Should you have a service plan?

By Staff Writer
When you buy a new or used car you will more than likely be offered a vehicle service plan to go with it. This is said to save motorists money in the long run but not all service plans are created equal and it’s important to shop around and know what your options are.

What is a vehicle service plan?

A service plan is an option or a benefit you are offered by the car dealership, when buying a new car, and can be included in the payment package of the car you purchase. This enables you to have your car serviced for no or little cost, for five years or for every 60 000 kilometres, making provision for all service items in your plan with the exception of tyres and fuel. If you are buying a used vehicle it is also possible to extend service plans.

 “The plan is a compulsory no-extra cost service and usually comes with the car package. Although in the odd instance when it is not being offered, the consumer is welcome to request it, but this will then come at an additional cost, specific to the type of car, the mileage and the price thereof. To buy a service plan these days you are looking at an extra amount of between R15 000 – R20 000, this is known as an extended service plan,” said former workshop foreman at Hyundai, Wayne Martin.

Consumers need to be made aware that this differs from a maintenance plan, as a maintenance plan includes not only scheduled services but a range of specified parts and labour costs, remarked Martin.

The importance of a vehicle service plan

-It is cheaper than paying for services out of pocket, asthe service plan is generally included in your package and so no extra cost will be afforded to you when you bring your car in for servicing of any of the items stipulated in the plan.

-By regularly servicing your car you are able to prevent most of the wear and tear your car may endure.

-Service plans area meant to give you peace of mind as the mechanics at the dealer are trained specifically to work on the brand of vehicle.

-The correct car parts are used in servicing your car as the dealership works with manufacturer recommended parts.

-The administrator is obliged to do the service according to the guidelines established by your manufacturer or dealer, thus ensuring a full decent service.

-You have the expert’s specific to your brand of vehicle at your disposal and are able to contact them for any enquiries or advice.

Tips when buying into a service plan

“It is vital when buying a car that you do your research into the package offered and specifically the deal they give you surrounding your service plan. That will determine whether or not it is a good buy, “Martin highlighted.

He further suggested that consumers need to familiarise themselves with their service plans and what is stipulated, so you can maximise your benefits and make full use of the package.

It is vital that every driver has a service plan and adheres to the stipulated guidelines and timeframe given, to prevent the development of mechanical issues leading to a breakdown, said Layton Beard, public relations manager for AA South Africa.

A service plan is ultimately a convenient way of budgeting and aids in ensuring that you spend less time worrying about the costs of maintaining your vehicle and more about the enjoying it.

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