Firstly, be aware that warranties apply to cars purchased through a licensed Motor Vehicle Dealer, and do not apply to private sales and auctions.

Used cars in the Northern Territory that are less than 10 years old and have not travelled more than 160,000 km are covered by a Statutory Warranty. This warranty may entitle you to take the car back to the dealer to have them make repairs for problems that appear in the first 3 months or 5,000 km after delivery.

Faulty gearbox – a case study.

Tye's friend, Mai, looked in several car yards and through the classified ads for a used car. She'd got a fair idea of the average price she would have to pay when Tye rang and said he had found the perfect car for her. They agreed to meet at the seller's place (who was a friend of a friend).

The car was 5 years old and had travelled about 87,000 kilometres. Tye was in a hurry so he gave it the quick once over and pronounced it an excellent buy. Mai didn't have it professionally inspected. The following day, she went around to buy the car and paid the seller $7,700 in cash from her savings.

Four weeks later, she noticed that the car would not change into a higher gear. She took the car to a repairer and was told that the automatic transmission would need replacing at a cost of $1500.

When Mai rang Tye to tell him of her troubles, he suggested she telephone Consumer Affairs to get some information.

She was told that as she'd bought the car privately, it had no warranty and she'd have to pay for the repairs herself.