The small print

Main­te­nance plans, ser­vice plans and warranties – con­fused?

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

Ser­vice plans

“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.

Main­te­nance plans

“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.

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