What to think about when fitting a new radio
Maybe you want to install a new radio in your newly purchased car. Like any consumer product, a car radio is protected under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This means that you enjoy statutory protection of up to six months on your radio whether it is bought new or used and a 30-day right to reject a faulty item.
However, an additional complexity with car radios is that if you choose one that deviates from the manufacturer’s standard – perhaps because you want a higher quality sound or added functionality – this radio will need to be fitted, and many warranty-providers for radios adopt a risk aversion to this, requiring the radio to be installed by an approved technician. If you do it yourself or use an unapproved service, the warranty level may be greatly reduced, if not entirely voided.
Alongside this, some warranties on cars explicitly exclude additional items fitted to a vehicle after manufacture and will only provide cover for a radio if it is the original one that came with the vehicle.
When is a car radio covered by warranty?
If your vehicle is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty because it is new and you are within the warranty period, and then if it fails, it is likely to be covered by a warranty. If your car is used or nearly new and you have bought an additional warranty or if you have been offered one by the dealer, it is important to read the inclusions and exclusions with care. A ‘bumper to bumper’ warranty will cover nearly everything between the front bumper and the back one. If you have one of these warranties, a radio is also likely to be covered.
When is a car radio not covered by warranty?
Any warranty that excludes radios, air conditioning or other parts that do not affect the actual functioning of the vehicle will not be covered. These warranties, which can be purchased after the manufacturer warranty has lapsed or for a used car, are known as mechanical breakdown insurance warranties and usually cover only items like the engine, gear box, and transmission system, for instance. These warranties are less expensive because they include less coverage.
Most warranties exclude wear and tear, so if your radio buttons stop working or the CD player does not read CDs anymore, this is likely not to be covered by even the most comprehensive warranties.
Warranties also usually require that a car is correctly serviced at appropriate times and usually at a named garage to remain valid. This means that any work done on the radio will have to have taken place by an approved technician. If this has not happened, the warranty can become invalid.
In short, even if it is stated within the terms of the warranty that a radio is covered, much of the validity comes down to how you, the owner of the vehicle, have looked after this equipment.
Thankfully, high-quality radios – even those fitted by the original manufacturer – tend not to fail easily, so you can probably look forward to a good few years of great sounding audio without any trouble.
As usual, when you are buying a warranty, it pays to shop around. At Car.co.uk, we can find a warranty that is fully suited to your needs and budget.