty claims such as:

  1. Failure caused by or related to car modifications. For example, connecting a dashcam to the car battery directly voids the warranty claim on the car battery
  2. Failure caused by or related to improper installation or maintenance
  3. Failure caused by misuse, abuse or accidents
  4. Alteration of the odometer

Simply put, a buyer is expected to exercise responsibility in servicing the car on time and refrain from tampering with its original condition. While it isn’t compulsory to visit only authorised workshops (as of January 2018), it is vital that only genuine parts are used and servicing is done in accordance with the recommended schedule.

Wear and tear are generally not covered by warranty

Some items are designed to wear out. These are called “consumables” and are meant to be replaced, such as spark plugs, filters and windscreen wipers. When the time comes, warranties generally do not cover these as they are not deemed to have failed but merely have reached the end of their service life.

The good news is the availability of maintenance packages that come with purchases of certain cars. Unlike warranties, these packages cover consumables even from wear and tear and buyers do not have to fork out extra for maintenance at all.

A warranty requires validation

Car warranties are like health insurance policies where a doctor’s input is significant. An insurance claim will not be approved without a proper diagnosis from the doctor. Similarly, a warranty claim requires validation by an official car dealer’s technicians. The cause of the failure has to be assessed and verified before the claim can be approved.

In the event that a fault cannot be ascertained or traced back to a cause, it is highly unlikely that the claim will go through. A warranty does not cover something that just seems off, such as a nagging sound with no definitive reason. Neither can work be done just based on assumptions and hunches. Only a certified technician can prove the legibility for a warranty claim.

Summary

Ultimately, a car warranty should not be viewed as a guarantee of flawlessness. Rather, it is an assurance that you would be given some form of assistance if something goes awry with your car. To simplify things, here is a list of typical car warranty coverage that you would probably come across.

Period

At least 3 years or 100,000km. Some car dealers may offer an extension to 5 or more years under different terms

Powertrain

Engines, transmissions, front-wheel systems/rear-wheel drives and seat belts are usually covered for at least 3 years

Battery

Head units, audio systems and electrical systems are usually covered for at least 1 year or 20,000km. Some dealers may offer 2 to 3 years.

Tires

Normally covered by manufacturer

Exterior

Paint, windows and doors are often covered for at least 6 months

Rust perforation

Tend to be covered for at least 3 years

Aircon

Normally covered for 2 to 3 years

24/7 road assistance

Some car dealers offer this service as part of the warranty, others as an add-on for a discount.

Verdict

What we like
- Luxurious feel
- Large telematics touchscreen
- Extremely spacious
What we do not like
- Lack of automatic boot for auto close
- Drive shaft even though it is a front wheel drive
Editor’s recommendation
The Toyota Camry has successfully done a full model change that is significantly sportier and aesthetically better looking compared to its predecessor. It does not feel you are getting a second class car as compared to equivalent continental class cars, yet the cost savings are substantial.

Specifications

Toyota-camry-gear-knob.jpg
A car that negates risk

Verdict

What we like
- Luxurious feel
- Large telematics touchscreen
- Extremely spacious
What we do not like
- Lack of automatic boot for auto close
- Drive shaft even though it is a front wheel drive
Editor’s recommendation
The Toyota Camry has successfully done a full model change that is significantly sportier and aesthetically better looking compared to its predecessor. It does not feel you are getting a second class car as compared to equivalent continental class cars, yet the cost savings are substantial.

Specifications

Toyota-camry-gear-knob.jpg
A car that negates risk

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