Should you have a service plan?

By Staff Writer

When you buy a new or used car you will likely be offered a service plan to go with it. While it may seem an unwieldy initial expense, a service plan will save you money in the long run.

Not all service plans are created equal, however. 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 benefit a car dealership offers you when you buy a new vehicle. It’s typically included in the payment package of the car you purchase.

A service plan enables you to have your car serviced at little or no extra cost for five years, or after you have driven 60,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. All service items are generally included, other than tyres and fuel.

If you opt to buy a second-hand car, you can often choose to extend the service plan beyond the initial agreement.

An extended service plan can cost anything from R6,000 to R10,000, says Leighton-Lee Paulse, Sales Executive for Kia Diep River.

The benefits of a vehicle service plan

The following are the benefits generally offered by service plans.

  • They are cheaper than paying for services out of pocket. You won’t have to pay anything extra when servicing any of the items stipulated in the plan.
  • By regularly servicing your car, you can prevent most of the wear and tear it may endure.
  • Mechanics at the dealership are trained to work on specific vehicle brands.
  • The dealership works with manufacturer-recommended parts.
  • The administrator is obliged to service your car according to the guidelines established by your manufacturer or dealer.
  • Experts who are knowledgeable about the vehicle make and model are at your disposal should you have an enquiry or need advice.

Tips when buying into a service plan

It's important to research the package you’re offered, says Paulse. It pays to learn everything you can about your service plan so you don’t miss out on any advantages.

AA spokesperson Layton Beard notes that you must adhere to the stipulated guidelines and timeframe given for services. This will prevent the development of mechanical issues leading to a breakdown.

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


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