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Maintenance plans vs Service plans… what’s the difference?

Published on: 01 November 2016

Maintenance plans vs Service plans… what’s the difference?

With the holiday season fast approaching, we can already smell the road trip moments to the coast or the bergs.! The seats have already been “shot-gunned” and playlists are waiting to be loaded; but before we can get the journey started, we need to consider the actual thing that will be getting us there – the car.

When was your last maintenance or service check?

Now we know that servicing your car is not the cheapest of things to do, especially if you’ve planned a glorious holiday - but the last thing you need is the stress of a broken down car in the middle of the Karoo on your way to the Cape when you should be enjoying the road trip breeze, music and the company of your passengers. And if you haven’t put money aside for those unexpected car maintenance issues, it can really hurt your pocket.

This is where maintenance and service plans and service plans come in handy, with many options built into the sale price of the car – with conditions obviously.

Modern cars come with standard features that were considered high-end in the past - parts which require regular specialised maintenance for full enjoyment. Sometimes maintenance plans and service plans are one and the same thing, but be very careful of the fine print -  you need to understand what you’re getting when your car dealer offers you one,the other, or both.

Here's a quick guide to help you choose the right plan before journeying off into the relaxation sunset:

  • Typically, a service plan will either be valid for a duration of time (three years, five years, etc.) or the kilometres on the odometer (50 000 km, 80 000 km, etc.), and includes parts and labour during servicing. It does not cover the cost of repairing defective car parts or wear and tear on parts like the clutch, exhaust, headlight globes, brake pads, shock absorbers etc.
  • A maintenance plan, however, will cover such wear and tear. But be sure to read the fine print, as not all maintenance plans also cover the cost of servicing and are only offered as a top-up to the uninsured wear and tear of certain car parts.

When considering whether service plans, maintenance plans, and extended warranties affect the value of your car, it’s important to research the history of the make and model of your car (or the car you are interested in buying), the cost of repairable parts, and to get objective input as to whether these plans are worth it.

For smooth running, every car needs regular service. Investing in regular service will allow the car to run optimally, parts that are suffering from wear and tear can also be replaced before they cause serious damage.

The alternative is to consider whether you’ll be able to afford the possible servicing and replacement costs should anything unforeseen happen to your car. Remember, although your plan may cover wear and tear, these plans won’t cover accidental damage – and this is where comprehensive car insurance comes in.