Repairs and maintenance on a vehicle


Most vehicle manufacturers suggest servicing your car every year. A regular service can help keep your vehicle roadworthy and fix small problems before they become expensive repairs.

Your owner's manual usually suggests the timing and type of work that needs to be done.

You don't have to use the authorised dealer. Using a reliable professional who works to the manufacturer's standards won't affect your warranty.


Most vehicles need repairs at some stage. The information below will help you get a repair done.

Find the right repairer

  • Ask someone you trust to recommend a repairer.
  • Find out if the repairer is a member of an industry or trade association.
  • Check if the repairer has access to the right equipment for your car's make and model.

Help the repairer to find the fault

Allow time to explain the problem to the repairer. You may need to go for a test drive with them so you can point out the problem.

Ask how much the repairs will cost

Ask for a written quote before any work starts. Second-hand parts may be suitable for your repair. Ask if a used part is a safe option for the job. The quote should include:

  • necessary repairs
  • cost of the work, including parts and labour
  • agreements or promises.

Before you leave your vehicle for repairs

  • ask the repairer to tell you about any maintenance so you can plan ahead
  • ask how long the repairs will take
  • sign the official job card or repair order
  • ask to be contacted before any additional work begins.

Resolving problems

Most repairs and maintenance services are covered by automatic consumer guarantees. A warranty offered by the repairer is separate and doesn't replace the consumer guarantee, but make sure warranty details about vehicle parts and labour are noted on your invoice.

If you're having a problem with a repairer, there are some simple steps you can take before you make an official complaint.

If contacting the seller doesn't fix the problem, get advice from Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

Speak to the business

Visit the business or speak to them on the phone and explain the problem. It can help to have any contracts, paperwork or receipts with you when you speak with them. Remember to keep a record of your contact and include:

  • the name and job title of the person you spoke with
  • the dates you contacted them
  • what was discussed, including what they suggested.

Contact the business in writing

A complaint letter or email that clearly states the problem and any purchase information - eg copy of the receipt - can help the business understand what needs to be fixed. This is also a record of your contact with them.

Consider using the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's interactive complaint letter to write your letter and then copy, email or print it.

Contact CBS

Online: Contact CBS

Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 9 November 2021

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