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What does it cost when your car fails?

Did you know that according to research by consumer organisation Choice, two thirds of new-car buyers face problems with their cars? Buying new is certainly no guarantee that you won’t have any expensive problems with your car.

Although most cars are protected by manufacturers’ warranties, which run from three to seven years, but you can still experience the inconvenience of having to return your car for repairs which may cost you in additional transport fees as well as your time.

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Unlike other countries, Australia does not have so-called “lemon laws” which add an extra layer of protection for consumers from faulty vehicles. Australian Consumer Law is currently undergoing a review to see if lemon laws should be brought in.

Choice found that it costs consumers an average of $1295 and 31 hours to fix problems with new cars. And that was for those who could resolve their problems. 15% of survey respondents were unable to resolve their problems at all. Worryingly, Choice said this is more often the case for women than men.

And of course, when you’re buying second-hand, it can be even harder to know what you’re getting if the previous owner hasn’t kept log books and service history of the car.

In terms of reliability, not all cars are created equal. There is a reason people perceive Japanese cars to be reliable, because, well, on the whole, they are! Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru and Suzuki all performed best in Choice’s survey. As did Korean brand Kia (which offers a seven-year warranty). Conversely, the brand that performed most poorly was Holden, followed by Ford.

Car brand

Percentage who faced a problem

Holden

68%

Ford

65%

Audi

62%

Hyundai

61%

Nissan

61%

Volkswagen

61%

Jeep

61%

BMW

57%

Mitsubishi

55%

Kia

54%

Subaru

53%

Suzuki

51%

Toyota

50%

Honda

49%

Mazda

44%

SOURCE: Choice.com.au

In most cases, the failure of new cars is down to relatively minor issues – but major problems do occur and this was true for 14% of the respondents.

Car dealers are historically one of the least trusted professions in Australia and Choice’s report reflected that sentiment with a quarter of new car owners stating they were dissatisfied with dealers’ responses to problems, and many consumers found that the process of resolving disputes with dealers was draining. Consumers also told Choice that some dealers avoided addressing complaints until after their warranty period ended.

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It’s this lack of trust and transparency in the industry that we wanted to address when we launched HelloCars.

To give our customers security and peace of mind, we offer all our customers a 7-day/500km money-back guarantee on all the cars we sell. HelloCars only sells cars which have passed our rigorous 230-point inspection – the most comprehensive in Australia.

Michael Higgins is Director of HelloCars.