The small print
Maintenance plans, service plans and warranties – confused?
WHEN purchasing a new or used vehicle knowing what maintenance plan, service plan or warranty to get can be overwhelming. And in today’s economy, every cent spent needs to make sense for our specific circumstances.
Les McMaster, chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association, says it is important to understand what the differences are between the three options available so you can make an educated decision on where to put your money.
“Interestingly we find that many vehicle owners don’t fully understand what their specific plan covers. This leads to many complaints when repairs are needed, especially when the owner thinks the repairs should be covered by the plan, but in fact are not.”
He highly recommends taking the time to understand what is and isn’t covered by the different plan options and to ask questions if in doubt.
Warren Fryer, dealer relations manager at Motorite Administrators, explained what each option entails.
“Firstly emphasis must be made that a service plan is NOT a maintenance plan.
“A service plan covers only service parts and labour used in accordance with a manufacturer’s service schedule.
“Parts that are replaced on a scheduled service such as oils, filters, spark plugs, air filters ( when required and stipulated by the specific service) are covered by a service plan. Additional parts such as brake pads, v- belts, brake linings etcetera, are excluded from a service plan.”
Items generally not covered by a service plan include: • Internal and external trim, body work and paint due to normal wear and tear. • All glass, tyres, wheels, wheel alignment, accessories, electrical wiring components. • Additional maintenance that may be required as a result of the vehicle being operated in severe or unusual conditions. • Additional maintenance that may be required as a result of any modification made to the vehicle. • Additional maintenance that may be required as a result of: accident, damage, abuse or misuse or consequential damage as a result of such an action. • Failure to use the vehicle in accordance with the instruction contained in the vehicle service book. • Failure to ensure that the vehicle is properly, regularly and punctually serviced in accordance with the instruction and recommendations specified by the vehicle manufacturer in the owner’s handbook.
“A vehicle maintenance plan covers regular scheduled vehicle services as well as specified wearand- tear on parts and labour costs.
“This means that certain problems that are not part of a routine car service and the labour costs involved to repair them will be covered. “Examples of items covered in maintenance work include clutch, exhaust, globes, fuses, brake pads, brake discs, shock absorbers, v- belts and wiper blades,” he says.
Fryer points out that a maintenance plan makes budgeting for a vehicle’s maintenance needs simple.
“It is a convenient way of ensuring that your maintenance costs are taken care of.
These costs are also fixed which means they do not change throughout the duration of your contract. Inflation does not affect your maintenance costs should you decide on taking out a maintenance plan but some financiers do require car owners to pay an additional fee into the maintenance plan as the years progress.
The auto industry offers several contracts that sell peace of mind to vehicle owners who don’t want to make use of the cutrate sidewalk mechanics like these gents, who say their hourly rates are less than R150.