My service plan doesn’t include what?

5 July 2016

You are finally in the position to buy a new car and have thought long and hard about which make, model and colour is the best fit for your budget, style, personality, job or family.

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With all this excitement and anticipation rushing through your veins, what you may not have thought about is which plan will keep you and your car happy on the road. A service plan or maintenance plan? Are they the same? What exactly do they include?

What’s the difference?

A service plan and maintenance plan are not the same - far from it.

A service plan* comprises services done either annually or at a certain mileage, for a particular period (depending on the manufacturer), such as an annual service for two years or two services, the first at 15 000kms and the next at 30 000kms.

A common misperception is that a service plan* is completely comprehensive but this is not the case. If there is a ‘clink’ or a ‘tuk-tuk-tuk’ coming from your car, chances are that it’s not included in your service plan* and fixing the problem - if not included in your warranty*, car warranties* or maintenance plan* - will then come out of your own back pocket.

Service plans*

A service plan* caters for a few specific items in isolation, items which - in most cases - need to be replaced at the time of service (according to your manufacturer’s guidelines) to keep your car running optimally. When determining when services should take place, manufacturers also take the environmental context of your car into account because - for example - the quality of South African roads and petrol are not in the same as that in Europe, Asia, America or the UK.

Service plans* include items like the air filter, oil and spark plugs (depending on the manufacturer specific plan).

Maintenance plans*

Far more comprehensive, a maintenance plan* includes a service plan as well as the replacement of items damaged or worn out through ‘wear-and-tear’. These wear-and-tear items often include brake pads, globes, fuses, wiper blades and v-belts.

In addition, a maintenance plan* also comes into play when the failure of a specific item – like your clutch, engine, gearbox or electrical components – occurs as a result of normal wear-and-tear and that are not included in an existing warranty*.

Being armed with a maintenance plan* and extended warranty* would then put you in a good position for both wear-and-tear as well as defect failures.

Is it necessary to plan for the ‘little things’?

Regular maintenance and servicing is one of the most important ways to keep happy and safe on the road, add years to your car’s life, and is also likely to keep your car’s resale value from plummeting when you are looking to trade-in or sell.

It may not seem like much but each kilometre you drive has an impact on your car and trying to maintain your wheels can be a costly and time consuming exercise if you are in it alone. All the bits and pieces add up quickly, not to mention the cost of labour to do the job.

Although you have handed over a great deal of responsibility to your manufacturer (who gave or sold you your plan), it is still up to you to keep up-to-date with when you need to take your car in for a service. If you miss the cut-off date or mileage, you may face losing your warranty* and your incomplete service history may also impact your car’s resale value.

* All warranties (original or extended), service plans and maintenance plans differ in terms of features, benefits and, terms and conditions. This blog is for illustration purposes only.

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